It may surprise many of my friends and family back home, but when it comes to good food, living in London actually leaves me wanting for nothing. In fact last year I was joking with my friends that it was London which deserved the title "Capital of Arabic Culture" because of the concentration of Arabs and their cuisine that we find here. In particular, one of my favourite areas is Shepherds Bush and Acton. Not because of the monstrous West Field shopping centre, but because of the vibrant community which lives there. There are three mosques between these two areas, meaning I can always nip in quickly to carry out my prayers. Also, there is the popular Abu Zad restaurant, providing a modest menu of Syrian cuisine which is not bad at all and at a very decent price. Just up the road you can find the famous Damasgate, which has absolutely everything I could need for making any of the dishes I miss from back home. However in terms of affection none can compete with the lovely Palestinian falafel shop which is just at the entrance of Shepherds Bush Market. There is another smaller stall run by a nice Egyptian man who also does some barbeque corn on the cob, but not having a place to sit and watch people go buy puts him at a disadvantage with the magnificent Mr Falafel.
When I came in and had a chat with the man behind the counter, it turned out they were Palestinian and had come from Lebanon. Originally from Tabarea, we mumbled a few words about the ridiculous peace agreements which might be taking place between Syria and Israel, then gave me a tired look, expecting me to be one of the wide-eyed student activist types who would like to sit with a 'real' Palestinian and rub off some of that 'revolutionary' spirit on themselves. I just wanted to know about makdous, so I obligingly left him be and sat down, quietly savouring the delicious sandwich and the many subtle tastes that showed me these guys really know what they are talking about when it comes to falafel.