June 23, 2024

A flavor of Afghanistan and Persia in North Vancouver

Afghan and Persian cuisines unite to produce a cultural dining expertise on the North Shore

In the middle of Central Lonsdale in North Vancouver, there is a restaurant called Mehman.

Past being a cafe, this spot aims to deliver unique cultures jointly by way of Afghan and Persian dishes.

Alireza Heidari, founder of the restaurant, is originally from Afghanistan and arrived in Canada in 2009.

He was born and lifted in Tehran, Iran. Soon after moving to North Vancouver he at first labored at numerous Persian dining places, as it experienced always been a purpose of his “to open a restaurant and introduce Afghan dishes to the neighborhood community,” in advance of opening his personal company on Lonsdale Ave in 2014. 

He desired to provide a combine of Mediterranean delicacies, drawing from his working experience with the two Persian and Afghan meals.

“I am from those nations, so I have knowledge with this form of delicacies,” he reported, incorporating how Central Lonsdale’s “significant Persian population” designed it the fantastic spot to create a cafe like Mehman. 

When requested the significance of the restaurant’s title and its relation to the restaurant’s mission, Heidari said Mehman signifies “guest.”

“Picking out this identify signifies that our consumers are normally regarded specific guests,” he explained. 

Mehman’s menu has been curated to showcase the range of flavours from these areas.

“Most of our main dishes are from these two international locations, like Koobideh, Joojeh, or Barg,” said Heidari.

“There are some other Afghan dishes that are really well-liked, like Qabuli Polow or Choopan kabab.”

Heidari, including that these dishes are “especially loved by Arab people”, explained he thinks offering them in North Vancouver will deliver consciousness to his elements of his tradition. 

He discussed that, because varied cultures coexist in Canada, Center Eastern people today have the opportunity to introduce their cuisine to other individuals.

“We now witness men and women from different nations acquiring acquainted with Persian dishes. Kababs, for instance, have received prevalent reputation among a lot of cultures. In excess of the very last 15 yrs of staying in Canada, I’ve noticed a growing desire among individuals in Middle Eastern food items,” he claimed.

Heidari stated Mehman is contributing to the wealthy culinary landscape of Central Lonsdale.

“In Canada, folks are open to trying different cuisines. Each individual restaurant is welcoming to a variety of cultures.”

He reported the effects on the regional local community is also substantial.

“We’ve experienced shoppers who have been residing in Canada for an prolonged time. They attempted our Persian dishes, notably our Koobideh, and they expressed that it brought back memories from 30 yrs back when they have been living in Tehran.”

The local assistance has pushed Heidari to consider adding some new dishes to Mehman’s menu.

“There are a good deal of people who are fascinated in making an attempt Afghan dishes,” he stated.

“Running a foodstuff business is constantly a little tricky. When individuals see the high-quality, they are coming back and inquiring for much more and for new dishes. I’d like to increase conventional Afghan dishes like Ashak and Mantu, which men and women talk to for.”

Irrespective of a great deal of the Afghan inhabitants residing in Vancouver, Mehman is the only cafe in North Vancouver that serves Afghan dishes, said Heidari.

In August 2021, thousands of Afghan refugees arrived in Canada next the Taliban’s assumption of management about the region.

According to Immigration, Refugees, and Citizenship Canada, around the earlier two years, Canada has welcomed 36,000 Afghans. Ottawa’s intention is to confess 40,000 Afghan refugees by the close of 2023.

Virtually all Afghan Canadians reside in significant metropolitan metropolitan areas this sort of as Toronto, Montreal, and Vancouver. Even so, there are only close to 13 Afghan dining places in Vancouver B.C., according to a lookup result on Uber EATS.

Hamid Jafari is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist who writes about the Iranian local community in Canada, artwork, society, and social media trends. His get the job done for the North Shore Information is supported by New Canadian Media. [email protected]