Berlin's Fave Food Goes Veggie

Berliners love their döners. Short for dönerkebab, from the Turkish for rotating grilled meat, and closely related to the Greek gyros or the arab schawarma, it is hard to think of a döner without thinking meat. So imagine the surprise to see a bio, vegetarian döner stand on the eco-mile at the Berlin Umweltfest (environment festival). It's true though: this is a Wheaty döner.

Sure, the hard core vegetarian will say "why make vegetarian food that looks like meat?". But the fact is, the sight of a rotating skewer makes most people's mouth water for the spicy, herby thin curls--crisp on one side and still soft on the other--which fall into a warmed pita bread to be buried under a salad of fresh vegetables. Do you want garlic, herb or spicy sauce with that? Wheaty® is the brainchild of Klaus Gaiser, who took his years of studying Japanese and Asian eating culture and returned to Germany to develop a process for extracting wheat protein and blending it to a variety of alternatives to the comfort foods of his homeland. The Wheaty sausage can sit on top of German eintopf ("one-pot" bean, pea or vegetable soup, often served with a whole, long, thin sausages on top*). It can be found in a large variety of cold-cut sandwich toppers. New additions to the Wheaty family include Wheaty-con-chile as well as the Wheaty döner.

If a meat wanna-be helps vegetarians who are feeding the non-veg family members or those who want to substitute meat a couple meals per week, then Wheaty is a welcome addition to the vegetarian menu.

* If you want to eat it like a real Berliner, you will remove the plate under you soup bowl, take the sausage (always served whole) daintily out of the bowl and place it on the plate. Only slice one bit at a time, waiting until that bite is eaten before cutting the next.

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