There’s BIG news this week in the New York street food world. Fares “Freddy” Zeidaies, the King of Falafel & Shawarma – the truck which won both the Vendy Cup and the People’s Choice Award in 2010 – opened a new falafel cart in Manhattan.
His new cart is on the corner of 53rd St & Park Ave. (Don’t worry Astorians, the original cart on Broadway & 30th St in Astoria is still there).
So what makes Freddy the King? Besides the Vendy Cup on display at the new cart, the biggest reason is his falafel.
It’s different from the falafel that most vendors serve in that it’s oval, not round.
Freddy told me in our interview last year that “egg-shaped falafel has a better crust and is moister on the inside. Round falafel get too crunchy and are not as moist on the inside as mine. In the West Bank where I’m from, that’s how they do it.”
Another reason Freddy’s the King is because he knows how to treat his customers well. The line was pretty long, but Freddy had an assistant go to the end of the line every so often to hand out free falafel to everyone waiting. Nice touch!
The falafel were nice and crispy on the outside. Inside, not only were the falafel soft and moist, but they were actually fluffy. There was also a small kick of spiciness in the falafel.
This is a king who shares the wealth with his subjects. In other words, his prices are excellent. I got a falafel platter for $6, and a falafel sandwich is $4.
The platter had 5 big pieces of falafel, plus lots of other stuff. There were pickles, onions, lettuce, tomato and pickled turnips, which are the purple strips in the photo.
You can choose from 3 sauces, or do what I did and get them all. There’s a white sauce, a sesame tahini sauce, and a hot sauce.
Earlier this week Freddy tweeted about his first Yelp review, where the person said the hot sauce wasn’t really that hot. Freddy took that as a challenge, and really kicked up the heat on his hot sauce. Just how I like it!
This was an excellent lunch at a great price. Not only is it one of the best falafels around, but you won’t find a nicer vendor on the the street than Freddy. He clearly loves what he’s doing, and the service is really good too.
The King of Falafel & Shawarma is on the NW corner of 53rd St & Park Ave from 11 a.m. – 3 p.m. Expect a line when you go, but if it’s long, maybe you’ll get a free falafel while you’re waiting.