It was Turkish immigrants settling in Germany during the late 50s who were responsible for what would become the most popular street food in Deutschland. Know as Döner, a flatbread sandwich filled with meat and veggies, became so popular that Berlin now has more döner restaurants than Istanbul. In fact, Berlin is considered döner capital of the world!
Döner (or döner kebab as it is also referenced), is typically a sliced meat that has been grilled on a vertical rotisserie. The meat is sliced from the outer edges of the stack and combined with vegetables and a yogurt sauce inside a flatbread pouch. Traditionally the meat is mutton but modern döner has added chicken and turkey as the base for the sandwich.
PDX Dönerland has joined the food cart community in Portland with a menu that specializes in döner kebab. Dönerland’s chef Franziska hails from Karlsruhe, Germany (which is not far from Stuttgart). Franziska came to the Rose City after a twenty-year career as a chef working at some of the best restaurants and hotels in the world.
While working in San Francisco Franziska met her husband Ron. Together they decided to become part of the food cart nation here in Portland. Following the adage of ‘doing what you know’ Franziska and Ron created their food cart as extension of the popularity of döner in Germany.
PDX Dönerland offers two versions of the döner kebab sandwich. One is filled with chicken and turkey, tomatoes, red cabbage, onions, peperoncini, and either a yogurt-with-dill sauce or a red sauce. The other is a vegetarian version which substitutes felafel for the meat and can be topped with a lemon-tahini dressing.
The flatbread used for the döner is made from scratch right in the cart. In fact, you can purchase the flatbread by itself or, if you wish, you may also obtain the flatbread dough so you can bake fresh döner flatbread at home.
The menu also has four different salads. The döner salad has the same fresh ingredients as the sandwich and can be had in either the meat or vegetarian version. The other salads are a Mediterranean pasta salad, a shepherd’s salad, and a baby kale and spinach salad.
PDX Dönerland is makes its home at the Piedmont Station Food Carts pod which is located at 625 NE Killingsworth St two block east of MLK. The cart’s hours are 11:30 AM till 8 PM each day save for Monday. The cart is closed on Mondays. And they speak German.
Listen now as Steven Shomler and Ken Wilson talk with Franziska San Pedro about the popularity of döner kebab in Germany and how she and her husband have brought Germany’s most popular street food to Portland.