Many learners have asked us about the difference between gyros and döner. They are almost the same thing, but doner's main ingredients are lamb, beef or chicken, while gyro's main ingredients are pork, beef or chicken.
Gyro formerly used in Greece and spelled ντονέρ [doˈner], but it was criticized for being Turkish and the word 'gyros' replaced it. Today, if you say ντονέρ in Greece or Cyprus, you mean gyro with lamb and not pork which is the basic ingredient of gyro.
As there is great similarity between those two dishes , we have accepted doner as synonyme of gyro(s) :)
I asked my father about γύρος. It is a very famous dish in Greece now, but it is not a traditional dish here. He told me that the word and the dish came from Turkey. Yes, gyros is called ντονέρ there, and this is the word that used first when it came here. It was so successful as a fast food that all the major cities in Greece were full of gyros sellers, almost every taverna has it etc. As others said before is made by pork meat here as souvlaki. Chicken is used lately, as less greasy lighter. Souvlaki and gyros became a part of the traditional Greek cuisine in the last middle of '60s, first years of 70s. There was a campaign on TV of the Greek dictatorship for pork meat that time.
The Greeks traditionally, depending on the region used to eat port during winter mostly, they needed greasy food and more calories when it was cold, with exceptions of course. It is not so widely spread though. Because the traditional meat food for the Greeks is lamb, sheep. Also, steak and keftes or similar made by beef. The refugees that came from Anatolia brought with them many dishes, that became a part of the local food. There are many vegetable food in Greece of course. Cooked with olive oil mostly in the coastal areas or butter in the mountainous ones. And pies, many pies! And fish of course, Greece is famous for it.
Generally speaking, there are similarities between the Turkish, Arabic or Persian food and the Greek one. But with less spice and greasy. Even all of them are delicious! Some Italian food came to the islands of Ionian sea first and from there to whole Greece. Also some Balkan food is common. Newly introduced food from Europe exists too, even Chinese, Japanese or similar.
The traditional dishes one can find in villages, not so much touristically developed. If he has time to search for.
@Stergi3 Thank you very much for the information you shared with us :)
I searched on Google, but I didn't find any information about when this change happened. From what I know (from a documentrary on TV) this change and a few more (e.g. the change of the term Turkish coffee) happened after the Istanbul pogrom in 1955.
Wikipedia states that In Greece, Turkish coffee was formerly referred to simply as τούρκικος 'Turkish'. But political tensions with Turkey in the 1960s led to the political euphemism ελληνικός καφές 'Greek coffee', which became even more popular after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974: "... Greek–Turkish relations at all levels became strained, τούρκικος καφές [Turkish coffee] became ελληνικός καφές [Greek coffee] by substitution of one Greek word for another while leaving the Arabic loan-word, for which there is no Greek equivalent, unchanged." The recipe remained unchanged.
I did know about Greek or Turkish coffee but I didn't know about the use of doner instead of gyros. I thought gyros has been used ever since its use spread throughout Greece. Many people don't know what a doner is but they do know the turkish coffee.
I call it "kebab". Is this word using in any English speaking countries too?
I second this. What I call fries was listed as πατάτες on every Greek menu I've seen on both Crete and the mainland. Come to think of it, I'm not sure I've ever ordered a dish that came with an actual potato.
As an English native "gyro" is not a word I associate with a lesson on food but an old form of government payment to benefit claimants. Am I missing something?
It's as English as "pizza" or "sushi" :)
Often "gyro". (And sometimes refers to what Greeks would call "souvlaki" instead, I think.)
You may well be right, I just haven't come across it anywhere. After a Wiki search It seems it differs from souvlaki in that the meat and veg are wrapped in a bread like roll and not on a stick.:)