Who would have thought that there would be Middle Eastern fast food joints in the middle of a Scandinavian city in northern Europe? My first international stop of the summer in Copenhagen, Denmark proved me wrong, as well as all those who have doubted me. When we arrived at our hostel across the street from Central Station in a prime location in the city, the first thing I Googled as soon as I had wifi was "falafel places near me." A long list appeared and I knew I was in the right place.
The most touristy street in the city, Strøget, boasts every designer store that you can imagine, from Gucci to Michael Kors, as well as your trashy tourist souvenir shops and people flagging you down to buy fake Prada and handouts for night clubs. Despite the crowds, Strøget does do one thing correctly, shawarma fast food joints with falafel sandwiches on the menu. Though I walked by all of these places with big eyes and a growling stomach, I ended up eating falafel in a completely different part of the city.
Island Brygge is a neighborhood just across the canal over a bridge from downtown Copenhagen and we made the walk over to explore another part of the city. It was very quiet and we were definitely the only tourists present, hence the only Danish menus posted outside of every restaurant and cafe. We didn't find anything that caught our eye until we stumbled upon another shawarma joint called Hungry DK, and of course, falafel was on the menu! I was beyond excited to finally have my Copenhagen falafel fix and to see if it could compare to any other falafel I've had. I then asked the man behind the counter with a heavy accent where he was from. When he responded with Lebanon, I excitedly said that I was Armenian and he smiled back, not saying much else. A Middle Eastern influenced meal was all I needed.
The verdict: I ordered the veggie plate, which came with 3 pieces of falafel, hummus, pita, tabbouleh, grape leaves, salad, and tzatziki sauce. I ordered it to go because I wanted to sit outside by the canal to eat it, which turned out to be a mistake because the tzatziki sauce pretty much mixed in with everything. Overall, a pretty decent meal. The falafel wasn't the best, not crispy on the outside and a bit dry on the inside. The hummus and pita made up for it, as well as the grape leaves which I was happy to have. The value was expensive for such a mediocre meal, but keep in mind that Copenhagen is pricey to begin with. I'd have to judge that Scandinavia didn't win my heart in terms of falafel, not surprisingly, but I'm stoked for what else is in store! Next stop: a two week loop around Morocco.