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LET'S EAT: Newmarket butcher guides customers to experience new flavours

Persia Meat Shop 2 is just one of the many establishments offering ethnic foods, products across Newmarket

While Persia Meat Shop 2, Newmarket branch, serves Persian meat, customers of the local butcher shop come from more places than just Iran.

“Sixty per cent of my customers are not Persian, but come from other countries,” said Reza Manesh, the owner of the Davis Drive butcher shop. They come “because the quality of our meat is very good. It’s very natural.”

The veal, lamb, goat and chicken Manesh sells at his shop are Halal certified, which means the meat is “manufactured in compliance with halal requirements,” according to the Halal Monitoring Authority, which is based out of Scarborough. Halal means “permissible” or food that is fit for consumption by people who are of the Muslim faith. 

One such requirement of Halal certification is that the blood is drained from the animal, which offers a better meat, with less of that meat smell, Manesh said.

People also come to the butcher shop for the reasonable prices (“compared to other butchers, big or small”) and to tap into Manesh’s knowledge of the meat he sells, as well as how to best cook it so they get the most flavourful food experience.

“If a customer tells me he is making ossobuco (an Italian comfort food dish), I know which cut of meat is good, how I can cut it and how to cook it (to get the most flavour) so we can guide customers to buy the right meat. We know meat and how meat and cooking” work together. 

Manesh said he offers great customer service: “Anything you want, I can do it for you.”

Manesh opened the Newmarket branch of Persia Meat Shop two years ago. The first location opened in Richmond Hill more than 15 years ago. Manesh worked at the Richmond Hill location for about 12 years and opened Persia Meat Shop 2, Newmarket branch, to serve customers who were coming from this community as well as Aurora, Keswick and Bradford. 

Newmarket, he said, was a central location and “I love it.”

In addition to meat, Manesh has a small grocery section offering Persian products, as well as products from various other countries, including Indian and Pakistan. New to his shop is a marination section, where people can choose their type and cut of meat and create custom marination from the spices and sauces he has available.

What Manesh said he loves about his shop is the mix of people who come by: Persians who are looking to make some of their favourite traditional dishes and non-Persians, who are either looking for meat for their own dishes or who are interested in bringing new flavours into their homes by asking questions about different meats he offers and how to cook it.

“We guide them the right way to make these same dishes. We are bringing new culture and new approach to the people of Newmarket.”

According to a 2022 Newmarket Today story, and using data collected in the 2021 census from Statistics Canada, in the last five years, Asian countries have been the main source of immigrants here: “2,585 came from Asia, led by China (705), Iran (545) and Phillippines (380).  

“The share of new immigrants from Africa also increased,” Statistics Canada said in the earlier story. “Together, immigrants, Indigenous people...and their descendants have helped shape Canada as it is known today.” 

Newmarket is the home to a number of ethnic grocery stores, where you can try different foods including: 

  • Alianza Latina Convenience, on Bayview Avenue, offers groceries from Latin countries.
  • British Fine Foods and Bakery, on Timothy Street, offers groceries, bakery and a butcher.
  • Golsun Fine Foods, on Bayview Avenue, offers Iran food including groceries, a butcher and hot food. 
  • JB Supermarket, on Main Street, offers groceries and international flavours including Persian.
  • Paeez Fine Foods, on Yonge Street, is also a Persian, offering groceries, a butcher, a bakery and hot food.
  • Panchratna Supermarket, on Davis Drive, offers South Asian food, spices and snacks.
  • Ranch Fresh Supermarket, on Stonehaven Avenue, offers Asian foods and groceries.
  • The Samosa Master Inc. on Davis Drive, offers South Asian groceries and a hot table.
  • Win Kuang Asian Foods, on Yonge Street, offers groceries.
  • Vatan Fine Foods, on Yonge Street, offers Middle Eastern groceries.