Chicken Shwarma Poll


christopher's picture
christopher on April 12, 2002 - 02:05 Permalink

They don’t do them the same way here as in the Gulf, so I’ll leave it to one of the Lebanese readers to comment on the Levantine approach which you get here. In the Gulf, shawarma is wrapped in a sort of thin pita with a sauce and *french fries* and no nonsense with greenery. What I have seen as shawarma here seems much closer to a chicken kebab and what they serve as a (doner) kebab bears no resemblence to what I am used to as a doner kebab in London — usually prepared by Turks or Greeks. The overall thing is a bit bigger than an egg roll and getting a shawarma there is a bit like going for a Tim’s here. The french fries are a/the crucial element. Shish Taouk is grilled chicken served with rice, a squirt of lemon and what Canadians seem to call cilantro but I know as coriander and really *is* coriander dammit (Coriandrum sativum). Can anyone tell me why coriander is cilantro here?

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 12, 2002 - 08:05 Permalink

Tavuk is Turkish, and since the Greeks and Turks hate each other, and as the dishes do seem identical to me, my guess is that each culture just likes to give the stuff a name and their own language and pretend its theirs alone. In Smyrna it was schwarma, but now in Izmir it’s tavuk or doener kabab—is my theory.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 12:05 Permalink

Corriander is the seed and cilantro the gree on the same plant. Cilantro is the Mexican usage(?) — having said that I have heard it called Mexican parsley as well.

Doner and Donair are two different animals. The Donair I am sure is a really just a Maritime expression of the Middle Eastern but something which I know I am proud of, speaking as it does to our multi-cultural junk food propensities. If you want another such culture mix, Lunenburg sausage made by Victor Greek is worth a trip to Sobeys next time you are “on the other side”.

The most alarming experience of mixed culture junk foods was when I worked in the Netherlands. I thought I was getting chips and gravey but the “brun saus” was spicy peanut butter. Indonesian style I was told. Great once you were expecting that taste

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on April 12, 2002 - 14:38 Permalink

The Turkish word tavuk seems to be the same as the Arabic: taouk — the Arabic “w” is also the “u” (and may be vowel or consonant). From the little Turkish I remember, Turkish commonly transliterates the “w” from Arabic in share words as a “v” (eg, vilayet — wilayet). Anyway, both mean chicken. I suspect the dish itself long predates the Ottomans (I suspect, but do not know, that the Turkic nomadic herders found domestic chickens in Anatolia rather than bringing them with them from the Steppes) *and* the Arab (Islamic) incursions. Reference to Google suggests that while some shawarma recipes call for chicken, others are lamb or beef based. I haven’t the foggiest what goes into a Maritimes “donair”, but my surpise on first eating one (expecting the wonderful spit cooked meat of a London kebab house) was about the same as Alan’s on discovering that Dutch brown sauce (what Wilsonesque connotations that conjures up) was in fact satay. And yes, Alan, coriander is a member of the parsley family, something I discovered on googling your ref to “Mexican parsley”.

Craig Willson's picture
Craig Willson on April 12, 2002 - 16:04 Permalink

Odd Mr. Ogg, never considered ‘googling’ as a verb.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 17:04 Permalink

Interestingly, in first year law school we were introduced to the donair case as an example of an implied warranty in a contract. Case centred on a failed donair making machine. Prof told us the secret of the maritime donair — white sugar. The reason the meat is so roasty brown and sweet is that caramel runs through it all. I don’t think the Shaddy’s version has it. King of Donairs Halifax style.

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on April 12, 2002 - 17:35 Permalink

Even, Mr Willson, a gerund.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 17:52 Permalink

…or as a gerundive as in “googling Ogg”

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 18:04 Permalink

…or as a gerundive as in “googling Ogg”

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 12, 2002 - 18:34 Permalink

Predates the Ottomans? That sounds like a bold proposal to me—the Ottoman’s having lasted so long and doener/schwarma seeming to depend on a Ronco-type invention. Otherwise, I sense that with regard to the quality of scholarship I can bring to bear here, I have been radically out-flanked. Still, I can propose a theory to piggy-back on the pre-Ottoman one: I note that the (modern) Hebrew word is schwarma and not doener. Therefore, I propose that the invention predates Herod and the 2nd temple—by which time people were speaking Aramaic and not Hebrew anymore. In turn, this implies that schwarma was invented some time between the old and new testament —which surely otherwise would have mentioned it, with all the times those biblical people sat down to eat. That is, unless the manna from heaven…? Could that have been schwarma? That would explain how ancient Israelites could have come upon the vertical stainless-steel rotisserie before the end of the Iron Age and thousands of years before Ronco (however note that Ron of Ronco is indeed Jewish). Idle speculation?

