The Kebab story


- 25/05/2022 -

Salad, tomatoes, onions, white sauce, with extra fries! A winning combo that has become a street food classic and a gastronomic symbol. This mix of ingredients is served in a kebab bread or a patty: classic way with a meat cut on the spit in the respect of the kebab traditions, revisited in the fusion cuisine trend, in a veggie version or even sweetened... there is a kebab for every taste. More than ever the Kebab seduces. But where does this melting pot of Mediterranean, Oriental and Germanic tastes really come from? Take a look back at the history of the dish that has become the most trendy street food item.

A German-Turkish creation...

If there are several contenders for the title of kebab inventor, the two names that come up the most in the long and tumultuous history of the creation of this sandwich are those of Mehmet Aygün or Kadir Nurman. Both Turks living in Berlin, they claim to be the creator of this culinary montage made of bread, grilled vegetables and this famous meat cooked according to a Turkish recipe: by having tanned for hours on a rotating spit.

The recipe arrived in France in the 90's. The story goes that the Kebab was first sold in Paris in Greek restaurants. This explains why you can hear in the Parisian streets the famous "On se fait un grec!" (i.e. "Let's get a Greek!"). But Frenchies are not the only ones that renamed the kebab: the Greeks in fact name it "Gyros", as for the Germans, they kept the word "Döner". But this snack is also known as "Shawarma" in the Arab world, or "Shish Kebab" in the United States.

...that has conquered the world

Today, the success of the Kebab is international: to eat-in, to take away or in delivery; at noon, at snack time, or after midnight... who has never tasted the greasy and dripping pleasure of a good kebab after a long (night) trip?

Kebab has become a true urban lifestyle and is now part of our daily lives. It is one of the only restaurants whose common name is the same as the dish you want to eat there. The Döner shops have thus invaded the streets of the world and especially of Europe.

Authentic places with pictures of Istanbul on the wall and the smell of grilled meat, where Kebab Lovers and Kebab Masters share stories of all kinds and extravagant anecdotes until dawn, the landmarks of the most cosmopolitan fast food are The Place To Be in case of serious hunger.

From Neon Kebab to LAPS Watch

But the influence of this world sandwich extends far beyond the urban sphere, and reaches the artistic fields which are inspired by the image of the meat on a spit and its whole aesthetic universe. In fashion, art, music, Kebab is on trend.

In 2009, for example, the Grand Palais exhibited Wang Du's International Kebab: an immersive work inviting visitors to climb onto a scaffold and try to cut pieces of images with provided knives..

There are even NFT Doner Kebabs made exclusively by the Great Chef of the Metaverse. Guaranteed calorie free for only a fraction of ethereum.

Feeling hungry after reading this article? You're bound to find a Kebab near you. Symbolized by its displays flirting with kitsch and its neon lights that have become true emblems of popular culture and street food, you simply can't miss it!

NFT Doner Kebab #4

At LAPS, we are also easily tempted by a small Kebab, so much so that this famous neon has become the star of one of our iconic models: the Signature. Paristanbul. And as we believe in generosity when it comes to Kebabs, we reveal you our favorite addresses in Paris: 

The real Berlin Kebab:  GEMÜSE 61 rue Ramey, Paris 18

The most chic: Grillé15 Rue Saint-Augustin, Paris 2

And for the good big Greek Kebab in all simplicity:  Gül 228 Boulevard Voltaire, Paris 11

Cover photo credits: Dougie Wallace