Immigrants decide: These are the best falafel joints in Malmö

The falafel roll is as much a symbol of Malmö as the Turning Torso or the Öresund Bridge, and at as little as 25 kronor, they're so miraculously cheap, it's a wonder anyone eats anything else. We asked local foreigners where best to get them.

Immigrants decide: These are the best falafel joints in Malmö
Photo: Pontus Lundahl/SCANPIX/TT
What makes a good falafel? 
For a dish so simple – fried balls of mashed chickpeas wrapped with salad in a roll – a lot can go wrong. If the oil is too cheap or old, it taints the fritter. If it’s not hot enough, the fritter soaks it up, making it greasy.
If the flatbread isn’t fresh enough, it can be chewy and unappetizing. If the garlic, chilli and mild sauce are cheap and commercial, the roll is ruined. The salad, particularly the tomatoes, can be soggy and wilted. 
Worst of all, some falafel restaurants buy pre-made frozen chickpea balls. If you spot this, inform the server that your are taking your custom elsewhere. The practice must be stamped out. 
The verdict
We asked members of the Expats in Malmo Facebook group to recommend their favourite falafel restaurants in Malmö. Here’s what they had to say.
Värnhems Falafel
Värnhems Falafel was the hands-down winner in our highly unscientific survey, sweeping up a full 23 of 50 recommendations. 
“There should be a legitimate world-recognized prize for it,” gushed Asya Adamska. “Värnhems Falafel, no competition,” said Marko Tukic. “Their food is really good and got me through a lot of drunk nights and days were I was too tired to cook,” said Adrien Müller.  
The institution, on Lundavägen near the Värnhem bus stop, was praised for its fresh ingredients and for making its own flatbread, meaning it is always meltingly soft. 
Its chickpea balls have been described by the prize-winning Swedish journalist Niklas Orrenius as “the measure of a falafel” like “that original standard metre that is kept guarded in Paris”. 
Its staff are ridiculously friendly and make their rolls with such practised dexterity that watching them work is part of the pleasure. 
Photo: Nathan Lloyd/Facebook
Badrans Super Falafel 
The only falafel joint worthy of the name in Malmö city centre, Badrans was the distant runner-up with five recommendations. 
In the summer, you can see queues of loyalists outside its kiosk on the canal opposite Malmö city library. Groups put in big orders and then dine outside by the canal or in the nearby Slottsparken park. 
It offers generous portions, fresh salad, and a competent if unimaginative falafel roll. If you eat in their own outside seating area, you have to battle annoyingly persistent ducks and gulls.
Photo: Henrik Fuchs/Facebook
Mr Falafel 
A relative newcomer to Malmö’s super-competitive falafel scene, Mr Falafel was in line with Badrans on five recommendations. 
“Mr Falafel has the freshest garnishes I’ve ever had (including pomegranate),” said Lund student Katie Koerper, while Derya Völlings praised them for their “super friendly staff”.
The restaurant, which opened in May last year on Nobelvägen, is arguably the city’s top falafel innovator, with a long vegan menu tailored to a district where the Green and Left parties scooped up a massive majority in last year’s election. Even its chicken and lamb shawarma meat is ecological. 
It boasts a funky logo of a bowler-hatted man with a moustache, and has been expanding its offering well beyond falafel into Middle Eastern dips such as Mhammara and Mohammara. 
Mr Falafel now has café tables outside in summer. Photo: Mr Falafel
Köpenhamns Falafel
Next in line was Köpenhamns Falafel, with four recommendations. Like Badrans, Köpenhamns wins points for its position outside Malmö’s falafel heartlands. Positioned in the relatively upmarket Fågelbacken district, a stone’s throw from the Bladins private school, it is a purveyor of chickpea delicacies to the bourgeoisie, as evidenced by its 40 kronor roll, a price normally only the more upmarket joints ask for. 
Möllans Falafel
This falafel favourite on Bergsgatan near Möllevången won three recommendations. It’s a popular place to soak up the alcohol at the end of a night out, and has bright, modern decor, super-fresh vegetables and very well put together rolls. 
Möllans is also an innovator, with its own logo and a modern interior. In 2017, it was the first falafel joint to offer a vegan menu.  
Photo: Möllans Falafel
Jalla Jalla 
Jalla Jalla is a Malmö institution on Bergsgatan near Möllevången, famed for its slogan Jalla Jalla Falafel för Alla (Jalla Jalla Falafel for Everyone), and for allowing customers to pimp their rolls with additions such as halloumi, feta, hummus, or fried cauliflower or aubergine. It was just behind its neighbour Möllans Falafel with two recommendations. 
But it has perhaps seen better days, with many of our respondents saying they weren’t impressed. “I was personally super disappointed by Jalla Jalla,” complained Belinda Black. 
The interior could certainly do with a refresh, and sometimes the oil can taste a bit off. Still, it’s a dependable favourite, and one of the best places to go in Möllevången.
Photo: Jalla Jalla
Falafel Baghdad 
This writer’s personal favourite, Falafel Baghdad disappointingly got just one recommendation from our ad hoc expat panel. Based in Annelund near the entrance to the Rosengård housing estate, Baghdad is renowned for its mango sauce, which gives its rolls a unique spicy tang. It was also one of the first outlets to start serving falafels in soft Iraqi samoon bread. It’s particularly good for lamb shawarma and Middle Eastern salads. 
It’s a tight operation, the uniformed staff working with military precision, perhaps robbing it of some of the laid-back charm of other outfits. There can be big queues at peak hours. 
Falafel Baghdad after taking a pretty gigantic falafel order. Photo: Falafel Baghdad/Facebook
The best of the rest 
Other falafel joints which got honourable mentions were Falafel no. 1 near the City Gross supermarket in Rosengård, Toppgrillen 1 on Stora Nygatan, which has the benefit of being right next to Malmö’s central pedestrianised district, Ali Baba on Amiralsgatan, Chaplin Grill in Värnhem, and Shawarmaspecialisten off Möllevång Square.
Falafel No.1 in Rosengård was one of the first falafel kiosks in Malmö history. Here it is back in 2009. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT

