Wednesday, February 17, 2010

A Pretty Little Ditty for the Best Kebab I've Ever Had.

The International Terminal at Sydney Airport has a pretty scary little line up of Customs dudes, which is pretty much the only reason I didn't try to sneak one of these Sahara Kebabs into my hand luggage on a recent trip to NZ with Dan. Although its taste certainly justifies the risk. This phenomenal kebab is a bit of a pre-international flight ritual. Years ago, Dad and I were hungry and seeing someone off somewhere. Being Good Little Lebs, we turned our hooked noses at all of the other dirty little food court offerings and went straight over to Sahara, a shimmering mirage in a dessert of greasy blandness. It was here that something whimsical happened: For the first time in years, we got seriously, and officially Kebabed. Daddy-O and I both haven't had good kebabs since this little place we used to go to in Burwood closed some time in the late eighties, so we always order one only ever hoping to approximate the general impression of kebably goodness, but never expecting actual satisfaction.

Enter: Satisfaction, Stage Left.

Ya Habibi! Mouth Joy in Major! Fresh, salady, hommous-garlicked insides with spiked sumac onion and rich, lebanese crazy chili sauce, flickers of deep grilled chicken/lamb/beef all in perfectly crispy bread - and No excess grease! Most kebabs are too oily to be enjoyable, but this is a bang on balance of dryness to creaminess to oiliness to breadiness. God. The sharpness of the salad doesn't win out over the heaviness of the meat, it just sways with it. So good. If Kebabs are about proportion (and they are), then this is a bit of a Sophia Loren. Perfect. It hurts to remember it. Going overseas is now immediately associated with a Sahara drop in. When Dan and I booked the tickets, I actually said in my head: oooh, kebab time. But there is a problem with choosing this as a subject.

You know, kebabs are a little bit like tarty blondes, they don't have a respectable place in society, but everyone loves them. What gives? This gross travesty of culinary snob-foolery must be remedied at once! And it is in the spirit of correcting this spurious injustice, that I dedicate, most humbly, this: Ode To Kebab.

Greasy, and dirty, and the object of scorn
But late at night, and in the rising morn
They scoff me down, when all else is closed
But in the daylight hours, they turn their nose
But what could be more delicious, than I?
I can make them grunt, I can make them sigh
Upon freshly baked bread, I take my base
And with so much filling, to garnish your face
Garlic so dreamy, but of such willing spike
Saucy Chili throughout, Oh what's not to like?
The Hommous, so creamy, It's Lebanese Mayo
The delight in your memory, so long it will Stay-O
If authentic you be, you'll skip on the cheese
Cause if it's got that in it, then it's aint Lebanese
The trick, if you're wise, is to fashion a ballad
Of Tomato and Lettuce, of Onion and Salad
Fill me up, with so much of this
And when you bite into me, it will feel like a kiss
The bite of the freshness, is what the heaviness yearns
It is upon this question, that a great kebab turns
On ample salad and sauce, your meat shall dance
And you'll have a much better time, at fitting your pants
The rich, wondrous meat, can then sing its song
Even if you're hungover as hell, or have emerged from a bong
And when they toast me, have them toast me well
Have them toast me and toast me, as though I'm hell
I need the burn from some toasting, to give me some crunch
Floppy bread with soggy insides, is not much of a munch
Food should have spunk, food should have soul
Food should leave you feeling blissfully whole
Respect me, please, I am ever so worthy!
- Even if I make you just, a tad bit curvy
Protein, Good fats and Low G.I carbo
For everyone from Pete, to Greta Garbo
Relish me, Treasure me, Gobble me now
I'm perfect, I'm exotic, I may contain cow!
Shame on you all, for making a guilty pleasure of me
I dance over maccas, I beat out oporto, I kill KFC!
If you ponder me long, if you ponder me true
You'll see I'm all it takes, to truly please you
Look deep in your bellies, and find time for Kebabs
I'm real, unlike a whopper, I'm not made in labs
And those of you, who prefer your food from a Hat
You really need to get over that
Poached Fish with Saffron? Truffle with Duck?
Oh, you really are a snobby F___

I am organising a night out to the terminal just for some kebabing, no tickets or passports required. If you're heading off somewhere, trust me! TRY this. I was standing in line waiting for one and didn't want to be silly by gushing to the guy I was ordering off, but once i'd placed my order this old lady leaned in and said 'that was delicious'. Can you imagine how good a kebab has to be in a food court to get someone to go back and comment? Pretty bloody good is the answer to that, for you dull Dora's.

Sahara is somewhere in the International Terminal of Sydney Airport, just beyond the check in gates and before you get to customs, it's sort of opposite a news agent. The next time you are flying, lower your tray tables and lift off into one of these, the chicken is the one I usually get, but the lamb is delicious as well. The owners are lovely people, too.

