Journalist Sarah Efron explores strip malls and hole-in-the-wall restaurants in search of the city's best ethnic food

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Inside an Afghan bread factory in Scarborough

If you're from Afghanistan and living in Toronto and you need something, you'll likely end up at Saleem Caravan Farm at 565 Markham Road in Scarborough. They sell halal pizza and woven carpets; you can get your passport photo taken and exchange money; you can get your computer fixed and buy into a new apartment complex in Kabul. But the best reason to come here is the wonderful Afghani bread.
All photos on this post by Jennifer Hollett
We asked to take a peek inside the kitchen in the back where they bake the bread, and the friendly manager Tariq was happy to oblige. The bread is called naan, but it's bigger than Indian naan, explains Tariq, so it can be shared amongst the very large Afghan families.

The various varieties of bread are rolled out and put into a giant oven that cooks 50 loaves of bread at once. The oven is 560 degrees, says Tariq, so the bread only takes five or six minutes to cook. 

Yummy warm blankets of bread emerge from the oven. There are whole wheat and buttered varieties with sesame and black seed. The bolani is a flat bread stuff with leeks, potato and veggies--it makes a wonderful meal all by itself. 

Saleem Caravan makes around 500 loaves of bread a day during the week and close to 1,000 on the weekends and it's all sold right here in the shop. They sell for just $1.25 or $2.00.

The also have a food counter that they start filling up in the early afternoon. We had a type of pilaf rice with carrots and raisins and some wonderfully tender beef, plus spinach, dahl made with tomatoes and a flat type of samosa stuffed with meat and onion. For drinks, there's a carbonated yogurt soda--the bottle says to shake before drinking, with somewhat explosive results.

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  1. This is fantastic! I used to go to Cedarbrae, so I would often pass this place. Unfortunately, I never went inside. But it's definitely interesting to see what I missed!

    A Scarborough Blog

  2. Great blog Clara! So far I've found that the best food in the GTA is in Scarborough. Let me know if there's places I should check out.

  3. I grew up around the corner from this (though it wasn't open then). Next time I'm stalking my old house I'll definitely go! Not sure about the yogourt soda, though...

  4. Barclay, If you go pick me up some bread!