For the past five days, I could not stop thinking about Gang Green’s falafel sandwiches. It’s so rare for a food place to have a complete and total hold on me to the point where it is literally the last thing I think of before I fall asleep and the first thought that comes into my mind when I wake.
Gang Green is a vegetarian food delivery service that sells falafel sandwiches and salads. It’s exclusively on Instagram and boasts a menu of “carnivore friendly” meals that are available daily.
Prior to finding Gang Green on Instagram, I have enjoyed my fair share of falafel. I was first made aware of this classic Middle Eastern dish through an episode of “Friends” where Rachel’s sister, Amy, thought Ross looked like the falafel guy she’d bump into from time to time.
Since then, I made it a point to order falafel from almost every restaurant that served it. Some have been good, some have been bad, and others were excellent. But I have never had a falafel that has altered my brain and consumed my every waking thought.
People usually consume food, not the other way around. This falafel sandwich though… It’s different.
I was a little bit wary of ordering from Gang Green at first. It’s based all the way in Parañaque—which could bode ill for the quality of the food when it arrives—and I honestly wasn’t sure about the flavored pita. Frankly, I’m a little bit of a purist when it comes to falafel, so the brightly colored wrap sparked a bit of an internal debate.
My curiosity got the best of me, though. I took the plunge and ordered a No. 5, which is the ube pita filled with edamame falafel, black garlic tahini, “bananaganoush,” and ricotta with a side of kamote fries.
The falafel sandwich came in one of those bags with a smiley face and “Have a nice day!” emblazoned on the front. The first thing I noticed when I unwrapped the sandwich was the color. It was purple. And I mean purple.
I dug in and what I found on the other side of that bite was nothing short of personal joy. There was a slight sweetness in the pita bread. Strange, but not bad. Welcome, even. The falafels tucked inside were still crisp and very fluffy on the inside. I could smell the spices coming off of the sandwich with every bite I took. It wasn’t spicy (or at least not to me), but the sandwich as a whole was seasoned so well I did my embarrassing happy food dance.
But I have never had a falafel that has altered my brain and consumed my every waking thought. People usually consume food, not the other way around. This falafel sandwich though… It’s different.
To me, texture is one of the most important parts of food, right up there with taste.
The crunch of the falafel, a few salt crystals, and the eighth of a peppercorn here and there (which is a good thing!) magnified the eating experience. The rich creaminess of the ricotta and the tahini also lends a bit of textural significance as well as a welcome equalizer to all the bright flavors in the sandwich.
I alternated between the sandwich and the kamote fries, which are also remarkable by the way. The fries were thick-cut, battered in homemade four-spice mix, and crusted with a sweet and salty nut powder. It was kind of like eating kamote fries with a few pieces of those caramelized nuts you’d buy from vendors while stuck in traffic along EDSA.
It was an immensely satisfying meal. After my last bite, I felt full but not heavy. True to its word, it is carnivore-friendly. On most days, I would pick a well-prepared steak over vegetables, but Gang Green’s falafel sandwich is making me think twice.
It begs the question, “Was it a fluke?”
Maybe they were just having an insanely good day in the kitchen or maybe I was just feeling more vegetable-friendly that day. So I ordered again. This time around, I ordered a No. 3, which is a malunggay pita filled with chickpea falafel, red tahini, labneh, sundried tomato tapenade, grated egg yolk, and bulgur.
With more discernment this time around, I took my time with this sandwich. I’ll spare you all the mouthwatering details (like how the grated egg yolk made everything taste extra deliciously funky and how this chickpea falafel is now my favorite falafel ever), but it was, as kids these days would say, absolutely “bussin.”
So no, not a fluke. And yes, I’m thinking of ordering another sandwich right now.