Notes on Falafel


1/10/2012 7:48:22 AM


by Khaled Sedki

Besides the Roman Theatre, the Citadel, the Hussein Mosque, Rainbow Street, Mansaf and Omar Abdallat, one more thing you can't avoid in Amman is Falafel.

Though most of the times Falafel is one of those 'by-the-way' type of foods rather than a destination, some Falafel places make it to tourist guide-books, international newspapers and most recently to Amman's GPS maps. They bring together people of eastern and western parts of Amman; ordinary people, rich and kings alike and are culturally eminent as they were celebrated in the late Amman's Centennial Parade.
Falafel often drew analogies to people, to the city, to street culture and to tradition; and off these analogies are these notes on Falafel.
[Falafel is a fried ball or patty made from spiced chickpeas or fava beans. Originally from Egypt, falafel is a popular form of street food or fast food in the Middle East. The Arabic word "falafel" (falāfil) may be the plural of (filfil) 'pepper', but more relevantly, it is an adjective for fluffy/crunchy things, as in (roz mfalfel), a kind of cooked rice, and (sha'r mfalfel), curly hair. It is also transliterated felafel and filafil.] Wikipedia

Falafel is Universal -- Falafel is trans-cultural, trans-racial and trans-class. The fried brown donuts of the Levant, symbolic of oriental food culture, can fit envelopes that make it deliverable to distant cultures and posh restaurants next to more prestigious dishes. Therefore, Falafel can be deliciously political and present an anti-segregation protein-rich statement.

Falafel is Urban -- Falafel is an urban act, a scene that contributes to the city's visual, aesthetic and experiential character. The public display of frying, making and eating falafel and what it triggers of group behaviors are significant urban qualities inseparable from falafel's distinguished tradition.

Falafel is Progressive – It is traditional, yet dynamic keeping an original substance while it constantly reproduces its self. It has the ability to transform in response to various times, contexts and oil brands and to mold its self in different shapes to blend in at all occasions among colorful dishes; a unique survivor of globalized foods and a trusted ambassador to a rapidly deformed world.

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