Döner Debate

The origin of the Döner (Doner Kebab) is not clear.

There are different stories about how the Döner is invented. The usual Döner without bread is a Turkish kebab, made of meat cooked on a vertical rotisserie and is served on a plate with various accompaniments. That is the original way to serve a Döner, but the way how the most people know Döner is to stuff the meat and salad or vegetables into a pita or other type of bread as a sandwich, or wrapped in a thin flatbread such as lavaş or yufka, known as a drum. The Turkish word ‘Döner’  means a rotating roast.

The man’s name, who invented the doner kebab that way 40 years ago, was Mahmut Aygün. He was born in Turkey and moved to Germany at the age of 16 to open a snack stall. In a moment of inspiration Mr Aygun saw that the future lay in putting the meat inside a pitta bread. That allowed customers who had been drinking to wander off into the night with their food and eat it as they stumbled home. Mr Aygun once said: “I thought how much easier it would be if they could take their food with them.”

The first of the new snacks was served on March 2, 1971, at Hasir, his restaurant in Berlin.