Falafel are fried pulse balls, a bit like some versions of Indian vada. They are a traditional street food across the Middle East from Egypt through to Iraq and, going north to south, from Syria to Sudan. But their origin isn’t clear. The great food writer Claudia Roden says that the Egyptian version, called taamiya, dates back to the pharoahs. But other writers have noticed how well falafel are adapted to fish and chip frying technology and wonder if they aren’t relatively modern. In Israel they are a national dish which raises eyebrows among Lebanese and Palestinians who claim parentage. As an all vegan food there have been falafel in British pop festivals for decades. But Hoxton Beach popularised a version close to Beirut street food; we make the essential pickles ourselves, using British turnips and Norfolk cyder vinegar. There have been attempts at a McDonalds-type falafel chain but falafel is more like 3rd wave coffee with scores or more of small producers doing it their own way.