Halifax Donair: The Best Sandwich, Even Before Sliced Bread
Jacqueline Sainsbury - October 21st, 2013
Hiding among the "maritime-inspired" dishes at Hopgood's Foodliner in Toronto (hot crab dip & Triscuits; charred octopus, pork sausage & Romesco sauce; tripe and lobster), lies the Halifax donair; a sandwich Geoff Hopgood used to smell every day while walking home from school as a kid and that later became his (and Halifax's) ultimate post-late night food.
Hopgood brought the "dirty donair" from from his hometown Nova Scotian municipality when he resurrected a variation of the family business, originally dating to 1863. He posits the gyro/shawarma/döner kebab–like concoction is possibly a result of the Greek and Lebanese influence in the coastal province, with a few adaptations like using beef instead of lamb. Sliced spiced meat (Hopgoods uses a 50/50 pork/beef mix, although beef is what's typically used) is piled onto fresh pitas made in-house, topped with onions and tomatoes, then doused with the all-important Donair sauce.
He knows with certainty the deep ties the donair has to natives—even those now outside the province—as he was reminded when "expats" started coming out of the woodwork in Toronto the minute Hopgood's Foodliner started serving the Halifax donair.
Hungry yet? Watch the video here.