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Halifax celebrates the city's favourite food on National Donair Day

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Connoisseurs say there’s no right way to eat a donair, you just eat it, but, it has to be with your hands.

“You roll it up and you take bites and you pick it out. You don’t use a fork, forks are for fries, not for donairs,” says Dave Davies.

Dave Davies eating a donair. (Jonathan MacInnis/CTV Atlantic)

Friday was National Donair Day, and Davies was one of the many customers stopping by the King of Donair to take on the classic Halifax creation.

“We like to say the donair is the cousin of the gyro and the kebab and every other donair variation there is, but in 1973 a Greek immigrant came to Halifax and invented it here,” says the shops owner, Nicholas Nahas.

Originally made with Lamb and tzatziki, it didn’t appeal to Haligonians’ taste buds, so the founder Peter Gamoulakas went to work on a new recipe.

“He changed the meat to beef and the tzatziki to what we know as our donair sauce,” Nahas says.

It was an instant hit. In 2015 it became the official food of Halifax.

Chunks of donair are seen in Halifax on December 8, 2023. (CTV/Jonathan MacInnis)

“I love donairs,” says Mike Robertson.

“I get them once a month or so. I could probably eat them more than that but I try to limit it once or twice a month,” adds Tanya Clarkson.

Many associate the donair with Halifax’s late night, post-bar snack, but the food has evolved.

“Breakfast, supper, dinner, the late night, anytime is a good time for a donair,” says Davies.

As for what makes a good one, some say it’s the meat, for others it’s the sauce. One thing is unanimous, no lettuce, that’s a western Canadian thing.

For more Nova Scotia news visit our dedicated provincial page.

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