by Todd Wehrkamp
Here’s a hot take fresh off the spit. When you’re on the go late at night and have a bad case of the munchies, there’s nothing quite like the kebab. Although it is ubiquitous and delicious, sometimes this Turkish delight is can be suspicious. Sometimes it’s tough to tell if that savory smell from the grill is leading you to your taste buds’ happy place or directly to low-quality fare and a tomorrow of tummy troubles. This is a guide to point you in the right direction and satisfy your late-night cravings, so you can rest easy.
It sounds like low hanging fruit, but there is an incredible amount of sub-standard kebab posted in any major city. The meat must pass a simple eye test. Can you distinguish one piece of meat from another? Is the spit a stack of carnivorous delights or is it one continuous form of mystery meat? If it’s the latter, it is mass-produced, high in sulfate, and most likely contains the lips, tongue, and ass of multiple creatures.
Kebab is meant to be sliced with honor, grace, and care with a skilled hand holding a blade. Imitators will use a power tool meant for your furniture. This is not nostalgic, but technical. If they are using this hardware store special, undone chewy pieces below will be sliced off along with the proper crispy bits. Iyi değil.
What’s on top?
This is something of a calling card for kebab shops. A bevy of vegetables and fats of all varieties can sit atop the spit to be cooked down and serve to impart flavor on the meat. One particularly interesting innovation came from Lebanese immigrants in Mexico. They placed a pineapple on top of their pork, which makes up the filling for tacos al pastor.
This is really self-explanatory. Do the veggies looks fresh? If not, you could be spending the next day with the squirts that would fly through a screen door.
Döner Kebab is a working-class meal. One of the people. It should never be over €3,50 with the durum never going north of €5. Williamsburg imitations for $15 are despicable.
Happy hunting, kiddos.
Todd Wehrkamp is a Berlin-based drink drinker writing on his friend’s blog