Plaza Blog

Unraveling the Mystery of Shawarma: A Culinary Tour from the Middle East to LA

Shawarma, a Middle Eastern dish made from thin slices of seasoned meat that is slowly roasted on a spit, has been enjoyed for centuries. This savory dish, which is typically served in a wrap or pita bread with vegetables and sauces, has a rich history that dates back to the Ottoman Empire. Check out one of our favorites in LA at Saffy's!

Originating from the Arabian Peninsula, the dish is thought to have been inspired by the Greek gyro and the Turkish döner kebab. It was made from thin cuts of lamb, beef, or chicken that were seasoned with spices and slowly roasted on a spit over an open flame. The meat was then thinly sliced and served in a pita bread with vegetables and sauces.

Over time, the shawarma evolved to include a wider variety of meats, including veal, beef, chicken, and even turkey, as well as different spices and seasonings. In addition, the dish also evolved to include a range of vegetables, such as tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, and pickles.

The popularity of shawarma spread beyond the Middle East, making its way to the United States in the late 20th century. Today, shawarma is a beloved dish in the United States, enjoyed by people of all ages and backgrounds. From food trucks to upscale restaurants, shawarma can be found in all corners of the country. In LA two of our favorite places for shawarma are Shamshiri House and Hummus House.

So, what makes the perfect shawarma? According to top shawarma chef, the key to a great shawarma is in the quality of the meat, the perfect blend of spices, and the choice of sauces and vegetables.

When choosing meat, look for cuts that are tender and juicy, with a good balance of fat and lean meat. The spices used to flavor the meat should include a blend of warm, aromatic spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric, as well as garlic, ginger, and paprika.

When it comes to the vegetables, choose fresh and crisp ingredients that complement the flavors of the meat and spices. Some of the best vegetables to include are tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce, pickles, and red onions.

Finally, when it comes to sauces, choose ones that are tangy and flavorful, such as tahini, hummus, or garlic sauce. A great shawarma should have a good balance of all these ingredients, resulting in a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Shawarma is a dish with a rich history that has stood the test of time. From its origins in the Middle East to its current popularity in the United States, shawarma continues to be a beloved dish enjoyed by people all over the world. When it comes to making the perfect shawarma, remember to choose quality ingredients and seasonings, and let your taste buds be your guide.