Thursday, October 23, 2008

Brief Gyros Overview in Australia

Gyros, literally translated from Greek means 'turning' which elaborates the turning spit the meat is stacked on as it gets grilled. It is believed that influences of the gyros stretches back to the 9th Century where in Baghdad they made "Judhaba" a similar dish to the Greek gyros. However today it is mooted that the gyros was originally made in Livadia, central Greece roughly around the 1950s. Interestingly, Greek connoisseurs would also note that is the same area where the first souvlaki on a wooden stick was also invented.

In Australia, the large Greek community popularised this and has become a favourite among the general population. Traditionally in Greece, gyros is made of pork but to suit a larger customer base, Lamb and Chicken versions have been introduced. This usually accompanied with usual salads and wrapped pita bread or souvlaki bread that be lightly grilled and doused with olive oil. In most cases the gyros are sliced in thicker pieces as compared to doner kebabs that usually sliced to thin shards of meat. The result is a hearty Greek meal; that satisfies those greasy cravings. According to visitors from Greece however, the gyros found in Australia tend to contain twice or three times the fillings as compared to the traditional gyros back in the homeland.

It is hard to find any authentic gyros shops at all in Queensland; the closest would be to visit Greek Restaurants in Brisbane. However further down south to the states of New South Wales and Victoria, considering the larger Greek population there Gyros shops are found in abundance. While at these Gyros shops, it is recommended to try out the other Greek cuisine on offer such as the haloumi or souvlaki which go great with one another. If you are looking for a quick hearty meal anytime of the day, hunt down a gyros shop.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Review: Sim Kebab

Sim Kebab

160 Liverpool Rd
Ashfield NSW 2131
Phone (02) 9797 7909

Sim Kebab located along Liverpool Rd, Ashfield

This was the first kebab shop I visited while I was down in Sydney. Located in Ashfield, the suburb I was staying at with my mates. I asked my friend to take me to the nearest kebab shop from his house and this was it. Upon arriving I noticed a cat was relaxing on the front step of the store, I wish I took a picture of it but it gave a homely feeling. The kebabs were decently priced, $8 was the price I had to pay for the chicken kebab I ordered. Considering the amount of ingredients stuffed into the kebab it was rather good value. It comes with your usual salads of onion, lettuce and tomatoes. Extras available were cheese and tabouli. The sauces were your typical, BBQ, Tomato, Sweet Chilli, Sour cream, Mayo, Hot Chilli, Hommus and yoghurt & garlic. I had mine with just the regular salads and with yoghurt and garlic sauce, which was served from a pallete rather than squeezed from a bottle. This gave it a more home-made sense to it.

Kebab goodness

The meat was shaved and put on the grill, while the bread used was a greek souvlaki bread and was spread with oil before chucked on the grill. The servings were generous and the kebab was the best thing I've tasted since leaving Queensland. The chicken meat was tender, juicy and not too oily. While the bread was superb and doughy. The salads came together well and the yoghurt garlic sauce topped it off perfectly. I highly recommend this place, a nice hidden gem in Ashfield, the staff were friendly and helpful. They were even knowledgable about the surrounding area and gave us recommendations when we were looking for shisha cafes. Wednesday is the best day to visit this shop, as they have a lamb kebabs on for special. Definately something not to be missed.

Fantastic tasting kebab

Overall Rating: 8/10

Monday, October 20, 2008

Brief History of Kebabs in Australia

Brought in due to immigration from Greece, Turkey, former Yugoslavia, and Lebanon, Kebabs have earned their place in the hearts and stomachs of millions of Australians throughout the years. Kebabs served in Australia are Doner Kebabs of Turkish, Lebanese and other Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influences. The earlier form of today's Doner kebab was believed to originate from Cag Kebab, where it was grilled horizontally and thicker slices were cut. However Doner Kebabs found in Australia are very dissimilar to the traditional Middle Eastern dish. Kebabs here are usually served in Pita bread and wrapped, rather than in a pide or on a plate. The type and quality of the kebab variations served depends on the ethnic population within in the location. States with larger Greek population such as Melbourne will often refer to kebabs as souvlaki, gyros or yiros. In Brisbane on the other hand Kebabs are influenced more strongly by the Lebanese and Turkish variation.

Kebab shops have come a long way from being a small family run business for the community to big franchisees opened across Australia-wide. It is rumoured that the best Kebab shops are the ones found in suburbs which tend to be more authentic than the ones found in food courts and the city area. The reason behind this is that a majority of the patrons for the suburb based kebab shops consist of the local community who more often than not are ethnic and demand more authenticity with the cuisine served. Therefore if the kebabs aren't up to scratch their business would suffer as a result. Whilst in the city, Doner kebabs tend to be popular during the mad rush of lunch hour and late night snacking where busy mid-day or intoxicated after-party patrons search for the quick and convenient meal (with a whopping 600++ calorie per-kebab) to last the day or finish off the night with.

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