A Berlin Invention- The Doner Kabab

My love affair with Turkish food started in 2000 in NYC when i was young, poor intern. I dicovered $2 Falafel sandwiches in a pita at the legendary Mamouns. Thus began the exploration of the cuisine, gyros, humus, babaganoush, grape leaf rolls, pine nuts, and so much more.
My sister tipped me to eat at the Donar Kebab places outside the subway stations. Turns out the Doner is Berlin's most popular fast food. They are cheap, good and very filling.
I requested my Berliner friend Alexej who lived in the trendy Neu Koln area to take me to his favourite Donar place. And that he did. He explained to me that Turkish immigrants had been invited to Germany during the 60s after the war as Guest Workers as there was a shortage of labor. Here they establised large communities especially in big cities like Berlin and adapted their food and created uniquely Berlin- Turkish cuisine. The Donar sandwich in Berlin is one such speciality. What makes this Doner different from the rest- Well the Turkish doner is mostly lamb. Germans prefer a mix of veal and chicken. Instead of the traditional hummous and tahini sauces the Germans make their Doner with hot sauce (scharfe Soße), herb sauce (Kräutersoße), garlic sauce (Knoblauchsoße), or yogurt (Joghurtsoße) in any no. of combinations. They also serve it mit pommes or with fries instead of the salad.  In a thin nicely toasted, crispy, sesame encrusted pita bread lay the gyro meat or shwerma , yogurt with garlic sauce, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, hot sauce, and tahina. Fold it and serve. You have a massively beautiful Donar sandwich. Alexej told me that the doner in Berlin is probably more popular than the hamburger. Wah!
Berlin's beautiful NeuKoln area

The courthouse
Gorgeous veal rotating roast

Sauces and other meats

Grilled fish
Rice pudding a bit like kheer
Tomatoes, lettuce, thin slices of Shwerma, garlic and yogurt sauce, all wrapped in one crunchy, sesame laden thin pita bread. Since we were sharing - no hot sauce.

Alexej- my lunch date and tour guide for the day. A true Berliner- born and brought up in Berlin. A rarity I believe.

A testament to how good the sandwich was. Great hangover food!
Spelling my name to a foreigner. The Y always throws people off.