Great Food Search: Sanger’s Shawarma Express

Jun 30, 2018 | 2018 Articles, Terrance V. Mc Arthur, The Great Food Search

by Terrance Mc Arthur

Our roving food critic Terrance Mc Arthur continues his search for great food in Sanger and the surrounding communities. Check out more Great Food Search here!

Twice upon a time, there was a restaurant called Sanger’s Shawarma Express. The first time, it was convenient, fast-food, Mediterranean food. Two years ago, George and Stella took it over, and things changed.

It’s still Mediterranean fare, but with more Armenian offerings and…STEAKS! These are not steaks; they are STEAKS! (More about the STEAKS, later.)

lamb chops

Lamb chops from Sanger’s Shawarma Express. Yummmm-y!

It’s a small storefront, clean and friendly, perfect for dinner for two or for a reasonably-sized family. (Osmonds should order take-out.) Before the first Shawarma, it was Peppino’s. Most of the time, now, it’s just George and Stella running the show, and they do it with love.

soup

Chicken noodle soup, Shawarma style.

The Greek-style salad is hearty and healthy, and the dressing is something you’ll want to take home, and you can buy bottles of it for private use. The Lentil Soup is thick and tasty, Southern Armenian Comfort for your belly. Sometimes the soup is Chicken Noodle, but not like your mother used to make; the noodles are rotini spirals, along with some of the expected veggies, but with unexpected garbanzos (a.k.a chickpeas) and cilantro.

salmon

Salmonchanted evening at Sanger’s Shawarma Express.

Since it’s Mediterranean/Armenian, there are kabobs, gyros, wraps, and pilaf. The beef kabobs are tender and juicy, unbelievably seasoned; if there was a bone in there, the meat would be falling off of it. Chicken kebabs are delectable, too. The gyros are shaved thin from the rotating, standing spit of stacked meat and wrapped with care. The pilafs (rice and bulgur) are fluffy and savory. The seasoned mayo is good for dipping the pitas or meats. George cooks veggies to tenderness, not limpness. On Fridays, there’s fish. It might be salmon or swordfish, but you know it will be good. The servings are much larger than most restaurants serve, and the succulent flesh is worth the trip to Sanger. There is so much to enjoy at Sanger’s Shawarma Express.

steak

Let there be steak! Shawarma Express.

Did I mention that there are STEAKS? There are… Oh, there are. Porterhouse, ribeye, whatever the steak of the day is, it’s a celebration on a plate. The cost varies from plate to plate because they are priced by weight. George buys enough to sell for the day, and when they are gone, they are gone. If there are any steaks left at closing time, they don’t go into a refrigerator for the next day—they are given to his dogs. (Lucky dogs!) Sometimes, there are pork chops or lamb chops. Trust George—it’s going to be delicious.

Do you have room for dessert? Hope for a Napoleon, flaky and gooey. I’m a frequent flyer at S’sSE, and I’ve never been disappointed.

You’ll find Sanger’s Shawarma Express at 628 O Street, between Jensen Avenue and 7th Street. If he has a break from working in the kitchen creating culinary happiness, you might see George sitting at a little table on the sidewalk by the door. It’s an Old-World image, but it translates to down-home good eating in Beautiful Downtown Sanger. You can also like them on Facebook.

Check out more food articles and more of Terrance’s Great Food Search column in our Food Fun section. And check out a KRL staff profile this week on Terrance!

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is a Librarian with the Fresno County Public Library and has published several short stories.

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