'Toronto' Khorak Supermarket
Khorak Supermarket, affectionately known as Super Khorak, is a Persian grocery store on Yonge Street that's been in business since 1989.
The place may look a little run down, but the owners are currently planning to give it a makeover. They've commissioned the folks behind Pusateri's who'll work at nighttime to implement big aesthetic changes; it'll be business as usual during the day.
In-store highlights include a wide variety of imported products. Blocks of Iranian honey comb, bulk nuts, teas, unripened cheeses, rock sugar and more fill the aisles.
You'll find a nose-to-tail selection of halal meats at the butcher counter, including hooves and lambs heads, which are popular ingredients in Persian cooking.
Flatbreads like lavash, taftoon and osku top the few tables that make up the bakery section.
It's not hard to find the real gems; just look for the crowds clamouring for freshly baked barbari and sangak as staff transfer these breads from the ovens in the back to cooling racks upfront.
The produce section is another source of pride for Super Khorak. Pomegranates, sweet lemons and raw green almonds are prominently displayed, while a usual assortment of fresh fruit and vegetables are also accounted for.
It's the epic lunch counter, however, that I'm most familiar with. Here, rows of raw kebabs wait to hit the grill while stews bubble away.
Tacheen is among the highlights for me. The saffron-stained rice dish boasts a golden crust and comes filled with morsels of chicken and topped with tangy barberries.
Next I have some ghormeh sabzi, a fragrant stew of sautéed herbs that's swimming with tender bits of chicken and kidney beans. It's a comforting, complex and bitter dish that's served with sides of chelo (rice).
Another ultra-filling savoury dish is lemony roasted chicken so tender it literally falls off the bone. It's served over sour cherry rice, giving the whole thing a contrasting sweet and sour flavour.
The eggplant is another personal fave. It's stewed with tomatoes, onions and turmeric. It looks as greasy as an oil slick but tastes sweet and luscious.
As shopworn as the store is, this place is a local gem. The incoming renos will make it attractive to a whole new generation, but aside from sprucing up the interior, I hope nothing changes.
Photos by Jesse Milns