Doner Kebab

A Story About Döner Kebab And How It Saved My Mexican Hunger

If you have ever been in Germany before, you can probably understand the hype surrounding this dish and how it became an iconic part of German culture. If you have not, you are about to discover it. But first of all, what exactly is a döner kebab?

Döner kebapPicture of my hand holding a döner kebap

Döner or döner kebap is a type of kebab made out of meat that has been seasoned and cooked on a vertical rotisserie. Pretty similar to the preparation of the carne al pastor in Mexico. Its origin is Turkish, which is pretty interesting because it is a dish that has inspired several cultures and their cuisine. There are many different versions of döner kebap all over the world, and when I first found myself so far away from home, this special dish gave me a comfort that I never expected to find. I was capable of creating a bridge between my culture and a staple food of this new country.

It is possible to find tacos in Germany. But these are German Tacos, they tend to lack the spiciness and taste we all know and love. But with the döner kebap something special happens. I am aware it is not a Mexican dish, but the similarities are enough for me to feel just back home. The taste, the warmth, the spiciness, the combination between flavors, the bread—that sometimes can be switched for a flour tortilla as if it were a burrito. All that is enough for me to love this dish and to prefer it over the tacos I can find around the city.

Whenever I have Heimweh—a sharp pain in my heart due to missing my homeland—and there is no time to cook Mexican food, I tend to eat döner kebap. And it is not like the pain disappears, but it makes everything smoother and definitely easier. I found a connection to my roots in this food, a connection to my land, and to the people I miss and love. It is still interesting to me how much Germans love döner kebap, which is not even a German dish but has been adopted by them. And I believe that this food is so easy to prepare everywhere, so good and simple enough to adapt to every country, that it is really hard for people not to like it.

For me, this dish is a way to connect with some flavors of my land, and I am pretty sure the same thing happens to a lot of people from all over the world who are in the same position that I am. I think leaving our homeland for whatever reasoneven if this is our desireleaves a scar, and sometimes the little things are the only things that can alleviate the nostalgia.

If you ever find yourself in Germany, you will notice that in every corner you can find a Kiosk selling döner kebap, most of them are amazing. I was so surprised when I first saw the meat being cooked, because it was like going back to Mexico. You can make your dish spicy or mild (they have options for everyone), and one of the versions I love is the döner box mit Pommes, which is basically french fries with salad and the meat on top, with a lot of spicy sauce and tzatziki. Try it, you will not regret it.

I now understand the hype surrounding this dish, and if I ever move out of this country, I would definitely miss eating it and will try to look for a substitute in whatever place I find myself.

I hope you enjoy my thoughts!

Lots of love,



Monica Violante-Drost

A professional with a background as a language teacher and translator, also a traveler enthusiast currently living in Europe. Loves to recreate make-up looks and discover new beauty products. Her passions are learning and reading.

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