In a city that prides itself on being one of the most multi-cultural in the world, it’s laughable to think that it’s difficult to find authentic Canadian foodstuffs in Toronto. From balut to yak milk, grape leaves to berebere spice, somewhere in the small ethnically-oriented neighbourhoods of our city, foreign food items can be found. Yet when it comes to classic Canadian dishes, it’s easier to book a flight to Halifax than it is to find an authentic version of an east coast favourite like the donair.
Those who are unfamiliar with the experience of stumbling drunkenly to the infamous “pizza corner” in the wee hours of a Halifax night to gorge on that city’s most beloved street food might not understand that a donair is not the same as a gyro. Same premise, yes, but many differences.
The meat is different (beef for donairs versus lamb for gyros); the donair sauce, made with evaporated milk, sugar, garlic powder and vinegar bears only visual resemblance to the traditional tzatziki-based gyro sauce, and I’ve seen people come to fisticuffs over the addition of toppings beyond the de rigeur diced raw onions and tomatoes.