Last week I ate a
falafel, many falafels for the first time ever.
I’ve grown up in a city with a large Lebanese community with many pizza joints selling falafel and I’ve traveled to places where they are popular. Falafel has always been around me somewhere but for some reason I never decided to try it. Maybe it was a small fear of the unknown, even though I’m a big fan of hummus which is made from chickpeas which are often the main ingredient in falafels.
Jeremy has written on this site before about how delicious the falafels are in Egypt and I had read about Ayngelina’s love for them while traveling through Jordan. That post convinced me that I would try them without any hesitation when I finally visited the Middle East for the first time. Last week I visited Jordan, and I had many, many falafels.
On my second night of my Highlights of Jordan tour with G Adventures we went to one of the most popular falafel places in Amman called “Hashem“. One of the only places open 24/7 in the city their falafels are so good that the King and his wife are even known to eat there from time to time.
My group of 16 clamoured together at a couple tables in the middle of the Hashem alleyway. Within minutes servers were placing paper placemats in front of us and then throwing piles of pita straight onto the tables, along with bowls of hummus, beans, and plates with mint, tomato and onions appear from every direction and then out come the hot bowls of falafel deep fried not even 5 steps away from us in an alcove of the alleyway.
I start with the creamy hummus and pitas wary of the falafels. I finally pick one up and look at it. I exclaim to the group that I have never eaten one before and most of the reactions are “What?!” or “How is that possible?”. I examine the falafel in my hand, it’s still warm and I notice that it is smaller than the falafels I’ve seen at home. These falafels are bite sized but I quickly learn that you should savor it and enjoy it in at least two bites.
I worry that I am going to hate the taste and perhaps want to spit it out. Our drinks weren’t served yet so I worried about not having anything to wash it down with.
I take a bite and I’m surprised, “Wow, these are really good.” comes out of my mouth. Now I wonder why I held off eating them all of my life. I think about trying them at home but fear that they can’t compare to how great the falafels in Jordan are.
I quickly learn that I like falafels just as they are, they don’t need to be in a wrap like Jeremy described as having in Egypt, however they do taste nice dipped in some of Hashems delicious hummus.
I walked away that evening satisfied and happy that I finally tried a food that I had always avoided for no apparent reason. I then ate more falafel on my trip every time I had the chance and even returned to Hashem once more before flying home.
Are you a fan of falafels? Is there one food that you have always avoided but then later realized that you loved? Tell me about it in the comments!