Ramadan Eats: Falafel

Funnel cakes from the Rodeo, tacos from the local food truck, and every other dish in between: street food can convince the most cautious of consumers to try their local delights.

Common street food items have even managed to infiltrate the meals served during the month of Ramadan, an annual Islamic practice where adherents fast during all daylight hours.

For this edition of Ramadan Eats, the diffusion of falafels, one of the most unique and beloved dishes of Ramadan, will be explored.

Falafels are made by frying a mixture of chickpeas, spices, and herbs into a crisp, browned ball. Bite-sized and shareable, falafels are able to be sold in both bulk or individual servings.

Although falafels are not the most nutritious option due to their deep-fried exterior, their convenience is seen as an advantage during Ramadan as fasting can make it difficult to cook large quantities of food.

Along with convenience, falafels also share the trait of affordability with other street foods. During Ramadan, it is common for families to host community gatherings to celebrate with others and having an affordable, shareable option can be very helpful.

Independent of cost and accessibility, it is the desirability of falafel that makes it popular among the many different cultures of South and Southwest Asia where it originated.

The beneficial attributes of falafel have diffused all over the world, ranging from neighboring lands of Europe and Africa to local restaurants and grocery stores in Houston.

From fast food franchises to local street vendors, quality food of all cultures always finds its way to its customer base and beyond.