Kebab Quotes Part II

Readers have been requesting another round-up of all the famous kebab quotes that have been collected since the last trawl through current affairs and popular culture. It’s almost unbelievable how often kebabs have been on the minds of prominent figures, or featured on the pages of well-known literary classics. And yet when you look, the evidence is there. Do feel free to send in any of your own quotes that you have overheard, Döner Fans. They might even make it onto the blog.

“The evidence available at the time suggested that the kebabs could be ready and delivered in under 45 minutes.”

-Tony Blair

 

“Independence will make kebab-shop owners better off not just in Scotland, but in the rest of the UK.”

-Nicola Sturgeon

 

“An evening without kebab is a bird without wings.”

-Salvador Dali

 

“All you have to do is eat one true kebab. Eat the truest kebab that you know.”

-Ernest Hemingway

 

“Red cabbage in a kebab?? I had rather chop this hand off at a blow, And with the other fling it at thy face.”

-William Shakespeare, Henry VI

 

“The position of the kebab in the Geographical Pivot of History is well known.”

-Halford Mackinder

 

“Greece’s future in the Eurozone is dependent on its capacity to maintain its kebab output.”

-Angela Merkel

 

“You look foreign, do you make kebabs?”

-Prince Philip

 

“Frodo! You must cast the kebab into the fires of Mount Doom. Only then will Middle Earth be saved.”

-Gandalf, The Lord of the Rings

Sir Halford 'Big Macka' Mackinder. Geopolitician and kebab enthusiast.

 

One Night in Berlin – Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab

Hello Döner Fans. Over the past month or so I’ve had a go at sampling a couple of Amsterdam’s best kebab vendors. I’ve tried kapsalon in its various forms and broadened my culinary horizons. After some gentle probing, Amsterdam has at last divulged its greasy treasures. The fact remains, however, that there is but one city which can claim the title of döner capital of the world, and it is undisputedly Berlin. Ah, Berlin. Kebab-lovers whisper its name in awed reverence; it is the holy city of the kebab-worshipping diaspora, to which we direct our dreams and prayers. A yearning to walk its streets once more had been building within me for some time, and so it was that I undertook the sacred pilgrimage to the Mother City. On a chilly January afternoon I boarded a Deutsche Bahn Intercity Express from Amsterdam Centraal and set off on my spiritual journey.

The German transport system - a thing of legend.

Now is neither the time nor the place to discuss my many experiences with Deutsche Bahn – Germany’s most talked-about service provider. I will not regale you with details of the time when my train was delayed by fugitives from justice fleeing across the tracks, nor of the time when a neighbouring train ploughed into a herd of migrating deer near Stendal and had to be evacuated into ours with the help of the Feuerwehr. These are stories for another time. Suffice to say I arrived on time at Berlin Hauptbahnhof and, a lump of emotion rising in my throat, I made my way to my former home of Wedding.

U-Bahnhof Wedding: Berlin's most up-and-coming district.

Wedding is Berlin’s most up-and-coming neighbourhood, and has been for the past two decades. In other words, it has kept us waiting. As I strode through the flotsam and jetsam of life’s cruel vicissitudes, which lay strewn across its pungent streets, I was reminded of the special place that Wedding will always have in my heart. A sleeping drunk here, a festering dog-turd there… The vibrancy of city life is all around. But I digress. There was of course a purpose to my visit. As it happens, a faithful friend and avid reader of the blog was celebrating his birthday, and as a special birthday treat he had requested the honour of eating a kebab with Dr Döner. It is the kind of treat that money simply cannot buy. Donning my döner-eating regalia, I gladly met him at Leopoldplatz and accompanied him to the döner joint of his choice.

Luxemburger Straße: sometimes termed 'the kebab highway', sometimes 'the axis of döner'.

Faithful followers of the blog will know that I have sampled many of the establishments that line Wedding’s famous döner highway, or Luxemburger Straße as it is also known. I was cheered to see them all doing brisk business that night. There was Kaplan, my stalwart friend; there was Baba Sultan whose köfte are a thing of legend; there was Dedecan Gemüsekebab, whose Mercimek Çorbası I’ve slurped down on many a rough Saturday morning; there was Pamfilya Ocakbaşı, whose set meals and reasonable prices have kept many Weddingers on their feet. Needless to say I sampled them all again during my brief stay. However, my companion that evening led me to an establishment whose wares I had not yet tried. His favourite döner joint had always been Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab at Luxemburger Straße 33, so it was there that we went.

Servet's Original Gemüse Kebab announces its presence with a classy moving neon sign.

