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New takeout restaurant brings authentic Iranian cuisine to North Vancouver

Parse Persian Food offers a variety of Iranian traditional dishes, including Abgoosht, Ghormeh Sabzi, Koofteh and Ash
Sabrieh Safari, a.k.a. Mama Sabi, is the head chef of Parse Persian Food, a new family-owned takeout establishment in North Vancouver. | Hamid Jafari / North Shore News

Her name is Sabrieh Safari, and her children call her Mama Sabi.

She arrived in Canada about five years ago to join her family. Now, she has decided to roll up her sleeves and get to work. Mama Sabi is the head chef of Parse Persian Food, a new, family-owned takeout establishment in North Vancouver. She has five children, including a daughter who lives far from the North Shore in Tehran, Iran; a son who lives in Toronto; and two other sons and a daughter who all live in North Vancouver.

“When I arrived in Canada, I wanted to reunite with my family. But now they need my support more than ever, and I’m here to help them,” she says, reflecting on her journey from dedicated housewife to head chef. She was always a housewife, dedicated to raising and supporting her children. Whatever they wanted to eat, she could cook their favorite dishes in a matter of seconds, ready to be enjoyed.

Also, she emphasized that the inspiration behind starting Parse restaurant is “to support the family,” as this is a restaurant operated by the family.

According to Mama Sabi, homemade foods can distinguish the restaurant from others.

“It’s homemade cooking, like a taste of home with authentic food. I think that’s very significant and could set us apart from other Persian restaurants.”

The restaurant offers a variety of Iranian traditional dishes, including Abgoosht (a hearty and flavorful stew made with lamb or beef, chickpeas, white beans, potatoes, and tomatoes), Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian herb stew), Koofteh (Persian meatballs), Ash (Persian noodle soup with herbs and beans), and more.

Parisa Oqani, one of Mama Sabi’s children and a key player in the family business, emphasizes the restaurant’s mission to share Iran’s flavours with the community.

“It’s more than just food; it’s a taste of our culture,” she explains.

Oqani pointed out that they decided to open the restaurant before the COVID-19 pandemic hit the world, but the pandemic delayed their plans. She added, “I’m a public health nurse. I serve the community in another way and am proud of what I do.”

Oqani believes that the restaurant can serve as a bridge for people to experience the flavours of Iran.

“It offers an opportunity for everyone who wants to taste authentic Iranian cuisine.”

The takeout restaurant is located at 1588 MacGowan St., North Vancouver, and started serving on March 18, the start of the Persian New Year, Nowruz.

Hamid Jafari is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist who writes about the Iranian community in Canada, art, culture, and social media trends. His work for the North Shore News is supported by New Canadian Media.