The road to Kebabylon

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There is an old English proverb that states “every good night ends in a bad kebab”. OK, that’s not strictly true but to be honest it should be. Britain has achieved much in its long history, and yet it has constantly been derided for its poor cuisine. This is surely unfair, any country that has devised the genius of the Yorkshire pudding or adapted Indian cuisine to create the Chicken Tika Masala is worthy of high praise. In fact Britain’s acceptance of foods from around the world make it difficult to accurately define a traditional British food, and even in the smallest of cities there is a myriad of options when it comes to dining out. However, among the many successes one of the profound failures is the inexplicably popular after pub choice, the Kebab.

Turkish in origin the kebab has a special place in the heart of Britain, mainly because it’s lodged there by all the trans fats. It’s true that good kebabs can be found but for the post pub and club reveller it’s more than likely that they will chow down on something that only distantly resembles an edible meal. I can only conclude that the continued sale of poor quality kebabs in Britain, even after warnings on quality and reports of food poisoning, is down to the fact that most of the customers are three sheets to the wind by the time of purchase.

My general distrust of kebab shops has been recently challenged by the Turkish/German Doner Kebap. Brought to Germany by Turkish guest workers, roughly 2.5 billion Euros are spent on Kebaps every year, which goes some way to showing their popularity. The quality of ingredients (usually chicken or Turkey) are one major reason for the lasting appeal of this snack food. I recently experienced another signifier of the popularity of Kebaps in Germany while walking to work a few weeks ago. As I was late I decided to take a shortcut that led me past a queue of people. It was not until I got a bit closer that I realised it wasn’t a bank or post office but a Kebap stall that was preparing to open its doors for the morning rush. Kebap for breakfast? It’s not my cup of tea but I can understand why you would.

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