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July: Shawarma
July: Shawarma

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July: Shawarma

July: Shawarma

Location
Middle East
Processes
Derived from a Turkish word Shawarma means "turning"
Details

Imagine you’re wandering the bustling streets of Beirut. First you smell it, notes of turmeric, cardamom and cumin mingling with luscious lamb. Mmmm. Then you see it; a familiar image, turned completely on its side. Rotating upright on a vertical rotisserie (wait, you’re allowed to do this?), a succulent slab of juicy meat is thinly shaved by a street vendor. Your senses take over. You. Must. Have. Some. 

This is shawarma, one of the world’s preeminent street foods. Tracing its roots back to 19th-century Ottoman Empire, in what is now Turkey, the shawarma technique involves stacking seasoned and marinated meat on a vertical rotisserie or spit and cutting off thin slices from the roasting outer layer. This method bucks the tradition of the horizontal spit, which has been mankind’s go-to preparation of meat since early civilization. Sometimes innovation takes a few thousand years.

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