Shawarma is a Levantine Arab meat preparation, where lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants). The meat is roasted slowly on all sides as the spit rotates in front of, or over, a flame for hours. Traditionally, a wood fire was used; currently, a gas flame is common. While specialty restaurants might offer two or more meat selections, some establishments have just one skewer. While cooking, the meat is shaved off the stack with a large knife, an electric knife or a small circular saw, dropping to a circular tray below to be retrieved. The remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit.

Shawarma is eaten as a fast food, made up into a sandwich wrap with pita bread or rolled up in an Armenian lavash flatbread together with vegetables and dressing. Toppings include tahini, hummus, cucumber, onion, tomato, lettuce, eggplant, parsley, pickled turnips, pickled gherkins, pickles, and cabbage. It is akin to the Turkish doner kebab and the Greek gyros.

This will optionally be accompanied by French fries in some countries, including: Jordan, Libya, Syria, Israel, Lebanon, Pakistan, Turkey, Egypt, India, and Saudi Arabia, also countries in Europe such as Romania, Italy, Germany, Bulgaria and the United Kingdom, and in Australia and Canada.


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