Taipei Souvlaki 我愛希臘捲餅
I Recommend ☆☆☆☆
Taipei eatery offering: Mediterranean Food / Souvlaki / Gyro / Pita / Tzatziki Sauce / Souvlaki Platter / Kebabs / Vegetarian Mushroom Souvlaki / Popcorn Chicken / Fries / Fish & Chips / Lemon Juice
No. 344, Yongji Rd., Xinyi Dist., Taipei City 110
Hours: Tue - Sat: 11:30am - 9pm, Closed Sundays & Mondays
Last Reviewed: 25 May 2018 (but location and hours updated in May of 2021)
Taipei Souvlaki 我愛希臘捲餅 is now at its 3rd location. I haven't visited the 3rd location, but I updated the address and hours on this review. I later found out that the owner, Sam, first had a cafe in Luchou before he moved to his current location. Taipei Souvlaki is the only place that I know that makes anything remotely close to a gyro in Taipei. I thought that it was one of those items I wouldn't be able to eat again whilst living in Taipei, but fortunately not. Sam's homemade pita, which he rolls out and cooks after your order, is authentic. His homemade tzatziki sauce is pretty yummy. Tzatziki is a sauce made from cucumbers, Greek yogurt, garlic, lemon juice, dill, salt, and black pepper. Personally, I'd like more garlic, salt, and dill to be added--or included--in his tzatziki, but most Taiwanese probably wouldn't want the sauce to be too flavorful/strong (or as Westerners would say: tasty). However, he does label the sauce yogurt sauce instead of tzatziki, which is actually a better description for the sauce and its taste.
The sign for Taipei Souvlaki 我愛希臘捲餅 that says souvlaki pita conveys the main item he sells. "Isn't it a gyro?" you may be asking. Technically not, but basically, yes. How do you even pronounce gyro? Sam cooks it like a souvlaki, but prepares it like a gyro. What's the difference between a gyro and souvlaki? Gyros are composed of strips of meat (traditionally pork, but nowadays also chicken, lamb, beef, etc.) from a vertical rotisserie, red onions, tomatoes, tzatziki sauce, and sometimes a few fries, served in a pita. So by looking at the photos of Taipei Souvlaki's food without seeing how it was prepared, it looks identical to a gyro, except a little more fries than meat. Souvlaki is more of a fast-food item that's cooked and eaten differently than a gyro. Souvlaki derives from meat that's chopped into one inch cubes and then marinated in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice with oregano, thyme and other Greek spices through the night. Next morning the meat cubes are put on little wooden skewers and brawled on charcoal or even cooked on a grill. It's eaten straight off the stick and is usually seasoned well. It can be served with pita bread, fries, and dips, but the souvlaki itself is eaten on its own, with the side dishes eaten subsequently. Taipei Souvlaki 我愛希臘捲餅 puts their souvlaki all together in a pita like a gyro, so it's basically a gyro cooked like souvlaki. Taipei Souvlaki also has a traditional souvlaki platter where the items are not put together in a pita, the traditional way.
You can also order kebabs by themselves, popcorn chicken (deep-fried chicken with tzatziki sauce), fries with yogurt sauce, fish and chips with tzatziki sauce, and lime juice. I don't recommend the fish and chips because the strips of fish were thin and tasted mostly of the deep-fried breading instead of fish. The popcorn chicken was yummy. For gyros, kebabs, and souvlaki plates, I recommend choosing pork or chicken, as the lamb and beef were too gristly, especially the lamb. I was bummed out about the lamb because it's the meat I typically eat in a gyro, but their chicken and pork tasted great, so no tears were shed; besides, pork is traditionally used in a gyro.
The history of the gyro:
"Grilling a vertical spit of stacked meat slices and cutting it off as it cooks was developed in Bursa by Turks in the 19th century Ottoman Empire, and called döner kebab. Following World War II, döner kebab was introduced in Athens by immigrants from Anatolia and the Middle East. A distinct Greek variation developed, often made with pork and served with tzatziki sauce, which later became known as gyros. By the early 1970s, gyro sandwiches were already a popular fast food in Athens, as well as in Chicago and New York City." -Wikipedia
If you're a gyro lover like myself who has tried different gyros in Taiwan only to be disappointed time after time, you need to make a visit to Taipei Souvlaki to calm your blazing cravings for this outstanding Mediterranean food item.
Vegetarian options: Mushroom gyro (NT$80) and Fries with Yogurt [tzatziki] Sauce (NT$50)
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Astounding Ladies pay Sam at Taipei Souvlaki (我愛希臘捲餅) a visit to try his vegetarian mushroom souvlaki.
A Macedonian warrior pronounces greek foods for educational purposes and your delight.
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