If there is a hot and popular food in Waterloo Region over the past few years, it must be shawarma. Of Middle Eastern origin, the sandwich is flatbread packed with chunks of marinated and vertical spit-roasted chicken (or lamb or beef), with generous spicing and accompanied by vegetables like pickled turnips. It has clearly become an entrenched favourite in Waterloo Region.
That popularity is no surprise, given how delicious it is and new restaurants – whether with a Syrian, Lebanese or Iraqi derivation – continue to pop up frequently: shawarma restaurants tally to about 20 outlets in Cambridge, Kitchener and Waterloo.
Like many foods, there is no precisely known origin of shawarma, but many countries and cultures around the world have street-food analogues: the Greeks have gyros, while the Turks claim that their doner existed in the 1800s. In most cases, the meat is brightly seasoned with turmeric, cloves, cumin, coriander, allspice, cinnamon, cardamom and marinated, sometimes as long as two to three days, to create a moist, rich meat that is stacked and layered on a metre-long skewer and mounted upright to rotate and roast in front of infrared radiant heat.
Here’s a short selection of shawarma restaurants in Waterloo Region. Aficionados of the filling and satisfying hand-held meal (usually for less than $10) will fiercely defend their favourite and extol its virtues passionately.
iShawarma, Waterloo and Kitchener
Highland Shawarma, Kitchener
Mozy’s Shawarma, Waterloo and Cambridge
Babylon Tower, Kitchener
Eastside Shawarma, Kitchener
Lazeez Shawarma, Waterloo
Shawarma Plus, Waterloo
1001 Nights Shawarma, Kitchener
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