Just thinking about falafel—that delightful chickpea fritter of Middle Eastern origin—makes us giddy. The crispy golden balls are fried yet light, and insanely satisfying. When confronted with falafel, you can and should stuff them in warm pita along with hummus, tahini, and hot sauce. If you really mean business, round out your falafel sandwich with a mixture of fresh and pickled vegetables.

We love falafel that comes from all over the country. We love the freshly fried cilantro variety from Taim in NYC, the wait-worthy falafel sandwich at L’As du Fallafel in Paris, and the falafel platter with hummus at Haifa in L.A. Falafel is the way to start 2014 out right.

Click through the slideshow for pictures of the illest falafel on the planet.

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