North Vancouver bakery specializes in authentic Iranian bread - New Canadian Media
Despite initial failures, Tabrizi's perseverance paid off, and his bread now reflects the authentic taste and texture valued by the Iranian community. Photo: Hamid Jafari

North Vancouver bakery specializes in authentic Iranian bread

You can find both barbari and sangak bread at North Van’s Naan Tabriz, a bakery that feeds off the Iranian passion for a good loaf.

Bread holds a very prominent place in Iranian culture, and for the past several years one North Vancouver man has been rising to the challenge of bringing that flavour to the North Shore.

Since 2017, Alireza Tabrizi has been on a journey from the tech world to the culinary scene. He has perfected traditional Iranian breads like sangak and barbari. His dedication has made Naan Tabriz, a North Vancouver bakery, a beloved spot for those seeking authentic Iranian baked goods (naan means bread in Farsi, and Tabriz is the fourth largest city of Iran).

Tabrizi, 52, relocated to North Vancouver in 2017 after spending time in Montreal and Toronto. Until 2020-2021, he worked as a network engineer, but decided to pursue his passion for baking, founding Naan Tabriz. The bakery specializes in Iranian bread, with sangak and barbari becoming customer favourites.

Transitioning from engineering to baking was no easy feat.

Alireza Tabrizi is the owner of Naan Tabriz, a North Vancouver bakery that specializes in authentic Iranian bread. Sangak bread is baked on a bed of small stones. Photo: Hamid Jafari

“I tried 20 times to mix flour, bran, and whole wheat to make my first barbari,” Tabrizi recalled. “After six months, I was finally able to make it perfect.”

Despite initial failures, his perseverance paid off, and his bread now reflects the authentic taste and texture valued by the Iranian community.

Iranian bread, known as naan, is integral to Iranian culture, symbolizing community and tradition. Each type tells a story of historical and regional diversity, from the soft lavash to the thick barbari and intricate sangak.

Also, bread is closely linked to hospitality for people from the Iranian diaspora. During family gatherings, freshly baked bread is often the centrepiece.

“Bread is crucial to Iranians, playing a significant role in every meal,” Tabrizi explained.

Sangak, baked on a bed of small stones, offers a nutty flavour and textured surface, making it a health-conscious choice due to its whole wheat content. Barbari, with its thick crust and soft crumb, is ideal for pairing with various dishes. Tabrizi’s commitment to health is evident in his avoidance of baking soda and his preference of whole wheat for its health benefits.

Naan Tabriz has become a destination for Iranian bread enthusiasts in North Vancouver. “Sangak is the most popular among the Iranian community,” Tabrizi said. “The barbari and sangak breads have a lot of whole wheat, which make them different from other breads. The bread doesn’t have baking soda, and that’s important because baking soda can be hard on the stomach.”

He also plans to expand his menu to include other Iranian breads, such as lavash and taftan, further enriching the local culinary scene.

Tabrizi’s journey from network engineering to baking is a testament to his passion. Through Naan Tabriz, he continues to share a vital part of Iranian culture, one loaf at a time.


Hamid Jafari is a Vancouver-based New Canadian Media correspondent currently on a work experience placement with Glacier Media. This article was originally published on North Shore News.

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A Vancouver B.C based journalist who writes about the Iranian community in Canada, art, culture and social media trends.

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