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CHAT: The Alex Charalabidis Guide to Souvlaki

From:John Cowan <jcowan@...>
Date:Wednesday, December 8, 2004, 16:36
The Alex Charalabidis Guide to Souvlaki

1. Asking for a "souvlaki" will normally result in a kebab - meat on a
   skewer, especially outside Athens.

2. The classic "souvlaki" known throughout the world is purchased
   by asking for "gyro pita" (YEE-roh PEE-tah) Note that the "pita" is
   essential to denote the wrap, asking for "gyro" will likely get you the
   full monty - a "merida" (portion) with the disappointing results Matt
   mentions above. On the other hand, a "souvlaki (me) pita" would be a
   classic souvlaki with meat from the skewer in it instead of meat sliced
   off the big spit.

3. A "doner" is another name for "gyros" (the Turkish original, I
   presume) and a term more widely used in the city centre rather than in
   the neighbourhood "souvlatzidiko."

4. Fancier souvlakia (kebabs) may come with pieces of onion and green
   bell pepper between the pieces of meat.

5. Chicken souvlakia are increasingly common and many shops now carry
   them. Some shops have a separate spit for chicken but I'd go for the
   souvlaki instead.

6. Any professional who calls it a "souvlaki sandwich" ought to be
   condemned to a year of flipping burgers at McDonalds. I've never heard
   of it, it's probably a strictly tourist shop term and would make any
   Greek look at you funny.

7. Many places in the centre have blackboards with the menu written on
   them outside the shop, usually in awful but recognizable transliterations.

8. Sitting down is an implied invitation to be served a full meal. Go
   inside and stand in line.

9. Some places will lace the onion with parsley to draw out the bitter
   flavour of onion that's been cut for a while. Others will combine it
   with lettuce.

10. The meat in the gyros is commonly a blend of pork and lamb (or mystery
    meat). Definitely not kosher. If you're Jewish or Muslim, you'll want
    to avoid it and go for the souvlaki, which is usually lamb (see 2.).

11. Tzatziki is meant to have the consistency of yoghurt. The only thing
    dripping out of the bottom of a wrap should be grease, not runny tzatziki.

12. Good tzatziki contains garlic - lots of it. Beware!

13. I had no idea I knew this much about souvlakia.

[BTW, the archive shows that we had a gyro/souvlaki conversation back
in September 2003.  "The net loses its memory, if not its mind, every
six months."]

On the Semantic Web, it's too hard to prove     John Cowan
you're not a dog.  --Bill de hOra     


Tristan Mc Leay <conlang@...>