There’s a perfectly logical translation for doner. It’s not “greatest drunk food of all time” or “that which involves a lot of meat” or even “just paid rent and now have no money.” It means “to spin, rotate or otherwise turn around.” Now if we were talking about another street food, say, hot dogs, this would be a totally different column. A gross one. Thankfully, investigating how doner is made made me all the more adamant about eating it for lunch today. Everyone likes a success story.
Right off the bat, I’m not talking about the industrial goop formed around a metal stake that tastes like industrial goop. That stuff is nonsense, and it’s easy to tell the difference just by looking. The real stuff is made from 20 or so pounds of hand-sliced, hand-layered halal chicken, lamb or beef — which is then slowly cooked while rotating around a heat lamp.
Sadly, places serving up this true delight are few and far between and are rarely found on the street. In fact, due to the ridiculously high volume of fake doner cones spinning around this city, it really is worth seeking out an authentic spot. Here are a few of my favorites — they all happen to be Turkish:
- Ali Baba Turkish Cuisine
- Mangal Turkish (worth a trip to Queens to know you’re getting the good stuff)
- Turkuaz Fine Turkish Cuisine
So find a doner with a little backbone to it (and no backbone in it, geez) and watch that hangover disappear. Whose? Mine.
More Middle Eastern food for lunch on Food Republic: