Shahdad swore that the bestest Shawarma in Vancouver is found in Burnaby’s Abdul BBQ, He brought us to try it out and it was simply fabulous. So, over the weekend, I simply had to bring Suanne and try it herself.
Abdul’s BBQ is located in the Crystal Mall on Kingsway and Willingdon. It’s a small shop located facing Kingsway. You will not miss it driving past the Mall on Kingsway.
Abdul’s is a small shop with about seating for 12 on the inside. Abdul also set up a couple of tables outside his shop. Ordering is very simple because he had very big pictures posters of his menu plastered on the outside.
Shawarma (sometimes also spelt as shawerma) is a middle eastern way of cooking meat. Common meat used are beef, lamb and chicken. The meats are cooked on a rotating machine with sources of heat over a period of several hours.
Abdul has three shawarma machines, each skewered with beef, chicken and lamb. He said that he normally will finish selling all these food by the end of day. His business had steadily grown since he opened his outlet in the Crystal Mall. He told me that when he started he had only a quarter of what you see above and today he often had to turn away customers at the end of day because his is completely sold out.
The meat that is slowly cooked is then shaved off with a large knife and drops to a circular tray below to be retrieve. Abdul was kind enough to show me close-up the shaving of the meat. It was simply juicy and mouth-watering. I had to swallow my saliva twice while taking these pictures!
Abdul is a very friendly and chatty owner of the shop. He told me that he’s Syrian and had been doing this for 16 years now. Abdul told me he uses nothing but the best quality meat for his shawarma. For beef, he uses only top round beef and for lamb, he uses only lamb shoulder.
Suanne and I were not particularly hungry and decided to order his Mixed Shawarma Platter. The Mixed Shawarma Platter was huge that it was enough to give both of us a good full meal. It consists of the three types of shawarma meat served with rice and pita. It also came with four sides. I felt that it’s pretty pricey as it costs $10 — but then I can accept that because Abdul did really use the best of ingredients and the food was great.
Here is a description of what the Mixed Shawarma Platter we ordered:
The shawarma meat was well done and is served on top of the rice. It was a bit dry for us — we like our meat to be moist-er. Not complaining here … perhaps shawarma meat are like that. However, the taste of the meat were distinct and is awesome eaten with the rice.
Abdul cooks his rice with butter and salt. They were aromatic and loose. It was so good that we can even eat the rice by itself only.
This is our favourite part — the pita spread with what Abdul said is his secret sauce spread. We could order it spicy or mild — we chose spicy hot and it was really, really HOT. It’s not so hot that it burns but it’s … never mind, it’s hard to describe here.
The spread was what made Abdul’s pita so different from those I have tasted before. Abdul said he uses a garlic sauce made out of seven different types of spices. Abdul sears it slightly on the Shawarma machine before serving. It was really that good — you MUST try it.
Here are the first two of the four sides. The main side is a salad of tomato, cucumber, lettuce. The other pinkish looking sides is a cabbage salad. The cabbage salad is dressed either in yogurt or sour cream — we’re not sure. Both of these are a bit sour.
There is a hummus dip and Italian parsley salad.
This is a must-go-and-try place and is one of those great lesser known hole-in-the-walls. BTW, the address is 1691-4500 Kingsway, Burnaby and he’s opened seven days a week.