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Middle eastern/Armenian/Arabic grocers

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Hi everyone,

I am still looking in the westendToronto /Mississauga areas for a good Middle eastern/Armenian/Arabic grocer. I can get what I need in the Warden and Lawrence area, but living in the Hammer, I was hoping to find somewhere on my route home.

I would need one with a meat/deli section since I am addicted to Bastarma and Bulgarian Feta (Arabic) Cheese.

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  1. First off, I'm not sure I know what the hammer is, but if you're heading out west, there are a few Assyrian grocers that sell those middle eastern goods you're looking for.

    At Islington and Albion, near all those indian restaurants, is Semiramis grocers...its just east of Islington on Albion, on the south side of Albion. Surrounded by a couple of roti shops. While you're there, go over to Semiramis bakery and have a real gus, the Iraqi way of making shawarama...here its not in a pita, but in fresh bread baked right there in a tanoor, just before making the sandwich.

    Further down Albion at Hwy 27 is another Assyrian grocer called Somer Market.

    There's one on Steeles at Jane called Layth Supermarket.

    There's one in the complex where Vaughan Mills is at called Baghdad Market. ANother awesome restaurant next to it selling gus, this one in pita.

    Finally, there is a place up on Crestlawn in Mississauga (just south of Eglinton on Dixie) called Paramount Foods.

    Happy shopping.

    btw - to your point, basterma is usually sold in the freezer section and feta cheese may come in cans, or pails, as well, not necessarily in brine in the cooler cabinet. These grocers stock labnah and other cheeses as well. I should tell you that if you go to the Baghadad Market near Vaughn Mills, there is a Highland farms there that typically has bulgarian feta at a pretty good price in their cabinets and on the shelf. Just so you know. Same with the Highland farms at Dufferin and Supertest.

    7 Replies
    1. re: bluesbreaker1969

      Last time I was in Arz in Scarborough, the sales girl behind the counter actually asked me where someone that looked like me (Typical Irish lass, freckles, and red hair) would have heard of Basterma. At Arz and Nasr (as well as most of the other meat shops) around Lawrence E and Warden the bastarma is fresh.

      The Hammer is, Hamilton. I work in Toronto but live in Hamilton, so going west is much easier for me than to track out to Scarborough when I need things. Thank you for your suggestions west, that will make it more convenient for me.

      1. re: smr714

        I have relatives in Scarborough that frequent Nasr's. However, I have not tried their basterma. I grew up on Ararat's basterma before there were closer Assyrian grocers (I'm in the West end but in Etobicoke)...and it was vaccum packed in the cooler. Do you eat the basterma with eggs?

        1. re: bluesbreaker1969

          Sometimes with scrambled eggs -- I add the bastarma before the eggs I find that is the best flavour, or with the feta cheese in arabic bread or just out of the meat drawer in the fridge. If I have good bastarma in the house it doesn't last long.

          I was introduced to the arabic foods last christmas when I visited friends in LA, now I can't get enough of some of the items.

          1. re: smr714

            yes - I fry the basterma slices first, crack the eggs over top and fry them (tossing oil on the yolks to make them like over easy)....then fresh pita, olives and some feta or romano cheese for after. hot tea and your ready to rock and roll.

            1. re: bluesbreaker1969

              When I get home tonight I will now have to pull out some of the hidden basterama I have been saving...... I can't stop thinking about it.

              1. re: smr714

                hahah...

                naneeloukh!

      2. re: bluesbreaker1969

        When you are in the east end, the shops on Lawrence have the bastarma on the deli counters, some have more than one kind so I taste before I buy.

      3. you could also try to go to yonge st., between finch and steeles. there are a few places there (iranian) where you can get what you need. i usually go to super arzon.

        1. smr,

          1. God bless the Hammer.
          2. Check out Mississauga near Hurontario/Dundas. There is Nader's Halal Meats just west of Hurontario on Dundas and further north there is Town and Country grocers (I think that's what it's called!) in the Popeye's plaza on Hurontario. Also, on Erin Mills and Eglinton there is a place called Mona's Fine Foods. All three places are decent.

          1 Reply
          1. re: pakmode

            Thanks, I used to be an east end toronto Gal, but a few years ago I moved to Hamilton (still work in Toronto) because I was able to buy/build a waterfront home. My morning coffee and bagel on the deck on a weekend morning makes me never regret the commute.

            So my old shopping haunts are too far away, and I need to learn more in the west.

          2. For Armenian items, I'd go straight to Ararat on Avenue Rd. I know it's not exactly west end or Mississauga, but if you're coming into the midtown area for any reason, it's worth a stop there. The owners are so nice.

            I love Bulgarian feta as well, but I also adore Macedonian feta. It has a totally different consistency (creamier) and is less salty. I'm not sure who sells it in Toronto, but I have no trouble buying it here in Windsor. My Lebanese source here carries a half dozen different fetas, among them the Macedonian and Bulgarian incarnations.

            I have yet to taste basterma, but will be making a visit to Ararat or Nasr to pick some up this weekend, thanks to this thread. I always assumed basterma was just Turkish, but didn't consider that numerous countries in the region would do their own versions.

            2 Replies
            1. re: 1sweetpea

              1sweetpea, you should call ahead to see if Nasr is open, since it was closed the last time I was there (a week or so ago). Maybe Arz on Lawrence E. would be a better bet.

              1. re: Yongeman

                Thanks, Yongeman! I'll probably start with Ararat anyway. I'll only head east if I come up empty-handed. I'll be sure to call both Nasr and Arz, before going.

            2. This seems to be a new store with lots of middle eastern groceries, check it out:

              2380 TEDLO Street
              mississauga, on
              l5a 3v3
              905 276-2222