The dish consists of cubes of chicken that are marinated, then skewered and grilled. Common marinades are based upon yogurt and lemon juice or tomato puree, though there are many variations. Shish taouk is typically eaten with toum (garlic paste).
Shish means skewer in Turkish (it has been adopted in Lebanese-Arabic and Syrian-Arabic dialects, although seekh is the word for skewer in classical Arabic); and taouk or tavuk (pronounced "tah-wouk") means chicken in Turkish. Tawook can refer to other kinds of poultry, e.g., peacock (tawouk/tauwos in Arabic طاووس).