As far as I know, marketing machinery in the western consumerism-driven society had produced stories about three kinds of falafels:
- Lebanese falafel
- Egyptian falafel
- Jewish falafel
While Lebanese falafel and Egyptian falafel certainly seem to be quite different (Lebanese falafel is made with chick peas and lots of coriander, while Egyptian falafel is made with fava beans and lots of parsley and dill), it’s a mystery why would Lebanese and Jewish falafels be deemed different. Both types of falafels are made with exact same ingredients, and it is probably only due to a slightly different presentation that these two types are distinguished.
Impervious to the finer points of such marketing ploy, we headed toward Les Marais (the Jewish Quarter). On our first visit there, we discovered a gorgeous falafel place — Chez Marianne:
We decided to come back a bit later, for lunch. Upon returning back, we found huge lineups — this place is popular, which is always a good sign.
However, not only was the lineup long, it was barely moving. We started wondering what was going on there?
Ordering is quirky, because you must pay inside, get the receipt, and then present it to the cook at the falafel takeout window.
Once we reached the takeout window, it became clear why was the lineup moving so slowly — they make everything right there, on the spot. So you know it’s ultra fresh. There is no cutting corners here, everything is exactly how they would make it at home, for their friends and family.
Then it’s handed over to you; it’s your choice whether you want to top it with a Jewish pickled cucumber:
Jewish falafel differs in presentation from the Lebanese falafel — it comes in an open pita, and is served with a fork. It is topped with grilled eggplant drenched in olive oil, and optionally topped with a pickled cucumber.
This grilled eggplant is so soft and juicy, that it literally melts in your mouth. The whole experience is divine, if somewhat messy. Using the fork helps a bit, but you’re gonna end with a lot of juices dripping down your fingers and your chin, no matter how skillfully you approach it.
The next day we headed across the bridge to Rue Mouffetard (Latin Quarter) to try Parisian Lebanese falafel. It was a completely different experience, but equally divine. We didn’t bother photographing that event, as we simply (and quite shamelessly) inhaled our falafels:)