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As you might expect from the name, Zankou Chicken is known primarily for its chicken and the delicious garlic sauce that goes with it. What you might not expect is that ZAnkou Chicken has an extensive offering of vegan friendly options that are sure to leave any vegan full and happy.
When Zankou was founded in Beirut, it was just known as “Zankou” and the falafel was one of the earliest additions to the menu. People couldn’t get enough of the garlic sauce, and falafel was an excellent way to enjoy even more of it.
Recently, the falafel recipe changed to make it truly something special. The family searched for the proper blend of local spices. It also orders its garbanzo beans fresh from local farms, which it was doing already for the hummus (which is also vegan friendly). Each ball is fried to perfection and served by itself as part of a plate, or in a warm pita as part of a sandwich. The crunch is simply amazing, and the garlic paste to top it off is a surefire winner.
For side dishes, vegans have more options than meat eaters! In the middle east, vegan-friendly side dishes are basically second nature. Tabbouleh is made of fresh parsley, sourced locally, with bulgar, fresh tomatoes, onions and mint. It’s tossed in olive oil and lemon juice for flavor.
If you’re feeling adventurous, then you’ll want to try muttabal. It’s a dish not unlike baba ghanoush. It starts with eggplant that has been grilled perfectly, then tahini and locally purchased garlic are added to the mix to create a thick paste. It’s earthy, garlicy and flavorful.
When you first arrive at Zankou, it can be a refreshing experience with a touch of the overwhelming. How does one choose a plate among all of that delicious food? From the moment you enter the restaurant, the smells rush you from all directions. The meat is rich and flavorful, the pita freshly baked.
Grab an extra side of garlic sauce and read on. Our advice just might help you make that crucial choice between chicken or shawarma.
Zankou uses a special technique to vertically roast chickens over open heat. The process allows the chickens to cook over an hour, dripping juices onto the roasts below. It’s no big secret, but the result is perfectly crispy skin and juicy meat.
The rotisserie is very different from the chicken tarna, which is a Zankou Chicken trademark. Tarna, which means “turn” in Armenian, is sliced just like shawarma. It’s cooked on a vertical roaster, and even uses some of the same spices. It’s almost like a chicken shawarma, but only by inspiration. The taste is unlike shawarma, and made even better with a hint of garlic sauce.
Since the 1800s, the Egyptians have been preparing this vertically roasted dish. It’s somewhat of a calling card for Middle Eastern food (some food bloggers even make a game out of finding the best shawarma their city has to offer).
Zankou’s shawarma is prepared with their own blend of Mediterranean spices and caramelized over several hours. It’s tender with crispy edges, hand sliced and placed over a warm pita. If you’re not hungry yet, you will be when you see the plate.