By Safiya Young

A few years ago, Nadia El Hafiani noticed the lack of vegan or halal street food. Most people’s reaction to this would be to sigh, perhaps brand it as ‘a shame’; but Nadia, equipped with her passion and catering skills, decided to address the problem. In June 2019, she pitched up a stall outside Debenhams (after planning of course) and began to make falafels. She grew up in Morocco, so can guarantee her falafels are authentic. When she moved to Italy, she was unable to make use of her diploma in marketing, so she fell back on her hobby of catering and turned it into a career. 

PICTURE: Nadia El Hafiani

Her stall is open every Thursday from 10am until 4pm, and I can say, hand on heart, that she sells the best falafels I have ever tasted. I tend to find these chickpea-based patties a little dry, but at Falafel and More this issue doesn’t even cross my mind. They are moulded into little doughnut shapes on site and dunked in a hot fryer. After a few minutes of sizzling, Nadia loads them onto a wrap with a generous scoop of homemade hummus and babaganoush, then seasons them with harissa and pink pickles. You cannot complain that these falafels are dry. And, as the name promises, there is more on offer. If you don’t fancy the falafel wrap, why not try a box of bulgur salad? – a delicious blend of bulgur wheat, courgette and peppers which prompted the comment “I’d go vegan if all the food was like this” from my companion – or a sample of fresh babaganoush. There is a vegetarian version with yoghurt or a vegan one without. In my humble opinion, they cannot be ranked against each other as they evoke very different tastes and they most definitely both have their own merits.

If you have a budget, look no further: the wraps are a bargain at £5 and the salads are even more economical at £3, though you would happily pay double that for the quality.

PICTURE: Jasper Williams Young

Nadia also takes her cooking talent to Home Ground Kitchen *every Saturday and Sunday, making a selection of Moroccan dishes including tagine (fear not meat-lovers, there will be a lamb and chicken option as well as vegetarian). Nadia says: “I thank this city for giving me the opportunity to start [my stall]”. On behalf of the people of Hastings, I thank her for her wonderful food.

* Home Ground Kitchen is a community kitchen run by Kate and Savannah, near the Printworks.

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