One of the famous and well-known dishes in many countries is kebab. Kebabs consist of various types of meat, such as chicken, fish, beef, ostrich, etc., seasoned and grilled over an open flame. They are typically served with bread or rice. Kebabs are flavorful, delicious, and rich in taste. When prepared locally and traditionally, they have a dreamy flavor that tantalizes the taste buds. To familiarize yourself with the best kebabs in the world, we have compiled a list of the top kebabs in the world in the travel magazine “Nabtrip” so that you can savor and enjoy them during your travels.
Iskender Kebab is a popular dish in Bursa, named after Alexander Efendi, the butcher who first prepared this flavorful food. Iskender Kebab is one of the most delicious kebabs in the world, made by grilling thinly sliced lamb meat and combining it with tomato sauce and pita bread. Finally, melted butter and local yogurt are poured over it for serving. It is recommended to order this kebab with şerbet, a Turkish beverage that aids digestion.
Chelow Kebab (Iranian):
Chelow Kebab is one of the best in the world and is associated with Iran. It contains fragrant saffron rice, grilled tomatoes, and ground meat kebab. It is believed that the origin of this dish is in the Caucasus region, which was then introduced to Iranians. Chelow Kebab has a specific serving order: first, the rice and tomatoes are served, followed by the meat. Meanwhile, a piece of local butter is melting on the Iranian saffron rice, and the aroma of this dish will captivate your senses. Sumac and doogh (a yogurt-based drink) complement Chelow Kebab and enhance its delicious taste.
Chicken kebab, known as “Joojeh kebab” in Iran, is one of the simple yet essential dishes in Iranian cuisine. Joojeh kebab is among the most famous in the world and is prepared in two types: boneless chicken and chicken with bones. This kebab consists of marinated chicken pieces with saffron, yogurt, and onions, skewered and grilled. Finally, it is served with onions, flatbread (lavash), lime, or saffron rice.
Turkish Lamb Kebab (Cağ kebabı):
Cağ kebabı is a type of kebab from the city of Erzurum in Turkey. This kebab is made with lamb meat marinated in onions, salt, and pepper for about 12 hours. The heart is then placed on a large horizontal skewer and cooked over charcoal. The cook holds a long skewer and slices the tender and juicy pieces of lamb. This dish is one of the most delicious kebabs in the world, traditionally served directly from the skewer or wrapped in freshly baked lavash bread.
Mtsvadi is a traditional Georgian dish and one of the best kebabs in the world. This kebab, similar to shashlik, is made from ground lamb or veal meat marinated in a mixture of lemon juice, pomegranate juice, tarragon, salt, pepper, and finely chopped onions. The goal is to keep the meat tender and juicy during grilling. Mtsvadi is often prepared outdoors and cooked over an open flame. Enjoying this dish with a side of plum sauce, raw onion rings, diced tomatoes, and pomegranate seeds is recommended.
Gyros is one of Greece’s most famous street foods and one of the most famous kebabs worldwide. It is typically made with cooked chicken, lamb, or beef meat. The meat is thinly sliced and then placed inside pita bread with sauces such as tzatziki and vegetables like tomatoes, onions, lettuce, and cucumbers. The term “gyros” comes from the Greek word “gheereezo,” meaning “to turn,” referring to the vertical rotisserie on which the meat is cooked, constantly rotating. Some believe that gyros originated during Alexander the Great when his soldiers would skewer meat on their swords and cook it over a fire.
Souvlaki is one of the most delicious kebabs in Greece, made from small cubes of skewered and grilled chicken, lamb, or beef. It is a popular fast food dish often served in souvladzidika, small eateries specializing mostly in gyros and other similar grilled meat dishes. Souvlaki first appeared in ancient Greece, known as “kandaulos,” a combination of grilled meat, pita bread, cheese, and herbs.
Doner kebab is a delicious dish widely recognized among the best kebabs in the world. It consists of pieces of grilled meat that are sliced from a vertical rotisserie. The heart is typically seasoned with fresh herbs and flavorful spices. Initially, the heart used in doner kebab was exclusively lamb, but nowadays, in Istanbul, some variations combine lamb and beef or sometimes only beef. Placing meat vertically on a skewer is not new, as it has been mentioned in Ottoman travelogues from the 18th century. The sandwich-like form of döner kebab, which means “rotating kebab,” emerged in Berlin in the early 1970s.
Shawarma is one of the best kebabs in the world and a delicious meat dish from the Middle East. Its roots can be traced back to the Ottoman Empire, while its name comes from the Arabic pronunciation of the Turkish word “çevirme,” meaning “turning” or “rotating,” referring to the rotating spit on which the meat is cooked. Shawarma is made with marinated lamb, chicken, beef, or a mixture of different meats, slowly cooked for hours and dripping in its juices and fat, resulting in a unique flavor. However, the real secret to excellent shawarma lies in the seasoning of the meat.
