Iranians crying out for taste of home

Brothers Hamed and Mohammad Musawi with the sangak. 137066 Picture: ROB CAREW


A LITTLE Dandenong bakery is bringing people to tears with its bread.
Dandy Naan and Kebab in Stud Road opened its doors on 1 August last year and has since built a loyal following of sangak fans.
The demand is so great that its owners have their sights on a factory to mass-produce the Persian flat bread.
Co-owner Mohammad Musawi said their’s was the only shop in Australia producing the naan-like bread.
“In Iran they make it in a clay oven and they use little river stones,” he said.
“Here we are not allowed to use those ovens because they’re not safe.
“We looked on the internet and we found a company that makes the oven without using any stones.
“We imported it from Iran. It took about two months to come here by boat and ship.”
Mr Musawi’s next challenge was tracking down the right flour.
“We tried at least 50 different kinds of flour and came up with this one we’re using now,” he said.
“We had friends to come in and taste it.
“The dough is very wet and if it’s not wholemeal the baker can’t shape it.
“Because we use wholemeal flour it’s a very healthy bread. We don’t use any oil. No sugar, no oil, no milk and no white flour. We use a very little bit of salt.”
Mr Musawi said Iranians used bread at every meal.
“Some people, they eat bread with bread! They put the bread inside this bread and eat it,” he said.
“In Iran, this is the best bread. It’s more expensive than other breads.
“Most Iranian families use this bread for breakfast. It tastes good with all meals, especially with kebabs.”
He said most of Melbourne’s Iranian population was in the Doncaster area.
“We chose Dandenong because the Afghan people here know the bread as well,” he said.
Customers travel from the eastern suburbs – and from as far away as South Australia and Queensland.
Some hadn’t tasted the bread in almost 10 years.
“I’ll have to put a camera up for when our customers come in for the first time so you can see the emotion. They’re all crying to see this bread,” he said.
The shop had also been serving a sweet Iranian bread called shirmal, but it’s currently off the menu while its baker is overseas.
Mr Musawi said it was the only place in Dandenong selling Persian kebabs.
“The Afghan kebabs, they use more herbs and make it more spicy but ours is without herbs and this is the taste that Iranian people love,” he said.
Dandy Naan was among five businesses that were successful in this year’s City of Greater Dandenong’s Business Grants Program which was announced on 25 March.
Each business was reimbursed for up to $8000 spent on applicable goods and received about $2000 in advice from the Small Business Mentoring Service.
Mr Musawi said the mentoring sessions had helped him learn new business skills and find direction.
“My plan is to extend this business to a factory,” he said.
“We have many customers who live away. We do deliveries every day to their area but it’s not enough. We can’t make more bread to cover all the areas.
“We want to mass-produce the bread and send it all over Victoria.”
His plan would involve importing another oven.
“This one makes about 800 a day, but the other one makes more than 3000 a day, so we want to get that one,” he said.
City of Greater Dandenong’s Business Grants Program is designed to encourage business growth, attract investment and generate jobs.
The Journal supports the program and will profile each of the successful businesses.