Food fights are no joke. Some might get hurt. Both tasty, both ordered, both containing meat, vegetables, and all that’s healthy, and both falling in the category of fast food, Souvlaki vs Gyro still differ in some aspects. Which are those, and who’s the winner in their flavor fight? While some enjoy Souvlaki without Pita, others cannot even think of trying that little change. Same with Gyro and Pita. Same with Souvlaki with chicken and potatoes, or without, or Gyro with tomatoes, but mandatory without Tzatziki. And so on. The possible combinations are endless if you think about it, so even if there was a perfect way to eat both of them, one that fit everybody’s taste at the same time, it would have probably appeared another one. And the cycle would have repeated itself.
With a long tradition in Greek cuisine, Souvlaki is one of the dishes with reputation. As it has been discovered by the Greek archaeologists, Souvlaki is a dish prepared since the 17th Century BC. According to the studies, the practice of lining up small pieces of meat, combined with vegetables, based on taste, on skewers, dates back to the Bronze Age. With a wide variety of possibilities in terms of serving Souvlaki, it’s unlikely for this dish to ever disappear. Many people serve Souvlaki with Pita, which basically, is a round flatbread baked from wheat flour. Many add Tzatziki along. The small pieces of meat used in Souvlaki are either pork, chicken, beef, or lamb. There is even vegan Souvlaki, and that makes many vegans grateful. Famous in Greek cuisine and widely encountered in other countries, Souvlaki is one of the tastiest choices in terms of fast-food. That’s probably why many people return to this dish after a lifetime of wandering through other foods. They say what’s meant to be, will always find its way to you.
Gyro is another beloved dish in Greek cuisine. Slices of meat, either chicken, lamb, pork, or beef, are seasoned and stacked around a skewer, along with vegetables and additional spices, such as paprika, garlic, honey, and other green herbs. But that’s a matter of taste.
Then, if you carve off the skewer to fill into a Pita, with tomatoes, onions, Tzatziki- you get a Pita Gyro. In Greece, Gyro is usually prepared with pork or chicken, while in other parts of the world, the Greek restaurants serve it with lamb, as well. Sometimes, the cone is prepared with minced meat instead of sliced.
Its name comes from the Greek word gyros, which means “ turn”, “circle”. The name refers to the meat itself, especially to the way it’s prepared in a rotisserie. Gyro was brought to Greece at the beginning of the 20th Century by Armenians and Greeks refugees escaping the Ottoman Empire. Within the Ottoman Empire, people used to spin the meat on a specially designed grill: known as Doner Kebab. The practice was, however, very old and common among the Ottomans.
Very popular in street food chains, Pita Gyro is usually wrapped up in paper or aluminum foil and eaten with hand. However, the use of a napkin is always welcome, you never know how that grilled chicken wants revenge.
- Ready? Fight!
The 2 dishes are encountered in all Greek restaurants in equal measure. Some people say they’re just the same, some point out the clear differences. Gyro is called Pita Gyro when it’s served in a pita with tomatoes, onions, and tzatziki, and called Souvlaki when the meat is rolled on a small spit and then grilled, or fried in the pan. The ingredients are the same, but the cooking technique differs. So, the score in Souvlaki vs Gyro fight is 0-0, or 1-1.
Now, what do people prefer? In terms of taste, it’s no way to find out rather than asking each of those seen to eat Souvlaki and Gyro. And it’s no point in classifying the food, after all. They’re both tasty, they’re both parts of the Greek cuisine, they’re both ordered by people, and they’re both worth trying.
In many foreign countries that try the Greek cuisine in their kitchen, the two dishes are recreated using the original recipes, and maybe slightly adjusted based on the chief’s choice. However, the Souvlaki vs. Gyro idea isn’t that prominent, although considered and discussed. But not as much, because most people, especially if they don’t know that the dishes are related, don’t pay attention to these details, but only to the food and how good life is when you eat something tasty. What’s important, after all, is that they’re everlasting in the Greek cuisine, and made their way throughout entire Europe to try and enjoy.
The story behind each of the dishes, however, is what really differentiates them. While Souvlaki is considered to be as old as the Greek Mythology, Gyro is way closer to the present.
With all said and done, it’s fair to conclude that generally, by analyzing facts about the dishes, there’s no winner. But individually, each decides- after trying both, multiple times, from more restaurants. Only then decide.
Opinions on Souvlaki vs Gyro differ as much as tastes do. If in this “fight” between Souvlaki vs Gyro had to be a winner, it would’ve been until now. But restaurants and street food chains never stopped including both dishes on the menu, and looking at the way people enjoy and buy both, it’s unlikely to stop soon.
Maybe the best part when it comes to food is the possibility to create new recipes by altering existing ones simply by adding a new ingredient or just a little more salt. Or, to create something entirely different by avoiding to use a key ingredient from the initial recipe. Or simply change the technique.
That is the beauty of food and cooking, the simple fact it differs so much, depending on so many details. How boring would it be to open a menu and always see just Souvlaki, or Gyro, without its disputed enemy nearby?
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