Avengers Causes Increased Sales in Shawarma

Since you are not sick of hearing about Avengers related news, I thought I would throw another interesting tidbit out there. The film has already made $775m worldwide after less than 3 weeks (two in North America) of its theatrical run, but it’s also making money for someone else. Shawarma joints.

The Avengers is responsible for a sudden influx in Shawarma sales. Yup. That tasty Arabic seasoned meaty treat in a pita is getting a massive boost in popularity because of The Avengers.

So if you haven’t seen the film, I don’t want to spoil it for you, but at one point Tony Stark suggests that the team go get some Shawarmas. He admits he doesn’t know what it is, but there is a place a couple blocks away and he has always wanted to try it.

And now Google analytics is showing a skyrocket spike in search queries regarding Shawarma. It appears that like Tony Stark, many people have come to the realization that they see Shawarma places all over and actually don’t know what it is.

The Shawarma gag even gets addressed in one of the post credit stinger scenes.

I admit I was clueless as to what Shawarma was, but a friend introduced it to me about two years ago and its made its way into my regular diet since (along with Pad Thai and Pho). I could really see how someone might be completely oblivious to this delicious food!

Did you know what Shawarma was before being prompted to investigate by Tony Stark?

32 Responses to Avengers Causes Increased Sales in Shawarma

  1. I knew what it was, I just had no idea it was called that in America. It's gyros or kebab (or kebap) here.

      • Not sure what it means in Greece, but I'm pretty sure the guys where I buy it make a pretty mean chicken gyros in pita, as well as beef kebab in pita. As far as I can tell, the only difference is in the type of meat.

        Pretty good pizza, too, but that's neither here nor there.

        And I'm quite sure it looks exactly the same as the picture on Wikipedia in the Shawarma article.

        • Shawarma, as I understand it, has to do with how the meat is prepared. Shawarma is distinctly different (and Arabian) than its similar Greek product.

        • Hmm… as I mentioned, I have no experience with this type of food in Greece directly, but according to Wikipedia, "In Greece, shawarma is known as gyros. … In France, [it] can be bought [as] kebab. … In Germany, it is popular as Greek gyros (pork) …"

          Both shawarma and gyros seem to be prepared exactly the same way, with lots of meat on a spit grilled over (or in front of) a slow fire. But, Wikipedia might be wrong, I'm willing to admit that, but if shawarma refers to this form of food preparation, then my original point still stands – I have eaten it many times and it is known as gyros and kebab in my country.

    • Shawarma is steak seasoned in a specific manner and then grilled. Gyros is a lamb and beef mix that's cooked on a giant skewer, then sliced off and grilled a little before serving. Kebab is more like a meatball seasoned with similar flavors as shawarma that's shaped into flat, long pieces. They are all similar, but they aren't the same thing.
      Personally, I like shawarma the best, but it seems to be one of the rarest.

  2. This stuff has been for sale for ages here in the Netherlands (we call it shoarma). Litterally EVERYbody here eats that stuff like it's air. Nothing like eating a pita shoarma (preverably with some gouda cheese) after partying hard!

    So i get why they wanted to have some of this :p

  3. Yeah it's good that the Avengers have clued newbies into this tasty food, I'm still relatively new to middle eastern food but I love all that stuff. Shwarma, kebab, falafel, hummus, baba ganoush…… (forgive my atrocious spelling)

  4. It's hugely popular here in Ottawa, Canada. The question here isn't "Do you know what shawarma is?" or "Have you tried it?" it's "What's your favourite shawarma place?" (and wait for the argument to begin).

    • I'm in Hamilton – hugely popular here, too, with dozens of shawarma places to choose from!
      I wondered from the get-go if we'd see a significant Canadian voice in response, as I've noticed that most of my American friends aren't familiar with it, but it's almost as accessible here as pizza and Chinese food.

  5. I had never heard of it. When it was mentioned in the movie, I thought it was some form of yoga or a martial art, and that they were all going to go there and practice it.

  6. I've had it a few times. There's a place in The Village (NYC) that serves great Shawarma, a tiny little place, maybe seating for 8 they had lines like you can't believe before the movie came out. I can't imagine the increase! It's similar to a gyro but definitely different.

  7. Shawarma is pretty tasty, but it's generally messy. I don't eat it that often, but I never regret it when I do (mostly I have to be prepared to pick up little pieces of meat off my plate).

    Glad to see it's getting some recognition.

  8. The official street meat of Halifax is the Donair – Lebanese version of the Shwarma. I miss Chicken Gyros that I used to get at the Falafel King in Calgary, tho.
    I must admit, tho, I have never had Donair or Gyros sober….

    • Oh, yeah – there's a Halifax Donair in Burlington, Ontario, and a coworker of mine originally from Halifax thought it was amazing to find 'food from home' as he put it. Mmmm, might have to do that for lunch tomorrow.

  9. My Dad lived in Egypt for a year, so he was the one in the family who knew what it was. My Mom, sister, and I (plus a friend and my husband) were ignorant though. ;)

  10. After reading the wikipedia entries the difference between gyros and shawarma seems to be whether you put tatziki or tahini sauce on it,

  11. I first had shawarma back in high school (early 90s). It was still an exotic delicacy back then in the Philippines, but now it’s available in every corner shop or mall.

  12. if you guys are mixing up shwarma wwith kebab or donar in pitta bread as it is known in uk then no they are not at all the same thing and two tastes totally different.

  13. I love shawarma – when I still lived in the DC area, I would get it at Alexandria's Pita House all the time.

    Now that I'm living in the middle of the Upper Midwest? Can't be found anywhere. I was cursing Joss Whedon for throwing that into the script because it set up a craving I can't fill ;)

  14. Ive been raving about Shawarma for 2 years after visiting Israel. I ate it almost every day for a month and seriously miss it. I cant wait to go back in Jan and stuff my face with it again!!

  15. I lived in Bahrain for the better part of 3 years in the early 90's. My first apartment was half a block from "Shawarma alley". This was a 3 bock long street with about a dozen shawarma stands. The main fair was beef, lamb and chicken but they also had exotics like lamb brain ( I never had the nerve to try this one) and beef tongue. Back then you could get a shawarma for 100 fils (about 25 cents US). I've lived in the Seattle area since returning from the middle east and have yet to find a good shawarma place. We have all kinds of gyros and pitas done in the greek style, and while good, they are not the same. I miss good shawarma.

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