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on April 12, 2002 - 18:59 Permalink

My contention is that shawarma (as I know it), shish taouk and doner kebab are completely different beasties. I will cheerfully concede that the potato (for the essential Sau’di component of french fries in shawarma) substantially postdates the Ottomans (they can really be dated in Anatolia from the battle of Manzikert, I suppose), but the Ottomans themselves were certainly on the scene well after doners, kebabs or shish taouk. The use of a spit for cooking is certainly paleolithic; leavened bread is neolithic at least; chickens have been domesticated — I think — since neolithic times. A mayonnaise-based sauce is later (from Mahon in the Baleriacs) and I can’t remember introduction of lemon to the region (are there Biblical references?) Vinegar could have been used instead, although in those days garum was all the rage. Coriander (aka cilantro) is likely indigenous. I would wager that Abraham would have recognised the basic components of any of the dishes we are talking about (bar Alan’s Maritimes donair).

Unfortunately, none of the local restaurants serve the real Gulf treats of a camel stuffed with a sheep stuffed with chickens or roast monitor lizard. Perhaps after the great trebuchet festival we could organise a kabsa?

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 19:11 Permalink

…at least a mezza. I had a habit of making flatbreads a while back which certainly could be used to wrap a tahinieed poutry.

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 12, 2002 - 19:17 Permalink

Someone told me that the essence of kebab is not the spit per se, but the vertical spit—including the (nowadays inevitably stainless-steel) dish on the bottom to catch the drippings that one recycles onto the roast by basting. That’s why I’m inclined to think that a significant aspect of schwarma/doener is post-Roncoian—or at least modern. But, er, it’s been a while since I’ve cracked the old books on paleolithic food appliances.

Christopher Ogg's picture
Christopher Ogg on April 12, 2002 - 19:17 Permalink

The North Africans do a wonderful thing of stuffing a lamb with celery, onion, lemon, garlic, etc and then slow roasting it for a day over a pit. It’s called a m

Oliver Baker's picture
Oliver Baker on April 12, 2002 - 19:26 Permalink

I realize I’m dwelling on process rather than outcome—the ingredients in and the taste of the product, which every one else here is more appropriately talking about. I’m happy to concede that a paleolithic horizontal schwarma might well have tasted much the same as a modern schwarma—despite what modern rotisserie vendors might tell you in the infomercials.

Alan's picture
Alan on April 12, 2002 - 19:42 Permalink

I’ve got DIY Trebant fix it manual for afterwards in case we could fit it back together — anyone fluent in auto mechanics Polish?

Cedar`s all the way's picture
Cedar`s all the way on April 12, 2002 - 20:34 Permalink

Anyway,The difference is chicken shawarma is a sandwich in lebaneses bread with lettuce pickles tomatoes and a different sauce inside.A shish taouk plate is skewered chicken of the same sort traditionally served with rice and salad.
truly yours
cedar`s eatery all the way.

christopher's picture
christopher on April 14, 2002 - 15:22 Permalink

Isn’t it amazing the way the arrival of someone with actual facts about the original question can bring a conversation to a sceeching halt? :-) Back to trebuchets…

Kevin O's picture
Kevin O on April 16, 2002 - 14:08 Permalink

Not that this has anything to do with food but someone mentioned Tribant.

Some, perhaps all, Trebants had bodies made, not of metal, but of composite materials that resembled a dense papier-mache. Early models were one-wheel-drive (the right rear I think) and you had the choice of one engine (single cylinder two-stroke) and two colors, whitish-grey or greyish-white. The exhaust often ignited the body material (which was about three inches thick) and the entire car could burn to the ground in a few minutes. In 1981 I was in East Germany as actually saw one on fire by the side of the road

AbuIskander's picture
AbuIskander on August 2, 2003 - 19:10 Permalink

Marhaba Ya Zayid: I had always assumed — for no very good reason — that it was of Turkish origin. Ten to one it originated as a nomad dish

Oliver B's picture
Oliver B on August 3, 2003 - 06:36 Permalink

Isn’t Marhaba “hello” or something like that in Turkish? I suppose that doesn’t imply it originated in Turkey, because I imagine the Turkish language was used all over during Ottoman rule.

nirav patel's picture
nirav patel on August 14, 2003 - 10:23 Permalink

i want some details about shawarma machine and the procedure to make shawarma. i am in india and i want to start that buss.
thanking you
nirav patel

Veronica's picture
Veronica on January 28, 2004 - 09:15 Permalink

got to this site in search of more information to help my client promote his kebab shop in Singapore and it was great getting on to this discussion. I only got as far as “its great after a heavy night at the pubs, but bad when you finally sober up and forgot to brush your teeth when you went to bed…” this from several Europeans who think the kebab is a gift from heaven for those who are too drunk to fix themselves anything to eat…

