"Is falafel healthy?" asked my colleague as we watched our sandwiches being made by a man wearing a disposable glove on one hand, but not the other and squelching up the falafel with his fingers, ready for the pitta bread.
The Michael Jackson of falafel-making, we mused. Once in pitta, they're wrapped in another layer of thin dough and grilled. The result is something the size of a Subway sandwich but twice as heavy.
Better without chips but with aubergine, they're crammed with bits of cucumber, tomato and onion and "medium spicy" sauce. Marvellous for lunch, they keep you full for hours. Firaiha Falafel has been in place for 10 years and is run by a charming Jordanian called Sameer Mohammed.
He is generally sitting at one of the three tables, and will obligingly relay your order to the King of Pop impersonator waiting behind the counter. That the Arabic falafels at Firaiha are worth stopping off for is proved by the number of cars that pull up outside and honk their horns impatiently for service.
The sandwiches come with the usual pickled vegetables and a bunch of peppery gargeer leaves. A meal for two costs between Dh20 and Dh40. Seriously.
Firaiha Falafel, Corner of Muroor and 15th Street, Abu Dhabi, 02 445 4988