Delightful Döner

Döner in pita.
Döner in pita.

Delightful Döner

by Jessica Zen
Stripes Europe

For a late-night snack, quick lunch or delicious dinner, there’s no wrong time to eat the fan-favorite Döner! The Döner kebab has quickly become one of Germany’s favorite fast foods, second to perhaps only the bratwurst or currywurst. Whether you’re having one for the first time or searching for the best one you’ve ever had, döner is always a good idea. 

Though popular in Germany, the Döner’s origin story has roots in Turkey. It was originally served as skewered meat, rice and vegetables on a plate, but has since evolved. The Döner kebab is now served as thinly sliced seasoned meat, cooked on a vertical rotisserie, in a durum wrap or pita bread. What started out as a strictly beef sandwich with onions and lettuce has turned into a “have it your way” meal. You can now choose between chicken, lamb, turkey or beef and top it with tomato, lettuce, cabbage, onion and cheese. Make it perfect with various sauces like garlic, herb and hot sauce. This Döner is similar to a Greek gyro. 

The Döner kebab made its way to Germany around 50 years ago and there are a few different people who claim to have served it up first. One of the most widely accepted stories is that the döner was first served by Turkish guest worker Kadir Nurman. The Turks were part of the group of workers that came from southern and Eastern Europe to help boost Germany’s economy after the war. Nurman brought the idea for a döner to Berlin and first sold it in 1972 at a stall opposite the Bahnhof Zoo. It was created to provide hard-working Germans with a hearty lunch that was also easy to eat on the go. Today, the Turks are the largest ethnic group of non-German origin in Germany. Their addition of the incredible döner to the cuisine in Germany is something for which we can all be thankful. 

If you’re looking for a Döner while in Germany, you won’t have to look far. There are around 16,000 Döner stalls in Germany, according to the website The city of Berlin alone is home to over 1,000 shops. You certainly can’t leave the city without trying one! The Döner’s popularity is not only great for your taste buds, it’s great for the economy. According to the Association of Turkish Döner Producers in Europe, over 600 tons of Döner meat is cooked each day. This brings in an astounding 3.5 billion euros for shop owners each year!

While in Germany, you simply must try a Döner or five. Try one mild and one spicy. One with tomatoes and one with cheese. The combinations are all fantastic and sure to have you craving more! There’s a reason they are one of Germany’s most popular curbside snacks. 

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