LONDON: A Palestinian kebab shop in Bologna has been named one of the best street food outlets in Italy by the Gambero Rosso food guide, The Times reported on Friday.
Ciao Kebab was singled out as the best street food outlet in Emilia Romagna, a region famous for its parmesan cheese and prosciutto ham, and considered a temple of Italian cuisine.
Opened in 1991 by a Palestinian emigre, Ciao Kebab is now run by Omar Shihadeh, 33, the founder’s son.
It offers a gourmet kebab made with beef, local vegetables, and the option of a homemade tahini or spicy tomato sauce.
“They might not admit it, but a kebab can beat a piadina,” said Shihadeh, referring to the cheese and prosciutto-stuffed flatbread that won the Gambero Rosso award last year.
“Gambero Rosso is getting more international. They saw we do a quality kebab,” he said, adding that Bologna is “surprisingly open” to “new food.”
But right-wing politicians have targeted kebab shops as pernicious foreign invaders, and officials from the anti-migrant League party have sought to shut them down.
Shihadeh’s colleague Andrea Liotta said he knew of a kebab shop in Verona, northern Italy, which had faced hostility because of its perception as a “foreign product.”
Pina Sozio, who edited the 2022 edition of Gambero Rosso, said the guide had never before given the accolade to a non-Italian food outlet in Emilia Romagna.
“It’s a region rooted in culinary traditions, but the kebabs from Ciao Kebab are so good, and this is a way to encourage people to change habits,” Sozio told The Times.
“Things are changing. Italians still argue endlessly about the right way to cook pasta carbonara, but when it comes to street food they will try other things if they are good.”