Kebab | Şiş, Cağ & Döner Kebabı

Kebab may be the most recognized dish from Turkish cuisine. In Turkey, the word kebab is associated with any dish that is grilled on a skewer or roasted on rotisserie. Varieties include shish kebab (şiş kebabı), horizontally roasted kebab (cağ kebabı) and vertically roasted kebab (döner kebabı).

Shish kebab is a dish traditionally consisting of small cubes of meat threaded on a skewer and grilled. Şiş is a Turkish word meaning “sword” or “skewer.” It is said that term for this cooking method was created when Turkic soldiers invaded Anatolia. As they pushed west from their homelands in Central Asia, the soldiers used their swords to grill meat over fire.

The first rotisserie kebabs are believed to have originated from the Erzurum Province in the Eastern Anatolian Region of Turkey. The kebabs from this region (cağ kebabı) were made with meat cooked on a horizontal skewer. Cağ kebabs are mentioned in Ottoman travel logs dating back to the 18th century.

The vertical method of cooking kebabs (döner kebabı) was created in the late 19th century by a butcher from the city of Bursa. Until Iskender Efendi’s (1848-1934) creation, kebabs were cooked on horizontal skewers. Translated literally, döner means rotary. Today, döner is most common method for preparing kebabs. A variation of döner, called Iskender Kebab, features fine slices of döner topped with yoghurt, tomato sauce and melted butter.



Traditionally, the meat used to make Turkish kebabs is lamb. However, fish, chicken and vegetable varieties are also available. Unlike cağ kebabı and döner kebabı, the meat used in şiş kebabs is typically marinated prior to cooking. Basic marinades include olive oil, lemon juice and a variety of spices.


Quick Guide


Kebab can be found in every region of Turkey. The Marmara Region is famous for Iskender Kebab.


Kebab is available all year.



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