I’ve always wondered what, exactly, is the difference between a shawarma, a donair and a gyro. It turns out, not much. All three terms refer to “turning” or “rotating” spits of meats. Trencher Man summed it up nicely in a forum on chow.com. There are, however, variations in sauces used. Gyros, typically have tzatziki. Donairs may come with a creamy, garlic sauce. Shawarmas may be laced with tahini. Recently, I checked out Abdul BBQ for his version of Lamb Shawarma.
Abdul, the affable owner is also its only employee, as far as I can tell. After many visits over the years, I’ve yet to see anyone else helping out. It’s quite a busy shop with a steady stream of regular clientele.
This is a man who takes great pride in his work. It’s probably more to do with him being the owner…not a hired hand on minimum wage that has no real stake in the business. You can see the result not only in his food but the general cleaniness of the establishment.
The slowly rotating spits set me adrooling…a carnivorous wet dream. No dried out hunks of pressed mystery meat here. Only juicy and tender slabs of beef, lamb and chicken.
As I mentioned, my choice today is the Lamb Shawarma. I asked for it extra-garlicky and extra-spicy. Abdul warned me of the heat factor in his hot sauce but it wasn’t that fiery in the past so I stuck to my guns. Seems old Abdul has kicked it up a notch since my previous visit! This is one kickin’ wrap!
Aside from the excess heat this is quite possibly the heftiest shawarma I’ve come across. Without a scale handy, I’d venture this was in the twenty to twenty-five ounce range…simply bursting with a huge amount of sweet, juicy lamb.
Normally I can put back an average shawarma in, say, ten minutes of leisurely eating. This one required much more effort. I got about half way and was about full. Plus the chili heat was really kicking in and I actually considered caving. But, if you’ve read much of this blog, you know I’m no quitter! And anyone whose ever had a donair/gyro/shawarma knows full well the best part is the last few bites. That’s where all the sauce/chili/flavour has congregated. It’s all a bit messy but oh so worth it!!
Abdul BBQ is located on the Kingsway side of Crystal Mall in Burnaby. Well worth a visit for a delicious, gut-busting Syrian-style shawarma .