UPDATE: This location is now closed 🙁
Being part Middle Eastern, kebabs are pretty commonplace in terms of cuisine. Nothing too fancy, but always mouth watering, filling and great for any occasion. When I hear the word kebab, what comes to mind is what is generally known as a shish kebab, which is cooked on a skewer. In the Middle East, however, kebab refers to meat that is cooked over or next to flames; large or small cuts of meat, or even ground meat; it may be served on plates, in sandwiches, or in bowls.
In Santiago, your most common ¨kebab¨ will be one of the following: döner, shawarma or gyro:
Döner Kebab is traditionally Turkish, rotisseried meat slowly roasted on a vertical rotating spit. The Arabic version of this is the Shawarma and the Greek version would be the Gyro, of course with their own unique mixture and herbs and spices. Mexicans are never far left behind, and they chime in with their famous tacos al pastor!! Just another derivative of the techniques that went into the making of the döner kebab.
Chile has one of the highest concentrations of Arabs in South America, and for some reason unknown to me, they are oftentimes called ¨Turks¨. According to local folklore, when a wave of Palestinian immigrants came to Chile, they were issued Turkish passports to migrate elsewhere which is why they were called Turks. On the flip side, I came across a place called Turkish Doner that was actually run by a Turkish family. it has la pura cara de picada if it werent for its chairs and umbrellas outside of the small restaurant.
|Photo: Foursquare.com by Carlos Z.
What struck me most wasn´t the fact that the place was run by Turks, but the food itself. It had one of the most flavorful meats (beef and chicken) out of all of the döner kebab places that I´ve tried in Chile (mainly in Viña/Valpo and Santiago). Honestly, I think that is a lot to say about a place and even a breath of fresh air, especially because I find a lot of the Chilean cuisine to be quite bland. The food was also much more flavorful than the more commercial kebab places like Istambul Döner Kebap and Pita & Co.
Aside from the meat, the veggies were fresh, the yogurt was salted and complemented the meat nicely, and the lavash (flatbread) was almost a perfectly soft yet flat. Along with the typical döner kebab, they also served dürüm kebab. A veggeterian option is also available, and, much to my dissapointment, they used to have kumpir but have discontunied it due to low demand. Sadness. For those of you who dont know, kumpir is a baked potato with your choice of fillings…which have been Chileanized to include avocado. The cherry on top was that sumac was also on the table along with salt, as it should be! This made me happy. 😀
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