Is This Shawarma Joint in Ecuador Baiting Trekkies?

Keith Plocek

Countries outside the English-speaking world seem to love appropriating American cartoon and movie imagery to promote their businesses. The odds of Walt Disney’s heirs tracking down some guy in Indonesia using Donald Duck to tout his muffler repair shop are low.

This is nothing new.

But I was recently in Ecuador, in the Mariscal district of Quito, where a lot of gringos hang out while waiting for flights to Galapagos or tours up the side of active volcanos, when I saw what might be the most spectacularly named shawarma joint possible.

My Name Is Khan? Is this place owned by a Muslim guy whose actual name is Khan and therefore could totally get away with referencing Benedict Cumberbatch’s big line in Star Trek Into Darkness?

I had to investigate further. Problem was, the place had weird hours and I kept getting lost every time I went back. But the morning before my flight out of town I did find the place again, and I talked to a guy outside in a mix of Spanish and English just as he was opening up shop.

He’s owned the place for two years, he said, and Khan was a Pakistani guy who owned it before him. Which really messes with the timeline for the movie reference, because Star Trek Into Darkness came out in 2013. Also, there’s a famous Indian drama with that name from 2010.

Did Khan have an advance copy of the J.J. Abrams script? Probably not. So it’s more likely this joint was not indeed named after the latest Star Trek movie. Unless Khan got some help from time-traveling Spock Prime…

Regardless, it’s retroactively a pretty damn good name.