Middle Eastern cuisine is famous for many different dishes, ranging from delicious hummus for dipping to golden and crispy falafel. But, no dish may be quite as famous, or nearly as popular, as shawarma.
What Is Shawarma?
You have probably heard the word shawarma many times and seen it on restaurant menus. But, what exactly is shawarma? Shawarma is roasted meat or more specifically meat that is roasted while it is on a spit. But, unlike a pig roast where the pig rests in a horizontal position, shawarma meat is roasted vertically (standing up). Because the meat is roasted at a very high temperature, it comes out tender and buttery.
Shawarma vs. Gyros
Often, people who are not familiar with Middle Eastern cuisine may get confused about the difference between a shawarma and gyros. They are both sandwiches, served on a pita, and stacked high with delicious roasted meat. Yet, despite these obvious similarities, there are differences as well! A gyro is undoubtedly Greek. There is more debate, however, on where shawarmas first originated. And, even putting the origin differences aside, there are taste differences.
One of the predominant flavors in a gyros is onion. Onions almost always top off a gyros. Oregano and thyme are two of the spices that are used to flavor gyros meat. On the other hand, a shawarma is often flavored with cardamom, cinnamon, and turmeric. And in some countries, a shawarma also comes with large toppings of hummus.
What’s Your Choice: Chicken, Lamb, or Turkey?
Another difference that sets apart the two sandwiches is the type of meat that is used in them. For centuries, gyros were traditionally made using lamb meat, but in recent years this has changed. On the other hand, shawarmas have been made using a wide variety of meats, including: lamb, turkey, and chicken.
No matter what option you opt for you can be sure that your Middle Eastern sandwich will be delicious, especially if you visit Zait Bistro for it.