Thursday, February 5, 2009


The photo above is a beloved fast food location in Halifax, NS.

My husband and I came to Mississauga 4-1/2 years ago and began our donair history, geography and home economics education.

The GTA (Greater Toronto Area) is a melting pot of every culture so we assumed that there would be donair shops here and were surprised to find none.

At first, we were fooled when we saw that local shops had spits. We speculated that the name was regional and that we were actually getting the same product as in Halifax. Trust me, for anyone craving a donair there is nothing more disappointing than biting into a gyro with tsatsiki sauce. YUK. I'm sure that concoction is far healthier but that is not the prime concern of anyone who has set their sights on consuming a donair.

Here are our findings of what a donair IS NOT. Don't be fooled by any placations from fast food staff. You can take this to the bank...these are NOT donairs: gyro, doners, donners, shwarma, Döner, or kebabs.

Our cravings have been completely satisfied only once during the time we have lived here. A very thoughtful friend once brought one up from Halifax when he came here on business. Jonathan's fellow travelers on Air Canada were not amused to be assaulted for two hours with the strong odour emanating from his King of Donair cargo.

We've discovered that donair was a regional dish and that King of Donair in Halifax was the first to introduce donairs to Canada in 1973. The recipe was conceived in a small tavern in Greece and brought to Halifax, NS.

Those separated from the herd can find solace in the following recipe. It's not King of Donair worthy but it will get you by when there is nothing else in sight.

Donairs – the Halifax, Nova Scotia version

King of Donair was the first to introduce donairs to Canada in 1973. The recipe was conceived in a small tavern in Greece and brought to Halifax, NS.

Preheat oven: 450ºF

Put in a plastic bag and shake to mix together:
- 2 TBSP oregano
- 1 TBSP salt
- 1 TBSP cayenne pepper
- 1 TBSP black pepper
- 2 TBSP powdered chicken OXO
- 2 TBSP garlic powder
- 2 TBSP onion powder
- 4 TBSP paprika

- 2 LBS medium, ground beef
- 2 LBS medium, ground pork
Knead the spices into the meat like you would for making bread. The meat is mixed enough when there are fat deposits on the sides of your bowl.

Bake at 450ºF for 45 minutes.
- The inside is still rare so it isn't dried out when you refry the slices.
- Don’t drain off the fat. You will need it for frying later.
- Cover with foil and let it rest so the juices will stay in the meat.

Make ahead and let cool before using.
Mix and then microwave for 1 minute. This will thicken the sauce.
- 1 cup evaporated milk
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup vinegar

- Diced tomatoes
- Diced onions

- Slice the meat very thinly.
- Fry your slices in the donair fat.

After the meat slices are fried:
- Dip a pita bread slice into warm water.
- Then fry in the donair fat.

- Pita
- Meat
- Garnish
- Sauce

1 comment:

  1. So true!! I got a "Donair" from Windsor, Ontario, but what I got was sliced red onion and tomatoes instead of chunks, and a vinegary sauce with lamb meat. It was a traumatic moment!!


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