One of the things I love about Canada is the way in which we respect and value people’s unique heritage within our multicultural society. This fact is easily evident in the ethnically diverse restaurants that pockmark our cities.
It could be stated that at its core food is art, and likewise, art is an expression of each person’s unique culture. So to truly embrace a culture one must first attempt to appreciate and understand its food. The best way to do this is to hunt for culinary experiences that closely resemble or replicate an authentic connection to their country of origin.
Having lived throughout the Middle East for nearly twenty years, I have a love for its delicious food, and I find myself searching for local eateries that help me remember those times. The trouble is that it’s sometimes hard to find restaurants that seek to remain true to a traditional menu, resisting the common urge to innovate with new ingredients. By staying truly authentic, it can help new patrons to enjoy the delights of that particular culture, whilst also triggering a flood of happy memories for those of us who have lived or traveled in those countries and cultures.
Enter Crispy Falafel, a local business with three locations in the Lower Mainland of British Columbia. Founded in 2011 by two Middle Eastern families, this venue offers a casual dining experience centered around Mediterranean cuisine. By drawing on their collective love for home cooking of authentic Lebanese food, they have adapted those recipes and culinary ideas into delicious and memorable dishes that patrons can indulge in.
The highlight of their menu is Shawarma…a Middle Eastern staple that typically makes my mouth water in anticipation. This simple (yet filling) dish is nearly always comprised of marinated meat slow roasted on a rotisserie spit coupled with fresh vegetables and a side of hummus.
Shawarma (for those of you who haven’t ever had one) is a dish where thin cuts of lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, or mixed meats are stacked in a cone-like shape on a vertical rotisserie. As it rotates and the outside cooks continuously, thin slices are shaved off. Shawarma is one of the world’s most popular street foods.
To make this dish truly Paleo diet friendly, simply ask for them to remove the rice and pita bread, substituting more salad (without dressing), and then add extra chicken for $3 more. I suggest asking for Tahini on the meat without hot sauce. This way it’s easier to taste the delicious flavour of the slow-cooked meat. Although Humus is not paleo friendly, it’s standard for all plates at Crispy Falafel. I’ve found that eating a bit of it won’t disrupt your diet too much, as chickpeas are relatively low in carbs (About 4 grams of carbs per 2-tablespoon serving)…so enjoy dipping the meat in Humus to get a truly authentic experience.
At roughly $13.80 (plus an extra $3 of chicken), the Shawarma plate is slightly more expensive than your average eatery, however, the taste and quality of the ingredients makes up for the additional cost. Also, although the drive to Crispy Falafel’s White Rock location takes me 30 minutes, it’s definitely worth it just for the experience of eating an authentic tasting Shawarma. Not only is the taste of their dishes phenomenal, but coupled with the calm ambiance of their full-size wall-to-wall photo of the Mediterranean coast, I really feel like I’ve been transported to a country located 6000 miles away.
This photo (Printed and installed by iFresco.com) is located along the left side of Crispy Falafel’s White Rock location and showcases the Rock of Raouché (Also called the Pigeons’ Rock)…a Lebanese natural monument consisting of two huge rock formations which stand like gigantic guards in the Mediterranean Sea. A very popular place for locals and tourists, the crystal clear water and coral formations shimmers blue-green, daring you to dive in. Eating my Shawarma and staring at this beautiful scenery, I feel myself transported across the world, remembering the beauty, taste, and connection I fondly have for the food and culture of that entire region.
In closing, I have to note that not only are their dishes mouth-wateringly delicious, but they also pride themselves on making the dishes with the freshest and finest ingredients. For instance, their meat and poultry are ethically sourced and fully traceable. Their beef is 100% BC born and raised, and grass fed and grain finished from a small family owned farm. It’s also raised without the use of hormones or steroids.
Their “Aussie” lamb is also naturally fed, free-range and raised predominately on a pasture. It’s also free of additives and is hormone free. Their poultry is raised in a free run environment and raised on a wheat based diet. And finally, their vegetables are locally grown, using the “farm to table” philosophy to choose the healthiest, most flavourful and freshest ingredients for each dish.
For those of you who have a party or event coming up, please note that you can order large party plates of most of their menu items.
For a list of their menu items and prices click here: http://www.crispyfalafel.ca/crispy-flavors/plates/
For more general information please visit Crispy Falafel’s website: http://www.crispyfalafel.ca
To order online through the Skip the Dishes website click here: https://www.skipthedishes.com/crispy-falafel