International Falafel Awards, falafel, prize, Malmo, Copenhagen, chef, Nordisk Falafel, Yusef Houji, Falloumi, Stockholm
International Falafel Awards

Copenhagen wins falafel world cup

Malmö, Sweden’s falafel capital, fielded seven of the 15 entrants but lost to chickpea masters from the Danish capital.

Copenhagen has won the first ever International Falafel Awards, which were held across the water in Malmö, the falafel capital of Sweden, on Saturday.

Yusef Houji, the founder of Nordisk Falafel, spent 18 months experimenting with different blends of chickpeas before settling on the perfect combination and opening Nordisk Falafel last year.

The falafel master came top in two of the three categories, winning ‘best’ falafel overall and ‘best composed’ falafel, The Local reports.

The other title, for the innovation category, was won by Stockholm’s Falloumi.

The first falafel restaurant in Malmö opened in 1988, and as many as seven of the 15 entrants to the contest were from there.

But despite local residents and visitors turning out in their hundreds to support their favourite eateries and to sample different versions of the vegetarian crispy fried balls, none of the city’s contestants won anything.

“I love falafel; it’s Malmö’s national dish,” Amina Popal, one of the visitors, told Sweden’s Expressen newspaper. “A great falafel should be crunchy on the outside and well-cooked inside, not doughy. There should be fresh vegetables, garlic sauce, mild sauce and then a pita bread – that’s how real falafel is made.”

After the fast
Other cities sending teams in were Osaka in Japan, Groningen in the Netherlands, and Aarhus in Denmark.

Falafel originates in the Middle East, but, somewhat controversially, none of the entrants came from there. Malmö’s most renowned restaurants mining this niche, such as Falafel Baghdad, also did not take part.

There had been complaints that the event took place on the day after the Muslim festival of Eid, which marks the end of the Ramadan fast.

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