Shawarma Loiter

July 3, 2010

Posted by Kanga.

First, I should explain the origin of the “shawarma loiter” concept. It came from a dinner conversation with friends about shawarma – the quality, availability, etc. One friend asked the other his opinion, to which he replied “I’ve never loitered at shawarma stands.” The word “loiter” hit the funny bone of the first friend, so it became the running joke of the evening and by the end the concept of a shawarma loiter had solidified.

So, June 16th we had our first real shawarma loiter (or stroll) which consisted of meeting at the mall across the street from our apartment and then DaddyBird led us on a tour of some of the shawarma stands in our neighborhood. We paced ourselves by just buying 1/2-1 shawarmas per person per stand.

people standing at a shawarma stand

Shawarmas consist of pita bread rolled around shaved meat that has been cooked on an upright spit. Exact contents vary from stand to stand. There is often a sauce added and some put in veggies. Shawarmas in restaurants often have soggy fries added, but this is not convenient at the stands, thankfully. Stand shawarmas range from 3.50 AED to 5.00 AED (that’s $0.95 to $1.36). The 3.50 ones usually have veggies in them and the 5.00 ones are usually a little larger.

The spit/roaster is usually an electric device producing radiant heat on one side while the spit is rotated slowly. One near our apartment has a bank of coals instead of electric heat.

shawarma spit using coal fire

DaddyBird also included a historical landmark in our tour, the Burj Nahar.

old watchtower

This is one of the watchtowers that used to be on the outskirts of town. It has been preserved and there is a little park area around it.

Next stop was a bread bakery on a back street.

These men are sitting on top of the oven. Two are rolling out the dough and the third is putting it into and taking it out of the oven.

We ended our shawarma stroll at Al Mallah restaurant on Al Muteena street. One of our favorites. We sat inside for the very first time due to the summer heat and the fact that we were pretty sweaty by this point. The air conditioning was quite nice. Shawarma loitering should be a winter activity.



  1. fun! I wanna loiter, too!

  2. And the bread tossing is amazing! am sure all the germs from his feet are cooked off completely!

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