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North Vancouver’s Mashti Café brings back banned Iranian milkshake

According to popular belief, the regime banned the drink because it was thought to enhance sexual potency.

In the heart of Lonsdale Avenue, Mashti Café, a new establishment on the street, offers a taste of nostalgia for the Iranian diaspora with its flagship product, Majon, a milkshake that was banned for decades in Iran.

After the Islamic Revolution and the establishment of the Islamic Republic in Iran, authorities prohibit drinking alcohol, and later, Majon.

In Persian, Mashti can be linked to the English concept of “cool.”

Armin Nejad Yousefi, a 35-year-old Persian singer and the founder of Mashti Café, migrated to Canada five years ago. He graduated with a master’s degree in food science and has more than a decade of experience.

“Everything we are doing here involves a huge team effort. The concept behind Mashti Café originates from our experience with a juice bar, and the inspiration comes from Akbar Mashti ice cream, the most traditional and enjoyable ice cream in Iran,” he said, highlighting the collaboration with his partner, Hooman Khabbaz. “We prepare the ice cream here using top-of-the-line equipment, which plays a crucial role on our menu.”

Alongside the ice cream, they offer their flagship Majon, which includes banana, pistachio, walnut, coconut, cashew, a small slice of pineapple, honey, and ice cream.

Nejad Yousefi describes the shake as more than enough for your day.

“Majon helps you with your energy, handling hard work and training,” he said, noting the regime’s rationale for banning it. “According to popular belief, the decision was made because they thought the shake enhanced sexual potency.”

The authorities never announced their main reason for the restriction. Over the years, the shake was prepared and consumed underground in Iran, but it is now freely served there.

However, Nejad Yousefi emphasizes that freshness is their competitive advantage compared to other cafes.

“We aim to bring Iran’s taste, culture, and colour to the community. Our menu has a minimum number of items, but everything is fresh. We offer carrot juice, orange juice, and all other juice, freshly made to order. When an order comes in, we prepare the juice 100 per cent fresh.”

Twenty people are currently working behind the scenes of the café. They also aim to create an enjoyable atmosphere.

“People coming here can enjoy good music and even play games. They can have fun,” according to Nejad Yousefi.

Mashti Café opened its doors at the end of March.

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. itshamidjafari@gmail.com