Monday, September 1, 2008


I'm going to look past the fact that the weather completely sucks and has for the last four months and that everything is twice as expensive to buy and the pay is half as much as we're used to and get straight to kebabs.

Kebabs are not the shish-kebabs, the "kebab" is something completely unto itself. And it's pronounced "keh-BAB" which rhymes with "slab" or "stab." To pronounce it correctly, speak like you're from New Jersey and a little annoyed.

It's a little bit gyro, a little bit burrito, made right in front of you and squeezed full of up to six sauces of your choosing. There's a big rotating column of meat (lamb or chicken) and a specially designed meat shaving device that looks like big industrial hair clipper with the head on backwards that they use to shave it.

Strips of meat are put on a pita-like rounds that are thinner than pita bread and burrito-tortilla in size. Then, according to your tastes, one of six squeeze bottles is mobilized and a swirl of sauce the consistency of ketchup is squirted onto the meat. The sauces are most commonly: yogurt, watery hummus, tomato, mild chilli (note spelling of "chili",) hot chilli, and barbeque. Some places offer yogurt or garlic-yogurt. Some don't offer barbeque (which is somewhere between K.C. Masterpiece and hand lotion.)

Then, atop your heavily-sauced meats go shredded lettuce, sliced onions, sliced tomatoes, parsley, shredded carrots, or shredded cheese.

The whole thing gets rolled up burrito-style inside aluminium foil (note spelling of "aluminum") and slipped into a paper sleeve. Some of them stick the rolled burrito---paper, foil and all---into a panini grill and give it a little toasting, but many don't.

This is a "kebab" and you can't swing a dead stoat in Wellington CBD without hitting one or two of these shops. I go to Kebab Queen which is down the road and under the bank building at the underground food court. Also down there is a place called Jimbom which also offers kebabs. Up the street is "Abrakebabra" (seriously) which has (in my humble opinion) the best kebabs in the area. Down the cross street is "Cuba Kebab" which offers the only beef meat pole in the area. There's another kebab place the other direction from Abrakebabra that's down Courtenay Place. And another farther up Cuba street called King Kebab.

And it's pretty much the same formula:

  1. Meat pole with meat of your choice.
  2. Meat shaved into strips and put on big round rollable bread.
  3. Up to six bottles of sauce squirted onto meat.
  4. Lettuce, carrots, tomatoes, onions, parsley, cheese.
  5. Rolled up for your pleasure.
This is a "kebab." And DAMN they're tasty.


Anonymous said...

When you return, let's start a Kebab eatery together! Get recipes!

Brandie said...

I definitely agree that Abrakebabra has the best kebabs around.

Speaking of the food court under the bank, is there a bbq place in there? I smell crazy good bbq when I walk by but haven't ever ventured in with the kiddos.

A said...

Hey! Just stumbled across your blog- Grrrreat!

we're doing the same thing - USA to NZ (Auckland), but our blog is nowhere near as entertaining! I should just send all my friends and family to your site!

Now I have something to look forward to during the slow nights at work - reading your blog archives! thanks!

Steve said...

Thanks, a. Glad you're getting something out of the ol' blog.

We're happy to field questions about the USA->NZ move and all that it entails as well was adjusting to Kiwi Life.

Ginger said...

What a cutie glad you took pictures she get a kick out of it when she older.
hugs ginger