Super Arzon Food Market
Super Arzon Food Market is one of those zany places that feels like it could only exist in Toronto. Open 24 hours, it’s part grocery store, part bakery, part bulk shop, part hot counter and part restaurant. A soft serve machine pumps out saffron ice cream, and it feels like anything could happen, like a hot counter rush at 3 a.m. or a sudden sample of baklava cake.
Everything that’s prepared is made here in the store, in the basement. If you wander into the shelves of plastic-wrapped Barbari and other breads, you might catch a glimpse of a stack of trays making its way down into the oven by elevator. Customers hustle to the cash carrying multiple loaves that stretch several feet.
It’s a tight squeeze in here but you’re led fairly naturally from produce and baked goods to the bulk and bread sections and eventually to more general groceries before arriving at the hot counter and kebab station. There’s a bit of seating here where you can chow down what you've bought.
Hot counter combos run in the five to 10 dollar range. Lamb shank, chicken legs and fried fish are accompanied by combinations of rice, lentils and raisins or rice and beans, or crispy Persian rice.
The thing to come here for is definitely the kebabs, which are $2.49 - $3.99 apiece, though that seems way too cheap to me. Perhaps this is just a great price because the meat is excellent.
Skewers of hearts, liver and kidneys are grilled over an open flame by a curmudgeonly but talented cook, presented over pita bread that catches the juicy drippings. They’re all so meaty and smoky, but my favourite are the kidneys, bursting with flavour and nicely round and crispy.
In a fridge opposite the soft serve machine are cups of faluda layered with saffron soft serve for $5.99. Cones are $2.99 for a small and $3.99 for a large, and the soft serve is creamy, dense and exploding with distinct saffron flavour.
Huge loaves of barbari and mashadi sesame-topped flatbread sell for low prices around $2.99.
It’s a hive of activity in here, and I imagine you can only quickly find what you’re looking for if you already know where it is. Despite its labyrinthine nature and the sensory overload I experience, I leave with a belly full of organ meats and saffron ice cream and wouldn’t mind feeling the same way at some ungodly hour in the future.