We hear very little about the Iranian diaspora. Yet there are 2 to 3 million Iranians around the world. Their country of destination : the US and notably Los Angeles (also known as Tehrangeles), Europe and Dubai. In Paris, Iranians have settled in different areas. They buy their home food at the rue des Entrepreneurs.
The shops and restaurants are concentrated between the 59th and the 72nd rue des Entrepreneurs. This bit of street gathers:
- – 4 restaurants: Mazeh, Cheminée Royale. Koukou and Guylas opened less than a year ago
- – 3 groceries: Eskan, Sepide and Bazartche
You will mostly find food. To eat or to take away. Or ingredients to make your own meals at home. But Iranian groceries not only provide food; they offer a wide range of products. People want rice cookers, then we provide them with rice cookers, says Mr Varam from the Eskan grocery which sells more than 200 items.
The Best seller among the French:
- – at the Eskan grocery: pastries sell like hot cakes
- – at the Mazeh restaurant: the French love safran chicken and basmati rice with morello cherry
The Best seller among the Iranians:
- – at the Eskan grocery: basmati rice (and I’m not talking about the superkmarket basmati rice, but the finest rice coming from Indian rice fields) and products to cook khoresht
- – at the Mazeh restaurant: lamb kebab and safran basmati rice, a classic among Iranians and a difficult meal to cook at home
When Mazeh and Eskan opened in the mid 80s, most of the clients were Iranians. Today, most of the clients are French. “We would not have lasted 30 years here with the Iranian community as the only clients,” explains Mr Tavassoli from the Mazeh restaurant. The community is too small compared to Los Angeles, England or Germany. Mr Tavassoli is even proud of the fact that “the French love our gastronomy, our warmth and hospitality.”
Why the 15th district?
Mr Tavassoli was the first one to open an Iranian shop in Paris in 1984. Why did he choose the 15th district? He followed the Iranian community who had settled in the high towers of the Beaugrenelle district. Iranians had bought estates there with the money from the oil shock of 1973. The district was thus the first point where Iranians landed in Paris after the 1979 revolution.