Consuming a Sahara Kebab before you fly is a wise life strategy, because if the plane goes down, you at least know you went out happy. What more can we take from this life but the memory of a few, solid meals? x.


bowb said...

dang! now i want a kebab. i'm flying overseas in april, but i had originally planned to try out the new danks street depot outpost. what to do, what to do...

amanda said...

okay! ive got it! you get there REALLY early, have brekkie, walk around for ages, have a kebab? else, have a kebab and a coffee and something sweet from depot. you have to have a kebab and tell me about!

Fouad @ The Food Blog said...


Hilarious! But here is what I think:

Your verse describes kebabs so very well

A true poet of food as all can tell

Your words inspire and make your readers perspire

And those not moved can go to hell

But if I am to make just one remark

Your rhyme though light as a flying lark

Needs fixing for the sake of karma

It’s not called kebab, it’s a fu**ing shawarma

amanda said...

SydneyCider, you're a troublesome lad,
your comments, the smart assiest, i have ever had
what should i do, in the face of this cheek?
should i beat you out, or should i be meek?
I can't have someone, outshining me
especially when they plan to steal olives, from their neighbour's tree,
or maybe i should thank you, for saving my karma
and not turn this into, a stroppy drama
but act cool here, and keep my head
and hatch a better plan, instead
when no one is looking, when no one can see
i'll push you out of, an olive tree.
it will be a noble death, that you shouldn't fear-o
for they'll turn you into, a Lebanese hero!

oh, fouad! touche. there's nothing like being told in rhyme. thankyou x

Fouad @ The Food Blog said...

heheheh. great come back. I've considered leaving it there, but this is way too much fun. not often do I get a chance to argue in rhyme! So, based on Shakespeare's sonnet 18:

Shall I respond to thee in thine same way?
Or am I more lovely and more temperate?
Built up agression, anger and dismay
Could make your reply sound so desperate

Sometime remaining silent may be a crime
That judging by your prose, you'll never commit
Foul murder instead you choose this time
This Maronite saint you deem as fit

But thy eternal plan shall surely fail
You'll lose possession of the hatred thou owest
You publically brag you'll end my tale
But meeting me will make thee modest

So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see
You'll never see me fall off an olive tree

amanda said...

given that i've not much under my bonnet,
I had to go and google your sonnet,
I seem to have read it, once upon a time
long before people knew, of kaffir lime
Willy had the erudition, of combined quintuplets,
but nevertheless, i shall stick to my couplets
I will twist them and turn them, i'll sling them at thee
to recall to you, your fate, in that olive tree
that hallowed bud, of the golden oil
to your poetic hubris, shall be a foil
like leaves that descend in an autumn quiver,
your bones, to the ground, I shall deliver
you'll like there, broken, upon your words
as bitter as milk when once it curds,
your spirit will rage, devoid of pen
and you will never, ever, provoke me again!
you'll be held from the world, and all of its treasure,
and I will eat all, that once gave you pleasure
my belly and I, glowing with rancour
and in my poetic pretensions, always a wanker
let it be said, that i have been heard
and to my own dear self, belongs the last word!

heh. let's go, give me your best back!

Fouad @ The Food Blog said...

If couplets are thy weapons of choice
Think thee not yee can rejoice
For couplets and I are friends of old
And as they say, what's old is gold
Let me begin by granting a compliment
Your poetry stinks of excrement
Your similies a daggy circus tent
Your meter a boring corporate event
Your images instill with discontent
Your vocabulary in need of supplement
Your rhyme just gives it ten percent
Your persona in need of reinvent
Your heavy metaphors builder's cement
But still you go to this extent
You must be courageous to pick on me
And dare to make me your enemy
You say you wish to break my bones
You'll need to recruit the Attack of the Clones
You say I'll be broken upon my words
You're already cut up in thirds
You say you will be glowing in rancour
It's the side effects of treatment of cancer
Have the last word, it ain't a trap
I'm so bored with this, I'm taking a nap

amanda said...

sleep is the repository of those weary from battle. ill give you the night off and get you tomorrow, cider!

somewhere else said...

Ohhh I'm flying out next Friday, can't wait to wrap my hands around one of these.

Gianna said...

yum yum yum!
i came across your blog and saw a post with "kebab" on it - be still my heart!

There is something about long flights that just make you crave greasy food, have you tried the kebabs at sahara in burwood? I wonder if its the same owner - its by far my favorite late night drive by snack and arent at all seedy.

Im spending the rest of my afternoon at work enjoying your awesome blog!

Anonymous said...

I got a link to this post through Fouad's (aka Sydney Cider)last blog entry.
I never thought I'd see "zajal" in English... You both carry on the tradition of challenge well. Was hilarious to read and really creative to write a poetic ode to kabab/shawerma.

amanda said...

viviane! i had to look that word up and once i did i was quite flattered. you should join us sometime, maybe side with me and we can out rhyme foo together?

Anonymous said...

Sure why not? I have written poems before but none of them was about food. Never too late to start :D

Tenina said...

The comments alone are worth a squiz, let alone blog...your writings' a whiz!