By the way, Cilantro is great for controlling high blood pressure…

william's picture
william on February 9, 2004 - 19:06 Permalink

i am extremely inbterested on builiding a sahwarma place in colombia but it has been inpossible for me because i dont found any place wqhere people can build the machine in colombia, but i would like to know whow do you prepare the beef meet i eman wich part of the cow did the people use i, will aprecciatte a lot if ypou can help me with this info thanks bye

jorik's picture
jorik on February 22, 2004 - 12:18 Permalink

baho nyo

Art's picture
Art on March 4, 2004 - 22:18 Permalink

Hi this has nothing to do with chicken shwarma dish.
If anyone is arabic or know about the dish that i’m about
to talk about I would very much appreciate how to make it.
I use to have an arabic friend who’s use to make this dish
occationally and I love it. I don’t know the name but maybe if I describe it someone would be familiar with it.
It’s a chicken dish with kindof like a gooey spinach looking
vegetable surrounding the chicken pieces. Thank you.

isak's picture
isak on March 20, 2004 - 15:44 Permalink

i would like to have information about the Shawarma Machine, i am in India in Goa so please give the contact number so were i can buy the machine,

thanking you

your faithfully


ashraf ahmed's picture
ashraf ahmed on April 19, 2004 - 01:18 Permalink

i hope to buy machan

Ned's picture
Ned on April 24, 2004 - 13:31 Permalink

hello 4 all,

I am a proffesional in making “shawarma” and “filafil”, both arabic and greek. Any one entrrested in making a chain of small “shwarma eats” in Singapore or Malaysia, please contact me:
00966-504820896 mob

ashraf ahmed's picture
ashraf ahmed on June 17, 2004 - 14:32 Permalink

we are wating for the information

nikko yap's picture
nikko yap on June 29, 2004 - 08:48 Permalink

can you pls tell me where shawarma originated? thanks

Random Food Guy's picture
Random Food Guy on July 2, 2004 - 16:23 Permalink

I’ll agree with Christopher’s comments. I have had Shwarma in Riyadh that was marinated chicken strips with lettuce, tomato, that wonderful cucumber/garlic/yoghurt sauce, and french fries, all wrapped up in fresh pita. Doner Kebabs in the UK are more of a gyro-type meat but much spicier than here in the US, with an abundance of onions and thin chili sauce — very messy to eat but wonderful at 11 pm when the pubs close!

Bill's picture
Bill on July 25, 2004 - 10:04 Permalink

Hmm, not sure where this conversation is going, but i’ll put my 2 cents in anyways :)

Shwarma usually refers to lamb, but it can sometimes be chicken. When I was in Syria, a chicken loving kind of place, you could get chicken schwarma sandwiches that would be most closely related to the “shish taouk’ chicken sandwiches you get here. but no vegetables, just pickles, and different methods of making them. Some used two pieces of bread, some fried the bread first in the pool of fat at the bottom of the spit, some used a garlicky mayo like sauce, some just added a congealed chicken fat. Some put in aa slice of tomato or a ‘french fry’, some not. Whatever the method, the end result was always a thin roll like thing, which couldn’t have been described as a sandwich. I would have to order two to not be hungry. I think our chicken schwarma in canada tend to be catered towards western tastes, which explains the overdone sauce and vegetables that make it more of a gyro sandwich.

Pedro's picture
Pedro on July 27, 2004 - 22:31 Permalink

you people sure love shwarmaa.

amanda's picture
amanda on August 6, 2004 - 04:46 Permalink

Hi, Im married to a turkish man. we just recently got married. i wanna make him something so special but not to hard. and i want it to be turkish and something to do with chicken. we both love chicken he laways makes me turkish dishes but this time i wanna make him someting. if u can help me and send me a email back with some pretty easy recipes i will be so happy.

Lisa Howard's picture
Lisa Howard on August 6, 2004 - 16:25 Permalink

I love Lebanese food having grown up in Ottawa and think that what the vegetarians west of Ottawa have done to it (turning Hummus for instance into sissy food, essentially a mashed chick pea salad devoid of olive oil, tahini and hence calories or Hummus flavour) is a travesty. But I’m actually here to post on something else. I noticed someone here mentioned Trabants and since I took a photo of one the other day and since some may not have seen a Trabant I thought I’d post a link to the photo. Here’s the link…

Lisa Howard's picture
Lisa Howard on August 6, 2004 - 16:28 Permalink

It occurs to me that if I post the link as my web page it will be clickable. So here it is again as my web page.

