Every night Kamal Albarouki soaks dried chickpeas and fava beans in water, and every morning when he arrives at his stand he grinds them into a paste, adding parsley, onion, and spices. Since 1981, Kamal and his wife, Esra, have been frying up spoonfuls of this green paste into the popular falafel that they sell at Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties.
Though the Albarouki family—which now includes three adult sons and a daughter, all of whom have at some point worked in the family business—is originally Syrian, their food takes a broad Middle Eastern approach. Their menu has something for everyone, whether in need of a quick lunch of shawarma or a full spread of mezze. Fresh ingredients make their way into baba ganoush, hummus, eggplant stew, Moroccan chicken, kibbeh, a huge amount of tabbouleh and spinach and feta pies. They’ve been blending smoothies and juicing vegetables since well before juices became trendy, so you can either choose one of their tried-and-true combinations or come up with your own. And if you’d rather do the cooking yourself, feel free to pick up some Middle Eastern ingredients like harissa or rosewater, and throw in a few of their traditional honeyed pastries for dessert.
Kamal’s Middle Eastern Specialties
1136 Arch Street, #423
Philadelphia, PA 19107