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In the hot dusty air of Jerusalem, I had my first experience with the eponymous shawarma. Wanting to sample the local flavor and avoid tourist traps, I decided to try a local shawarma stand that advertised "Jerusalem shawarma." Having tried the dish in the States I figured I knew what I was in for. Biting into it I was greeted with a harsh metallic tang as well as the usual smoothness of hummus and the breadiness of the pita bread. You see, Jerusalem shawarma isn't the usual shaved meats on a spit that stateside connoisseurs might be familiar with. Jerusalem shawarma is basically all that but with all the added bits of chicken that usually are not included with most American meals. Chicken heart, liver, and gizzard are the main ingredients. It gives it a kind of tangy, bloody taste that sticks with you for a while. I thought that I was cultured, that I could take on and enjoy something like Jerusalem shawarma. I ate it a few more times over the week that I was in Israel but you never forget your first time.
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