Friday, October 21, 2011

Meat on a Spit

Thursday the 20th was my birthday, and I didn't do a bit of cooking. To give myself a break and to indulge in a recurring craving, I headed over to Haifa Falafel on Washtenaw east of M-23 and spent some birthday money on a chicken shawarma and french fries. I also got a can of pop called Sun Drop, which I am unfamiliar with, but the can informed me was bottled by Dr Pepper, one of my favorite beverages (Japan suffers severely from the unavailability of Dr Pepper), so I figured it was worth a try. And it turned out to be delicious! But back to the shawarma.

I was first introduced to shawarma via Shawarma King near Western Michigan University's campus in Kalamazoo, MI. (I highly recommend the lentil soup. My mouth waters at the memory.) California is sadly lacking in shawarma, but the east side of Michigan is swimming in it! And I greatly rejoice in its easy access. Haifa Falafel was recommended to me by a friend shortly after I moved to Ann Arbor, and I was not disappointed. It has become my local go-to restaurant for this simple yet amazing Middle Eastern fast food. 

Shawarma is very similar to another of my favorite foods that I sorely missed while living in California: gyros (pronounced "yeer-ohs" in case you aren't familiar). They are both made with special rotisserie meat that is shaved, then wrapped in a flat bread with vegetables and special sauces. In Germany, they are called döners, and I ate an awful lot of them while I was there. All of these words - shawarma, gyro, döner - are variations on words in different languages that all mean "turn," a reference to the way the meat is roasted on a rotating spit, and each has specific sauces unique to their originating cultures. They are also all tasty as hell!

Mediterranean food is definitely dueling with Japanese as my favorite cuisine. If you ever have a chance to try a shawarma or a gyros, I doubt you will be anything short of in love.

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