Servet’s Original Gemüse Kebab (or SOGK) has the slogan ‘Einmal essen, nie wieder vergessen’. Or, in English, ‘Once eaten, never forgotten’. A lusty threat if ever I’ve heard one! Preparing myself for an unforgettable experience, I ordered a dürüm while my companion ordered a döner. While our meals were being prepared, the birthday boy recounted some of his past experiences at SOGK, and I voiced my surprise at never having tried its wares before now, despite having lived so close by for so long. On hearing my accent, the döner seller behind the hatch suddenly demanded to know where I was from. ‘He’s from Scotland,’ my companion replied, ‘but he used to live in Turkey!’ ‘Oho!’ said the döner seller, ‘and did you ever go to Gallipoli?’ ‘No,’ I said. ‘We smashed you at Gallipoli in WWI,’ said the döner seller gleefully. Then, to show that things were nonetheless fine now, he insisted that I fist-bump him before he handed me my dürüm.

Don't mention the war! Politics and kebabs are often intertwined.

Historical military defeats aside, the dürüm was actually quite enjoyable. We ate it as we walked down the streets of Wedding, and I can only hope that it met my companion’s birthday expectations. I recall the bread of my dürüm being quite doughy, but the filling was tasty and nicely spiced. A fully serviceable kebab if ever I saw one, and yet in a street as overflowing with kebab houses as Luxemburger Straße, I have to say that I would likely go elsewhere for my money. The kebab itself was nice, but I would still prefer a Kaplan or a Dedecan. This is of course entirely subjective, and other people will doubtless think otherwise. In any case, I had now completed my run of Luxemburger Straße by visiting the only kebab establishment that had not previously been featured on the blog. A milestone of sorts, I believe. It is a street I will no doubt return to again, whenever I next visit the city of Berlin. For now, though, business calls me back to Amsterdam. Farewell, Berlin! Dr Döner will see you again soon!

Results

Service: 2/5 (questionable)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (bustling and vibrant)

Price: 3/5 (fine)

Taste: 4/5 (quite tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner and Mr. T. Richter

Bakkerij Kara Fırın, Molukkenstraat 145

Greetings, Döner Fans. I write this with the sauce still dribbling from my fingers, as I have just finished eating a quite delightful dürüm. Let me lay the scene. I had been returning from a hard day in the centre of Amsterdam, the weather was cold, and the light was fading. In a stroke of ill fortune, events had conspired to prevent me from having any lunch, and as a result I was desperate for sustenance. While charging down Molukkenstraat after getting off my tram, my eyes espied the lights of Bakkerij KARA FIRIN – an establishment I have walked past numerous times, but whose wares I had never sampled. Fogging the window with my ravenous breath, I gazed in upon the display of breads and pastries, and above all upon the twin logs of rotating meat glistening against the warm glow of the hot-plates. Like two pillars of joy, out of which seeped the greasy nectar of the gods. I rushed inside and placed my order.

Bakkerij Kara Firin glimpsed from across Molukkenstraat.

The décor inside was basic and utilitarian. I admit I did not have high hopes for the meal. But I ordered a lamb dürüm nonetheless with all the trimmings. The service was business-like – this was of course a daytime bakery, and not some dodgy late-night joint catering to ne’er-do-wells and the like. As such, my bread was placed in one of the traditional arched ovens at the back of the shop to be properly warmed. As it bathed in the smoky glow of the oven, I looked at the selection of options arrayed before me: as far as I could tell, there were only two types of sauce, and the only salad choice was iceberg lettuce. When I asked for ‘everything’ to be added to my dürüm, these were what I got. I paid up and departed with my feast.

The kebab-autopsy under way.

Once back in Döner HQ I unwrapped my dürüm to find that it had cooled a little during the walk. I was ready for a disappointment. But then, as I bit down into it, a wave of flavour overcame me and my doubts were swept aside. Each sliver of meat was moist and packed with a subtle spiciness that prickled on the palate. The combination of hot and herbal sauce complemented the meat beautifully, and the lettuce provided a background freshness while remaining unobtrusive. I think that this is probably the closest I have found to the type of dürüm you can get in Istanbul. In any case, the tastes transported me back to the rickety streets of Beyoğlu and Galata where my love for the humble kebab was first born. My only complaint is that the dürüm was small and over far too soon. Yet, while it may not have compared to Kaplan’s giant dürüms in terms of quantity, where for the same price (3,50€) you can get something the size and girth of your forearm, this innocent dürüm from Bakkerij Kara Firin more than made up for that with its authentic taste. Bravo, Bakkerij Kara Firin! Dr Döner is a fan.

Results

Service: 4/5 (normal for a bakery, I suppose)

Atmosphere: 3/5 (fine)

Price: 3/5 (fairly standard)

Taste: 5/5 (very tasty)

Photographs taken by Dr. Döner.