The Difference Between Gyro vs Shawarma

The Difference Between Gyro vs Shawarma

Examining the savory street food landscape, the long-running argument between Shawarma and Gyros takes center stage. These relatives in the kitchen, who come from diverse cultural origins, dance to separate flavor symphonies but share a revolving spit and a variety of spices. Greek-inspired gyros feature a spiced mixture of meat, usually chicken or lamb, wrapped in warm pita and served with veggies and tzatziki. Conversely, Shawarma, which has its origins in the Middle East, consists of marinated meats such as chicken or beef that are wrapped around flatbreads and served with colorful salads and tahini. Let’s take a culinary voyage to explore the layers of flavor and identify the subtle differences between Shawarma and Gyro.

What is a Shawarma?

a delicious serving of shawarma

As we have already mentioned above, shawarma is either lamb, turkey, or chicken meat that has been seasoned with spices such as cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom. It is a popular dish from Turkey and the Middle East. So, what is shawarma made from? Let’s take a look at the ingredients in further detail. It is one of the most popular dishes at a street food market for very good reasons. Meat – lamb, turkey, or chicken Seasoning – cinnamon, turmeric, and cardamom Fillings – hummus, tahini, salad, and pickles Bread – flatbread or pita.

What is a Gyro?

a few pieces of gyro

Even though shawarma and gyro may look similar to the eye, they are very different in taste. Gyro is again a popular street food dish which is made from marinated beef or lamb that is wrapped in a pita. The fact that they are placed into a handheld wrap, makes them ideal to carry around whilst snacking. The main differences between gyro and shawarma are seen in the ingredients list. For a closer look, you can tell from the list below. Meat – beef or lamb, Seasoning – oregano, thyme, and rosemary, Fillings – shredded lettuce, red onion, tomato, and tzatziki sauce, Bread – pita.


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  1. Lamb or beef gyros is available in Greece but not so Common as you think.
    Living in Greece,I can assure you, typical gyros is made with pork or chicken. Some offer lamb too but, beef is rarely, if ever seen and if, then almost exclusively as kebab variant.

  2. My thoughts exactly and I remember cumin was a regular ingredient and that you are offered tzatziki with it quite often.
    Also the flat bread is circular and folded around the filling and tastes much better than the typical pitta bread pocket that holds a doner kebab.

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Written by Brian Nagele

Brian attended West Virginia University, then started his career in the IT industry before following his passion for marketing and hospitality. He has over 20 years experience in the restaurant and bar industry.

As a former restaurant owner, he knows about running a food business and loves to eat and enjoy cocktails on a regular basis. He constantly travels to new cities tasting and reviewing the most popular spots.

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