Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 July 2019

Google Doodle celebrates the falafel, finally: it truly is one of the world's most glorious foods

They say the humble snack is 'the best thing that ever happened to chickpeas - with the possible exception of hummus, of course'

Falafels from the Operation Falafel food truck at the Last Exit on E11 highway in Dubai. Photo: Pawan Singh / The National 
Falafels from the Operation Falafel food truck at the Last Exit on E11 highway in Dubai. Photo: Pawan Singh / The National 

Today, if you head to Google.com to search something and you're in the US, New Zealand, the UK, or much of South America or the Middle East, you'll see an animation of falafel jumping into a pita bread in the space where the Google logo normally is.

Why? Because Google has finally decided to "celebrate falafel" via its Google Doodle.

The illustrations on Google usually mark anniversaries of notable people's deaths or birthdays, reminding Google users of their legacies (suggestions can be submitted to proposals@google.com).

Many of the doodles that showcase great thinkers from the Middle East and North Africa are only shown in the region – and this, sadly, means that those living further afield don't learn about their achievements.

But the falafel has been given particularly expansive reach on the Google homepage (of course it has).

This doodle is being shown in the UAE, as well as in Canada, the US, Colombia, Peru, Argentina, Chile, New Zealand, the UK, Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Bulgaria, Armenia, Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Oman and Lebanon.

Here's what Google has to say about the vegan snack, which many think originated in Palestine: "Although the exact origins of this spicy street food have been lost to the mists of time, falafel has been enjoyed for centuries in many different cultures. India produces the vast majority of the world’s chickpea crop, which currently is in high season. In Egypt, fava beans are ground to make these delicious, crispy balls of fried plant protein, known in Egypt as 'ta'amiya.'"

Middle Eastern food has become hot property on the West’s culinary circuit in recent years. Celebrity chefs, restaurants and supermarkets have embraced ingredients and dishes from the region, and the likes of hummus, falafel, shakshuka and muhammara have become familiar entities on trendy restaurant menus, and are mainstays in home kitchens. Order a salad in a trendy London cafe these days, and you're highly likely to find it littered with pomegranate (and the salad is better for it, too).

There are now many types of falafel, Al Rayan, a restaurant in Khalidiya in Abu Dhabi, serves falafel manshi (stuffed falafel) during Ramadan. For this delicacy, a combination of ground green fava beans and herbs encircles a stuffing of sauteed onions and chilli paste. The restaurant serves at least 2,000 falafel every day over the holy month. You can read more about that here.

It can also be a very healthy snack: here's a recipe for falafel, minus the fat.

Updated: June 18, 2019 10:06 AM

SHARE

SHARE