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4 interesting facts about the humble doner kebab

The doner kebab has become a staple of British late-night street food, standing alongside the burger van and the pizza place as the stop-off of choice for after-hours diners. Created in Turkey, the inverted cone of seasoned meat turning slowly on its spit in front of a heating element is a familiar sight on the British high street.

Like all traditional foods, the doner kebab has a storied history. If you don’t believe us, check out these four facts about it:

1. The doner kebab is less than 200 years old

While traditional kebabs – that is, ones grilled on a horizontal skewer – go back millennia in the Eastern Mediterranean, the vertically-grilled doner kebab can be traced back no further than 1830, where Hamdi Usta of Kastamonu in Northern Turkey is known to have invented it.

We’ve only been eating doner kebabs in the UK for 50 years

It seems unbelievable, given its popularity, but the first kebab shop in the UK opened in 1966. Hodja Nasreddin, as it was called, opened its doors in Stoke Newington, under its proprietor Cetin Bukey.

3. There are over 20,000 kebab shops in the UK

As of 2015, there were 20,000 kebab shops open for business in the UK, with over 70,000 people employed between them. It is estimated that over 1.3 billion kebabs are purchased nationwide, every day.

4. We care more about kebabs than we do about the Oscars

The 2017 British Kebab Awards (yes, this is a real thing) were held on the same night as the Academy Awards and trended higher on Twitter for the UK. Guest speakers this year included Jeremy Corbyn and Sadiq Khan.

If this list has left you hungering for a delicious doner kebab, why not try making one at home? Packed with herbs and spices, our doner kebab meal kit lets you create a healthy twist on the classic. Load up a pita bread with oven-cooked lamb and lashings of salad, for a guilt-free treat.

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