Fuad's picture
Fuad on January 11, 2006 - 02:35 Permalink

First off shawerma is NOT a lebanese food, just thought I should let everyone know because lebanese people claim that they created the “lebanese cuisine” which in reality there is no such thing, it’s a middle eastern and ARABIC cuisine which actually would originate in Syria. And yes the shawerma in syria is the best shawerma you can eat anywhere in the world, its unlike anything else.

Naveed Iqbal's picture
Naveed Iqbal on July 4, 2006 - 16:26 Permalink

We are manufacturer of Shawarma/Donner Kebab machines. We are exporting shawarma machines to Spain, Uk and Gulf states.

If any body interested in can contact us for quality and economical shawarma machines and parts.

Naveed Iqbal,

Naveed Iqbal's picture
Naveed Iqbal on July 27, 2006 - 13:13 Permalink

We are manufacturer of Donner/Shawarma/Gyros/Taco Al Pastor Kebab Machines, their stainless steel parts, meat preparation accessories.
We manufacturing for world renowned OEMs based in North America, Gulf
and Europe.

At the moment we are manufacturing 4 burner machines with the following specifications:

Model: HSKM-4
Burners: 04
Power: 12.3 Kw
Size: 500*600*1050
Capacity: 70 kg
Energy: Gas + Electric
Weight of Machine 45 kg

Quantity: 25 50 100

Per Machine Price
Ex Works Lahore-Pakistan: 750 US$ 688 US$ 600 US$
We can supply you the parts of donner/Shawarma machines e.g Skewers,
Platters, Sloted Platters, Platters with extended Skewer Guide, Cross
Handles and Shawarma Knives.

For example we supply you shawarma knife, Stainless Steel Through the
Whole Handle, Blade 22” long, 1 3/8 wide, with handle 27” long with
the following Prices.

500 Quantity: 25 US $ Each Ex-Works Lahore-Pakistan
1000 Quantity: 20 US $ Each Ex-Works Lahore-Pakistan
2500 Quantity: 15 US $ Each Ex-Works Lahore-Pakistan.

Quality is guaranteed.

We can design and manufacture your design machines and parts. Just to
know the difference send us the samples and your target price. In
return we will submit you the quotation without any obligation to buy.

You can think us your manufacturing unit and can get the advantage of
quality and economy.

Awaiting for your kind reply.

Naveed Iqbal,
Street No.1, Canal Bank,
Faisal Park, Barkat Town,
8 1/2 KM, GT Road, Shahdara,

Mobile No.+92 300 8466395

RAYMOND's picture
RAYMOND on February 15, 2007 - 18:30 Permalink


i would like to have information about the Shawarma Machine preparation, methods, howit works, i am in Zimbabwe so please give the contact number so were i can buy the machine, thisis my e-mail address

thanking you

your faithfully

Jay's picture
Jay on June 6, 2007 - 23:44 Permalink

Dear All
I’m trying to setup a business running up mixed type of sandwiches include Falafel and Shawermah sand’s. so I’m looking for experts guides and equipment suppliers please, if you have any thing in mind and you found yourself can help, please do not hesitate to contact me. the E-mail is :

nabeel's picture
nabeel on August 31, 2007 - 11:59 Permalink

hey, this is nabeel and , i want to buy a shawarma machine, acttually i want to start my new busines. if any body want to sale me the used or new machine,plz do contact with me and plz mention the price list. thank you.

shahnawaz's picture
shahnawaz on September 15, 2007 - 12:49 Permalink

Dear All

I am intersted in buying one shawarma mechine for my hypermarket in mumbai.anybody who wants to sell used / new mechine can contact me.

ray's picture
ray on January 8, 2008 - 14:28 Permalink

hi iam looking for the full range of catering equipment to set up a fast food place in pakistan anyone that can supply i will be intrested.

C.D Fernandes's picture
C.D Fernandes on April 21, 2008 - 10:33 Permalink

hi. I want to buy a new or old shawarma machine

karin's picture
karin on June 25, 2008 - 05:38 Permalink

i am interested in buying a shawarma machine, am in latin america, anyone know how i can go about this? thanks

karin's picture
karin on June 25, 2008 - 05:39 Permalink

forgot to say, please email me if you do know, because i dont think i will be checking this site too much, thanks again

mujtaba's picture
mujtaba on August 5, 2008 - 21:26 Permalink

i want some details about shawarma machine and the procedure to make shawarma. i am in india and i want to start that buss.



faizi's picture
faizi on December 9, 2008 - 15:55 Permalink


i would like to have information about the Shawarma Machine, i am in India in lucknow so please give the contact number so were i can buy the machine,

thanking you

your faithfully