100 Favorite OC Dishes, #74: Whole Chicken Combo at Falafelo

Hidden inside the Fresh Choice Marketplace food court, Falafelo is an unassuming Mediterranean food stall that offers giant falafels and shawarma, vegetarian options and—most importantly—one of the best grilled-whole-chicken combos in the county. For $14.99, you get the spread above, which includes a whole chicken under a bed of rice, a side salad seasoned with sumac, a homemade earthy hummus, a large sheet of lavash, and a heaping cup of addictive garlic spread ala Zankou Chicken.

Once you place your order, they cut up a flattened and par-cooked chicken, place it in a metal press and finish it on the grill in three glorious stages. First, the cook re-chars the bird, making sure to add a deep layer of flavor from the grill by blackening each piece.

He then takes the press and makes a chicken teepee, smoking the chicken for a few minutes with the oil and fat that drips off the charred bits down to the flames below.

Finally, each hunk of meat is basted with a house barbecue sauce that includes loads of garlic, lemon juice, chicken fat, oil and various special spices. Tossing and slamming the flat metal press on the grill in an eruption of flame, the marinated chicken is finished with a complex crust of Maillard reactions (look it up!) that tastes equally rich, fatty and acidic with a funk of garlic and fragrant herbs. 

Complete your order by choosing between white rice, Spanish rice, or curry rice with cranberries (go with the curry!), and you’ll have a feast worthy of its own KFC multi-actor commercials or something… 

Falafelo, 9922 Katella Ave., Garden Grove, (714)638-8699.

The List:

75. Toothpick Lamb at Sichuan Impression 
76. Hainan Chicken Rice at Baos Hog 
77. Fruit- and Ice Cream-Topped Waffles at Crave 
78. Garlic Shrimp Poke at Costco 
79. Chimichurri Fries at Piaggo on Wheels 
80. Torta Cubana at Cancun Juice 
81. Adobo Bowl at Irenia 
82. Garlic Noodles at Krave Asian Fusion 
83. Broccolini at SeaSalt WoodFire Grill 
84. Spicy Tuna Roll at Yard House 
85. Amber Roll at Orange Roll and Sushi 
86. Frito Chili Cheeseburger at Burger Parlor 
87. Maui Sunrise at The Original Banzai Bowls 
88. Meals from The Performance Kitchen 
89. Pizza-Sized Quesadilla at Los Sanchez
90. Filipino Brunch at EATS Kitchen And Bar
91. Mexican Chocolate at the Pie Hole 
92. Biscuits at James Republic 
93. Mushroom Flatbread with Kale and Kumquat Salad at Lemonade 
94. Mexican-Style Gelatins from Santa Ana’s Gelatina Goddess 
95. Hot Pastrami Caesar Salad at Bruxie
96. Jalapeño Pupusas at Las Cazuelas
97. Meatball Sliders at Fresh Brothers
98. Buffalo Cauliflower at Mead’s Green Door Cafe
99. Raindrop Cake at Sunmerry Bakery
100. Doughrito at Surfin’ Donuts

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