Zankou is a legend in Los Angeles for its incredible food. That homestyle cooking is a tradition that dates back to Beirut, Lebanon, where Vartkes Iskanderian opened the first Zankou on a crowded street corner in the bustling city. There, he brought his family’s secret recipes to the community and started a tradition that carries over to this day. Here is how Zankou prepares its food, including the history that inspires every dish.
While it’s difficult to trace the origins of this famed dish, it’s safe to say nearly everyone enjoys a good roasted chicken. The act of roasting it in a vertical roaster, however, is fairly new in terms of culinary skills. Invented in the 19th century, it allows the juices of chicken that is cooking to drip onto the roasts below, creating a whirlwind of flavor that crisps the skin just right while keeping the meat juicy.
Zankou Chicken is made with local herbs, which are ground and rubbed on fresh chickens delivered from local farms. It’s then roasted for more than an hour, giving it the perfect level of tenderness.
Egypt created shawarma sometime in the 1830s. It’s a roast that’s prepared on a vertical roaster, slowly turned to lock in the juices as it cooks. It’s thin sliced and served with bread, usually pita, and it’s become something of a symbol for Middle East cuisine.
Zankou’s tri-tip is prepared with Mediterranean spices, and caramelized in a vertical roaster. The taste combines both sweet and spicy for something altogether unique.