The Origins of Kapsalon

Greetings, Döner Fans. Countless numbers of you have been writing in, begging for more information about kapsalon. ‘Where can I buy a kapsalon?’ ‘What is the best kapsalon in Amsterdam?’ ‘Why is my Dutch hairdresser’s shop also called kapsalon?’ It is the last of these three questions that I would like to address today. The Dutch-speakers among you will no doubt know that the word kapsalon actually means ‘barber shop’. How is it, then, that this seemingly unrelated term is used to refer to the meal that we all know and love? Well, the answer is as follows.

Just one of the many gushing letters I receive from fans

In 2003, hairdresser Nathaniël Gomes entered his local shawarma shop in Rotterdam and, rather than ordering from the menu, he requested that all his favourite ingredients be shoved into an aluminium dish and melted together for his lunch. The craftsman at the El Aviva shawarma shop duly packed the chips, cheese and kebab meat into one receptacle, melted them together in his oven, and then slathered some sauce and salad over the top. The resulting delicacy was then handed over for consumption.

The common or garden kapsalon. One portion contains around 1800 kcal.

This became a regular order for Nathaniël, so much so that El Aviva decided to add it to their menu in order to reach a wider audience. And so the meal was born, and because Nathaniël Gomes was a hairdresser, it was given the name kapsalon in his honour. So there you have it, Döner Fans! I hope that has slaked your thirst for knowledge. Dr Döner will see you next time. In the meantime, keep writing in!

Photographs courtesy of Dr. Döner

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