Street Food: The Tortilla

A few days ago, my roommate came home with a very tasty-smelling sandwich. (Due to our lack of usable kitchen in the dorm here, I have taken to getting very excited every time I see or smell hot food.) Said sandwich turned out to be what is referred to here as a “kebab”, but in the US would either “shawarma” or a “gyro” (but with chicken in stead of lamb). Conveniently, the sandwich had been purchased at a shop about a 5-10 minute walk away from our dorm – a shop that is open 24 hours! I resolved to try it.

I obviously intended to get this “kebab” sandwich, but I arrived at the shop (I don’t know its name and didn’t see one listed), I noticed that there was an item on the menu called “tortilla”, for 10 zloty. It seemed to be a variation on the kebabwich, on a flatbread with more salad-type items. So I got that instead. And I think I might just be addicted now (reviving my similar Chickpea shawafel platter addiction of 2006, before it went rapidly downhill).

First off, when you order the tortilla, do not pronounce it like you would in the US. Everyone knows that it’s “tort-EE-yah”. Well, not here. Here it’s most definitely “tor-TILL-ah”. If you pronounce it like you know Spanish, the person behind the counter will look at you strangely and say “tor-TILL-ah?” really slowly at you. The tortilla contains a mixture of sauces (white, red, and something in-between), and you can pick and choose which you want. I have no idea what is in these sauces, but the red one is the spiciest and looked something like srichacha. Then they throw in some salad items – green cabbage, red cabbage, corn (which is very popular here – odd, in my opinion), cucumbers, pickled cucumber, some sort of marinated peppers, perhaps some olives, a tomato slice or two, onions… it’s kind of a random mix. And the proportions vary depending on who’s doing the preparation. Finally, they throw on some slices of the shawarma and grill the whole thing like it’s a burrito. Then you are left to enjoy your tasty goodness.

One thing to note: this flatbread is most definitely Mexican tortilla-like. I was expecting something more along the lines of lavash, since the sign said “original Turkish bread” or something like that. It is also messy to be in its presence. I inadvertently dribbled red sauce all over myself while transporting it back home.

Kebab Shop
ul. Juliuza Lea between Nowowiejska and Urzednicza
Open 24 hours
All menu items under 15 zloty

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