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Döner: What is it and why you'll love it

Like pizza shops in New York and taquerias in California, döner can be found on every corner in Turkey. Americans have burgers and the Turkish have döner. It's also why Yunus Arslan opened his own döner shop in Santa Cruz in 2021.

After leaving Turkey in 2012, Yunus came to the Bay Area and was surprised by the lack of knowledge people had about what döner was. Some compared it to a Greek gyro, some compared it to shawarma, and although similar, it stands alone as its own unique dish.

What is döner?

Döner, also seen written as doner, is traditional Turkish dish of marinated meats slow roasted vertically on a rotisserie resulting in a juicy, savory dish.

Arslans Turkish Street Food chefs prep the meat 24 hours in advance before cooking. The meat is marinated in traditional spices and milk to help tenderize it, creating a smooth and luscious bite when cooked. The meat is then stacked on the rotisserie aka spit or a shish stick, and it slowly cooks down. When ready to serve, it's shaved off into mouthwatering bites. You can find a Beef & Lamb or Chicken option at Arslans.

How do you serve döner?

In Turkey, döner can be arranged on a plate or in a pita bread. It also may be found rolled in a lavash wrap or in bowl. At Arlsans, you'll find plates, wraps and bowl options available. Try it a new way every time!


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