The döner is the most popular fast food in Berlin. It typically consists of flat bread, minced veal and lamb and onions. One can also substitute for chicken, and falafel, and add a variety of sauces. I had my first döner when I visited Berlin in late 2010. I thought it was the perfect snack for a late night, at least it was real food, and I was not eating a burger. Since I have moved to Berlin, I have eaten countless döners now. Drive thrus are quite rare and these places are normally open quite late. My favorite has been the one in Mehringdamm. That one is perfect. Today, I heard the inventor of my favorite fast food in Berlin has passed away.
Nurman comes from Anatolia and grew up in Istanbul. He came to Germany in 1960 and became a businessman. Six years later he moved to West Berlin and worked as a mechanic. In 1972, at Zoologischer Garten he sold his first kebab. The food quickly caught on and is a staple in the fast food mix of Berlin, that seems to have a döner place every corner. The name comes from the Turkish word “dondurmek” which means a rotating roast.
Credit for the döner is also given to Mahmut Aygun, but I believe that Nurman was the first to bring it to Berlin with its own unique spin on the meal, although I am finding the two stories to conflict with each other.
While it is rather unhealthy to eat everyday, once a week, this dish certainly hits the spot and has started to gain popularity outside of Berlin. There is even a döner place in downtown Los Angeles, but it is quite terrible. Whether it was Nurman, or Aygun, the döner is a great invention for people looking for late night food on the go that they can carry while in Berlin. Make sure to try one if you visit.
1. http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/7841890.stm. How unhealthy is a doner kebab? 2009
2. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/4295701/The-man-who-invented-the-doner-kebab-has-died.html. The man who invented the doner kebab has died. 2009
3.http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kadir_Nurman. Kadir Nurman