Food truck review: King of Falafel and Shawarma in Bayside

King of Falafel and Shawarma’s Bayside Food Truck.
Photo by Lauren Berardi

King of Falafel and Shawarma is a staple for Palestinian and Halal cuisine in Queens, having opened its first location in Astoria in 2002. The restaurant also has two food trucks in the borough, located on Bell Boulevard in Bayside and Ditmars Boulevard in Astoria, in addition to two trucks in Manhattan. 

They serve a variety of Halal food, most notably falafels, platters, kebabs and sandwiches. Falafels are usually served in sandwiches and platters, as a side, or even as a sample. Every customer can get a falafel as a sample, according to Nicolas Nuvan on TikTok.

The sandwiches and platters usually include chicken or beef shawarma. The meat is prepared in a special style: thinly slicing it and stacking it on a slow-turning vertical rotisserie to cook. When ready for a dish, it is sliced right off the rotisserie. 

The establishment also offers specials, mainly served over rice and salad. These include “The Teaser,” which offers a selection of all their chicken (shawarma style, kebab style and original), and “Ashley,” a combination of beef and chicken shawarma served with salad and their triple sauce.

This reporter visited the Bayside food truck parked on Bell Boulevard and 42nd Street in front of City MD and The Lazy Cow.

During my visit, not many customers were ordering and waiting for their food in front of the truck, but several people came to pick up mobile orders. One person was working in the truck, taking and making orders for both in-person and online/pickup orders. 

It took me a little bit of time to decide what to get, considering this was my first time trying Palestinian food, but the chef was patient with me and was overall very friendly and helpful. 

Falafel sample. Photo by Lauren Berardi

While figuring out what to order, I was given a falafel as a sample to munch on as I waited. I didn’t expect this and was pleasantly surprised when the chef called out to give it to me.

The falafel had a crunchy outside and a chewy inside. The inside was made of chickpeas, garlic, onions, parsley and a blend of “secret spices” ground together and deep-fried in vegetable oil. It was fresh from the fryer, still steaming, as the chef handed it to me wrapped in a napkin.

After studying the menu for a bit more, I decided to order a chicken shawarma sandwich with white and tahini sauce and their house salad, which includes lettuce, tomato, turnip and pickles, all packed into a pita. Hot sauce is also an option.

Chicken Shawarma Sandwich from King of Falafel and Shawarma. Photo by Lauren Berardi

The sandwich had a great mixture of flavors: savory, tangy, sour and a pinch of sweetness. The savoriness comes from the chicken. Two vertical rotisseries with chicken and beef were in the truck, being cooked right before me. The fresh and hot pita was also an excellent addition. 

Overall, it was a great experience getting the food and eating it. I have wanted to try Palestinian food for a while now, and I’m glad I was able to support a local business in my area.

King of Falafel and Shawarma, I will be coming back soon.

The main restaurant is located at 30-15 Broadway in Astoria. The Astoria food truck is located at 31st Street and Ditmars Boulevard. Prices for entrees range from $8-$20 and sides range from $0.50-$6. 

Business hours range from 11 a.m. to 10-11 p.m. Food is also available for delivery via third-party apps or by calling their respective phone numbers.

For more information, visit their website at thekingfalafel.com