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Falafel: Middle Eastern Energy on the Go
Check out Groupon’s examination of a Middle Eastern staple—falafel—to understand what makes this concoction so iconic.
Falafel is fast food in its purest sense. In a flash, the chef scoops out a ball of chickpeas (or in some areas, fava beans) ground with herbs and spices and drops it in a fryer until it turns golden brown. Influencing this swift process may be old family recipes, national traditions, and abundant variations, but all appetites agree on a unified ideal: a hot, crunchy crust and a moist interior. On a sandwich or a meze platter, the spheres are packed with protein and ready to pair with fresh toppings.
Most food historians trace falafel’s origins to Egypt, but that hasn’t ended a longstanding controversy over its proper home. Israelis have appointed the kosher-friendly meal their national dish, which has drawn the ire of those who see it as an essentially Arab food. In 2008, the Association of Lebanese Industrialists even filed a lawsuit against Israel for promoting what it considers a Lebanese trademark.
- What it is: a Middle Eastern restaurant specializing in falafel, shawarma, and kabobs
- All the food is: handmade from scratch
- Most popular way to start a meal: a serving of hummus and pita
- Something for vegetarians: the falafel sandwich with parsley, tomatos, and pickle
- Something for meat-eaters: the beef shawarma plate with salad, hummus, and rice