Who Knew?

I was walking down on a street in Luton, a suburb of London when I saw this restaurant. It seemed somewhat out of place.


Luton is a multi-ethnic community, with a variety of restaurants featuring cuisines from around the world. It would make sense that there would be kebabs, whihc are immensely popular the  Middle East. I’ve always thought of them as a Turkish thing, though I think the Iraqis also lay claim to creating them. Probably the Syrians, Jordanians and Lebanese also lay claim to the dish – I haven’t been there so I don’t know for sure.

What I do know for sure is that the doner kebab is not an ethnically German dish. Yes Germany has a lot of Turkish immigrants and most places (though not Sulzburg) have at least one restaurant that sells them. But they are not German. If they were they would contain pork.

This restaurant looked to me like a fast food chain, and an internet search confirmed that. however, when I tried to click on their home page to get information my computer security rejected it. I suppose I could have overridden the settings, but that defeats the purpose of having security software.

Browsing around the net though I do see that there is a claim the pita wrap version of the kebab did indeed originate in Germany, so maybe there is a reason to identify doner kebab as from that country. I also see that many dispute that claim. Whatever the truth of the matter, it still struck me as strange that a dish with  obvious Middle Eastern origins would be labeled “German.”

Maybe it is like pizza, generally regarded as an Italian invention. Arguably, pizza is much better in North America than its homeland. So maybe kebabs are better in Germany than anywhere else, so much better that German kebabs have a reputation for excellence and it makes sense to have a fast food chain that plays up the German connection.

Supposedly the chain has its origins in Berlin 30 years ago. I’ve never been to Berlin, but I haven’t noticed the chain in the  cities I have visited. I understand they are expanding into Canada too, so maybe I will try their Ottawa location next time I am downtown.

I like to learn. When I saw “German kebabs” I laughed. Now I know better. Though I won’t be completely convinced until I taste the food.


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