Adana kebab is one of the most delicious in the world, named after one of the most famous kebab cities, Adana. This kebab is made with ground meat and fat, mixed with garlic, onions, paprika, and hot red pepper, giving it a dark red color and a spicy taste. The seasoned meat is placed around large metal skewers and then grilled. After cooking, the kebab meat is traditionally served on a plate with bread, accompanied by peppers and tomatoes, or wrapped in pita bread and a salad of parsley and red onions.
Shish kebab is one of the most famous kebabs in the world, consisting of pieces of meat skewered and grilled over an open flame. This dish originated from tribal nomads who marinated the meat to tenderize it and eliminate off-putting flavors. Seasoning the beef involves a combination of lemon juice, olive oil, milk, yogurt, cinnamon, bell pepper, and other spices. Authentic Turkish shish kebab is rarely prepared with vegetables on the same skewer, and many culinary critics have noted that grilling vegetables and meat on a single skewer is a modern invention by Turkish restaurants.
Tombik doner, or kobideh kebab, is a type of doner kebab where ground meat is stuffed into a bread pocket. This dish is typically served with additional ingredients based on the customer’s choice, such as tomatoes, onions, lettuce, other vegetables, and various sauces. It is considered one of the most tasty kebabs in the world.
Kabab-e Torsh (Sour Kebab):
This type of Iranian kebab is traditionally associated with the provinces of Gilan and Mazandaran. It is made with lean pieces of beef or lamb meat, marinated in a flavorful combination of pomegranate paste, walnuts, garlic, parsley, and olive oil. The heart is then skewered and grilled over an open flame, and it is served as one of the most delicious kebabs in the world, accompanied by vegetables and rice.
Çöp Şiş (Skewered Kebab):
Çöp şiş, which originated from the Aegean region of Turkey, is a type of modern Turkish kebab made with chunks of diced lamb meat and fat. The heart is traditionally seasoned with garlic and tomatoes and marinated with olive oil, oregano, and black pepper. It is then placed on wooden skewers and quickly grilled. Turkish kebabs are considered among the best in the world and are popular among tourists.
Kabab-e Barg (Leaf Kebab):
Kabab-e Barg is an Iranian kebab made from pieces of lamb or veal meat. It is typically prepared using fillet or leg cuts that are thinly sliced before being marinated and traditionally grilled over charcoal. This meat is usually served alongside rice and various grilled vegetables, but it can also be wrapped in lavash bread, creating one of the most delicious kebabs in the world.
Ali Nazik Kebab:
Ali Nazik is a type of Turkish kebab originating from Gaziantep. It is one of the most famous kebabs in the world and consists of grilled and mashed eggplants combined with a sauce made from yogurt and garlic. Pieces of lamb meat, marinated with onions, red pepper paste, tomatoes or tomato paste, and olive oil, are placed on top of the sauce, creating a flavorful and kebab-like dish. The eggplants need to have a smoky flavor, and the best way to achieve that is by grilling them over charcoal. Ali Nazik kebab is traditionally accompanied by rice or grilled vegetables when served.
Shish Tawook is a popular Middle Eastern kebab dish widely enjoyed in countries like Turkey, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. “Shish Tawook” translates to “skewered chicken” in Arabic. Marinating cubes primarily make the dish of chicken in a mixture of yogurt, lemon juice, garlic, olive oil, and a blend of spices such as paprika, cumin, and oregano. The marinated chicken is then skewered and grilled to perfection, resulting in tender and flavorful kebabs. Shish Tawook is often served with garlic sauce, grilled vegetables, and rice or flatbread.
Şeftali Kebab is a traditional Cypriot kebab that combines minced lamb and minced beef. The name “Şeftali” translates to “peach” in Turkish, which refers to the shape and appearance of the kebabs. The minced meat is seasoned with salt, pepper, and spices like cinnamon and shaped into small sausage-like pieces. These kebabs are then skewered and grilled until cooked through. The fat melts and caramelizes as they cook, giving the kebabs a juicy and flavorful taste. Şeftali kebab is typically served with flatbread, grilled vegetables, and a variety of mezes (appetizers) such as hummus, tzatziki, and tabbouleh.
Chapli Kebab is a unique and popular dish in Pashtun regions such as Afghanistan, Pakistan, and some parts of India. This kebab is made from a combination of minced beef and lamb. The unique taste and flavor of Chapli Kebab come from spices such as dried coriander, pomegranate seeds, green chilies, and mint. Its name is derived from the Pashto word “charity,” which means “flat,” referring to the flattened shape of the kebab.
Although it is often said that Chapli Kebab originated in Peshawar in Pakistan, it is now recognized as one of the most famous kebabs and a beloved dish throughout Pakistan, Afghanistan, and India. Traditionally, Chapli Kebab is served with yogurt sauce, salad, and bread.