Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Shawarma: From Saudi Arabia to West Philadelphia

Last week after a long day in Center City, my friend and I decided we needed something to eat, and fast. We ducked into the closest Middle-Eastern restaurant. Following the example of my worldly South Asian friend I ordered the Shawarma. Our waitress promptly brought us two sandwiches with thin-sliced lamb and beef mixed with lettuce, tomatoes, and tahini. My friend exclaimed that this was the most authentic Shawarma he had tasted since he was in Saudi Arabia before coming to North America. Wow.

Wanting to get better acquainted with this staple of Middle Eastern cuisine, I dove into an investigation of Shawarma and the varieties available in Philadelphia. Starting my search on Wikipedia, I found out that the word Shawarma comes from a Turkish word, cevirme, which means turning. Accordingly, Shawarma meat typically is roasted on a turning spit. In Philadelphia, Shawarma is prepared with a variety of meats and is usually served as a sandwich. During my research a few establishments stood out as excellent Shawarma providers.

Most Authentic: Sahara Grill at 13th and Walnut in Center City serves a highly authentic variety of Shawarma featuring a mixture of thin-sliced lamb and beef with lettuce, tomatoes, and a light tahini sauce on tough taboon bread.
Most Convenient: Open for pickup and delivery from 10:30am to 1:00am, Rana Halal Cuisine at 3513 Lancaster Avenue is one of the student-friendly restaurants in the University City area. Rana Halal’s menu features a chicken Shawarma sandwich, as well as beef and chicken Shawarma platters, served with creamy tahini.
Best Value: Falafel House at 33rd and Powelton offers the best bang for your buck in the Shawarma market. With a sandwich price of $4.99, the deal at Falafel House is hard to beat.
Best Variety: Marrakesh Express, on 44th and Walnut, offers a large variety of Shawarma entrees. Not only does the menu feature lamb and chicken Shawarma sandwiches, it also has Shawarma platters and salads.
Most Delicious: Penn campus’ very own Hummus takes the prize for the most delicious Shawarma. Hummus’ chicken Shawarma sandwich is served on soft, warm pita bread. The marinated meat is can be mixed with onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, and cabbage as well as tahini and hot sauce.

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Thanks for the great information you have provided! You have touched on crucuial points! i bookmarked it and will be back to check some more later. Rana Middle Eastern Cuisine



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