Donair Dude

by KimHo on July 6, 2010 · 8 comments under: British Columbia,Food,Restaurant

Donair Dude
1172 Davie Street
Vancouver, BC
Donair Dude on Urbanspoon

Last week, I wrote this tweet:

Just noticed/realized something: There are a lot of shawarma shops open/opening soon in the West End! Boom of Middle Eastern food?

Years ago, when I was living in the West End, I remember only a handful of such Middle Eastern eateries. There was Falafel King (with a second location in Davie) and Mediterranean Grill. Now, there are a couple of Babylon Cafe locations, Donair King, Sammy’s Hot Wing (which, could fall into the category of being there a long time as well), etc. etc. So, when FOODgrl wrote about yet-another such shops – Donair Dude – I was wondering… Was there anything that would make them stand out from the rest? Yes there was…

Donair Dude, Vancouver, West End, shawarma, halifax, wrap

I have sort-of a person confession. Several years ago, due to business, I went to Halifax and Sydney/Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. While I was fighting the dreaded jet lag (which I am not that good about, plus it sucks NS is 4 hours ahead of us), I didn’t really wandered around the hotel area. I ended up going mostly to the hotel restaurant, as well as well known chains (*cough*The Keg*cough*). Of course, it didn’t help the fact I was with my boss and co-workers who are more meat-and-potatoes type. While there were a couple of instances I could have slipped those meals and have them by myself, I didn’t. What sort of hurts me in a personal way is that I didn’t go King of Donairs, as there was one somewhat nearby the hotel. Why this particular place? Because, story goes, it was the place that invented the Halifax donair. And why I bring this up? Because Donair Dude mentions they make Halifax donair…

Donair Dude, Vancouver, West End, shawarma, halifax, wrap

Guess what? Yup, I ordered one of those! Wait, notice something… Interesting? Yup, that was the one point that FOODgrl made mention in her post: these donair are grilled! But, wait, this isn’t the first instance I have seen grilled donairs – Donair King, a couple of blocks away from Donair Dude, grills them as well. Battle of the grilled donairs? It sounds good to me!

Donair Dude, Vancouver, West End, shawarma, halifax, wrap, sliced, beef, ground, mystery

Since I mentioned Halifax donair, I ordered them of course. Unlike the shawarma type wraps we see quite often in similar Middle Eastern shops, where the meat is usually chicken, here, the Halifax donair is a donair kebab. When I was there, there was some meat (in the meantime, let’s call it “mystery meat”. While I am sure it can be regular meat, calling it “mystery meat” has some charm of its own) spinning in a spit; however, when this one was prepared, they were using pre-sliced. Some of the charred goodness gone but, still, quite good… Add some feta cheese (additional $1), wrap, grill and you are good to go.

Wait… Isn’t this the same then as a gyro? Well, I have had my share of gyro as well (mind you, in Panama, out of all places!) but, aside from the fact that it does not have tzatziki, what makes it a “Halifax donair” is the sweet sauce. Some of you might be saying “that’s it?!”. Well, I must say that the combination of pungent feta cheese, some crispiness of the veggies, savouriness of the meat and that sweetness of the sauce combined in a mysterious way, which resulted in a really tasty experience. Now, I won’t say it was due to the grilling – it helped but I wished it was crispier; but, alas, I simply can’t explain what it is. Let’s just say that, if you have had your big share of shawarma wraps, the Halifax donair is a really interesting twist.

Donair Dude, Vancouver, West End, shawarma, halifax, chicken

What? You thought one and that was it??? I also ordered their chicken version! It just happen that, for $10, you can get two of these small wraps plus a pop (single donair/wrap goes ~$5 each for the regular size). So, for comparison sake, I got the chicken version, which, you guessed it, is similar to the shawarma you can find in other Middle Eastern places. Of course, there ought to be a main difference and, in this case, it is the “salad”. Here, as mentioned above, it is a crispy salad of sorts. It worked quite well if you are looking for something “refreshing”. So, if I compare this to other wraps, it would be at par, for the most part.

Overall, I must admit it was quite a good experience (however, I won’t endorse – and most likely dispute – their “Best in BC”). Now, I wasn’t a glutton and finished the second wrap. At most, I ended up having a third of it. While I wish it was closer to my workplace, at least it makes the walk worth it. And, given their decent price, I can see myself coming back. The question now is… What will that Greek themed restaurant across the street (final touches being worked on, as of the day this post goes live) offer that can out do Donair Dude? Yeah, I know, donair, gyro and shawarma are different things but, at the same time, they are so similar that, for an outsider like me, it is almost the same. And, did I mention a lot of shawarma shops??? :)

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

1 trisha July 6, 2010 at 1:18 pm

i like falafel donairs but i have a hard time entering these places because the spinning meat scares me. :P if i go with a friend i hand them money and wait outside!

2 Sherman July 6, 2010 at 2:13 pm

Interesting. Will give it a try. I often make fun of the names for Japanese sushi joints like Sushi Man, Sushi Boy, Sushi Bang etc… Now, it’s happening with donairs.. Donair Dude.. lol…

3 KimHo July 6, 2010 at 2:31 pm

Trisha, hmmmmm…. Can I ask why??? :)

Sherman, funny you didn’t mention Vietnamese: “What the Pho?”, “Got Pho?”

4 Richard Hartman July 6, 2010 at 6:25 pm


I’m a long time reader but first time to comment. I am jusst having a hard time reading your website now that the letters are so small. It was so much better befor with the bigger letters. I just hope you will change it back to what it was before. Thank you.

5 KimHo July 6, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Richard, welcome and thanks for your feedback! I have just made changes to the font size and, hopefully, it looks better now. If it is still to small, please, PLEASE, let me know! :)

6 Jason July 6, 2010 at 11:38 pm

Thanks for referencing what a great blog!

7 trisha July 8, 2010 at 3:08 am

kim, i’m not sure… perhaps anything in large amounts is scary? just the size of that slab of meat spinning around gives me the creeps… :P

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