“It was my wife’s idea. She said to me – maybe the Irish people will like it.”
The soul satisfyingly soft and tooth-pleasingly crunchy fritter served in a warm pita pocket. This Middle Eastern style sandwich is a loyal hunger buster that was first introduced to Ireland by none other than Ali, of Ali’s Falafel.
The Life Of Ali
Meet Ali, the man who gave the Irish the first taste of the legendary falafel.
“I moved to Ireland from Lebanon with my wife in 2002 because we wanted to give my little boy Mo a better education. In the beginning, I worked as a plumber, an electrician and a bus driver. Later on, my wife encouraged me to take up a hobby, something fun outside of work that would help to improve my English. One Saturday evening, she prepared our usual Lebanese meal but made 20 extra falafel balls. She said to me , “Why not give them a taste of the food from home. Maybe the Irish people will like it”. The next day Ali set up a small table in People’s Park in Dún Laoghaire and prepared the quintessential ingredients for the renowned falafel wrap. Within minutes, the queue started to form for this delicious delicacy that was synonymous with authentic and flavoursome Lebanese cuisine. Unsurprisingly on that very first Sunday, Ali sold out.
Today, Ali has one of the busiest stalls in the park with his team of 5 working hell for leather making fresh falafel on site. Loyal customers return every week come rain, hail or shine for the mouth-watering falafel pitas and plates, or for their meat counterparts of succulent chicken and lamb. Tantalising smells and aromas attract the newbies who soon become hooked on the falafels that consistently deliver pizazz in colour, texture and taste!
The falafels are made from chickpeas, which are soaked, ground up and seasoned with spices like garlic, cumin and coriander. They are then shaped into patties and deep-fried in oil to produce piping hot golden balls that are crunchy and crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside. These hearty and nutritious balls of goodness are placed on a warm charred flatbread that is smeared with creamy hummus and garnished with all the trimmings including crispy ice berg lettuce, juicy tomatoes, a drizzle of tahini paste for a sesame and zesty flavour and if you’re feeling daring, a dash of chilli sauce to fire up those taste buds! The combination of these ingredients provides a simply sensational meal that always hits the spot!
You will find Ali’s Falafel throughout the week at various lunch time markets:
- Wednesday: Spencer Dock and Waterways Visitor Centre, Grand Canal Quay (11.30am-2pm)
- Thursday: Mespil Road (Grand Canal) and UCD (11.30am-2.30pm)
- Friday: Sandyford and Percy Place, Grand Canal (11.30am-2pm)
- Sunday: People’s Park Farmers Market, Dún Laoghaire (9am-4.30pm).