At half past eleven last night, I had another weird food craving (NOTE: Weird food cravings are ordinary to me; they aren't an indication that I'm pregnant or anything). After fetching a bar of chocolate from 7-11, I realized that I wanted chunks of grilled meat and vegetables wrapped in unleavened bread.
Why I wanted to eat shawarma, and how on earth I got the idea of eating one at midnight, baffles me too. There was no place I could buy one, much less at that hour. I had to wait at least ten hours until malls were open and hope that one of them still had a shawarma stand.
Of course I couldn't help reminiscing that there was a time when there were shawarma stands in every other corner. Every mall, campus and village had at least one. Shawarma was one of the top fad foods of the '90s.
Hey ... didn't Red Sternberg's character in the channel-7 series T.G.I.S. work at a shawarma stand? NoBenta just posted something about T.G.I.S. yesterday, so I guess that crept out of my subconscious. I never really watched the show (Ever. I swear.) but I remember hearing that detail from somewhere. Correct me if I'm wrong.
Just a block from where I used to live was a little store that sold shawarma. I hardly ever bought anything from there though.
I didn't really love eating shawarma, but I found it very convenient, especially at university (naturally as fad foods go, shawarma was sold at our school). It was easy to bring around, it didn't need utensils and it could be finished in several bites. Very practical when I had to spend break time studying or working on a project, and particularly convenient when most of the eating places were crowded and I didn't have time to wait for a table to free up (which was often the case). I could just buy one , grab a drink and eat it wherever.
Of course buying just one often didn't satisfy, especially after the demand for shawarma increased and its quality (and size) decreased.
These days there are but a handful of shawarma stands in Manila (I mean, not counting the authentic Middle-Eastern restaurants) - and it's not even the good kind of shawarma. In the late '90s shawarma stores packed up one by one, soon outnumbered by pearl shake kiosks (which were in turn later overpowered by Mini-Stops and Starbucks), and only a few survive to this day.
But I still intend to find one and feed my craving.