Enjoy your next falafel! 

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The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager’s dream

Although parts of Sweden are still under snow at this time of year, spring is in full swing here in Skåne in the south of Sweden. Here are The Local's top tips for what you can forage in the great outdoors this season.

The three tasty treats that make spring in Sweden a forager's dream

You might already have your go-to svampställe where you forage mushrooms in autumn, but mushrooms aren’t the only thing you can forage in Sweden. The season for fruits and berries hasn’t quite started yet, but there is a wide range of produce on offer if you know where to look.

Obviously, all of these plants grow in the wild, meaning it’s a good idea to wash them thoroughly before you use them. You should also be respectful of nature and of other would-be foragers when you’re out foraging, and make sure not to take more than your fair share to ensure there’s enough for everyone.

As with all foraged foods, only pick and eat what you know. The plants in this guide do not look similar to any poisonous plants, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry – or ask someone who knows for help.

Additionally, avoid foraging plants close to the roadside or in other areas which could be more polluted. If you haven’t tried any of these plants before, start in small doses to make sure you don’t react negatively to them.

Wild garlic plants in a park in Alnarpsparken, Skåne. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Wild garlic

These pungent green leaves are just starting to pop up in shady wooded areas, and may even hang around as late as June in some areas. Wild garlic or ramsons, known as ramslök in Swedish, smell strongly of garlic and have wide, flat, pointed leaves which grow low to the ground.

The whole plant is edible: leaves, flowers and the bulbs underground – although try not to harvest too many bulbs or the plants won’t grow back next year.

The leaves have a very strong garlic taste which gets weaker once cooked. Common recipes for wild garlic include pesto and herb butter or herbed oil, but it can generally be used instead of traditional garlic in most recipes. If you’re cooking wild garlic, add it to the dish at the last possible moment so it still retains some flavour.

You can also preserve the flower buds and seed capsules as wild garlic capers, known as ramslökskapris in Swedish, which will then keep for up to a year.

Stinging nettles. Wear gloves when harvesting these to protect yourself from their needles. Photo: Johan Nilsson/TT

Stinging nettles

Brännässlor or stinging nettles need to be cooked before eating to remove their sting, although blanching them for a couple of seconds in boiling water should do the trick. For the same reason, make sure you wear good gardening gloves when you pick them so you don’t get stung.

Nettles often grow in the same conditions as wild garlic – shady woodlands, and are often regarded as weeds.

The younger leaves are best – they can get stringy and tough as they get older.

A very traditional use for brännässlor in Sweden is nässelsoppa, a bright green soup made from blanched nettles, often topped with a boiled or poached egg.

Some Swedes may also remember eating stuvade nässlor with salmon around Easter, where the nettles are cooked with cream, butter and milk. If you can’t get hold of nettles, they can be replaced with spinach for a similar result.

You can also dry nettles and use them to make tea, or use blanched nettles to make nettle pesto.

Kirskål or ground elder, another popular foraged green for this time of year.
Photo: Jessica Gow/TT

Ground elder

Ground elder is known as kirskål in Swedish, and can be used much in the same way as spinach. It also grows in shady areas, and is an invasive species, meaning that you shouldn’t be too worried about foraging too much of it (you might even find some in your garden!).

It is quite common in parks and old gardens, but can also be found in wooded areas. The stems and older leaves can be bitter, so try to focus on foraging the tender, younger leaves.

Ground elder has been cultivated in Sweden since at least 500BC, and has been historically used as a medicinal herb and as a vegetable. This is one of the reasons it can be found in old gardens near Swedish castles or country homes, as it was grown for use in cooking.

Kirskål is available from March to September, although it is best eaten earlier in the season.

As mentioned, ground elder can replace spinach in many recipes – you could also use it for pesto, in a quiche or salad, or to make ground elder soup.