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Izräel Shop in the Marais in Paris

Izräel reminds me of the “ma-ma” stores we have in Singapore. It’s packed from floor to ceiling with jars, bottles, tins, cans, packets of food that only the owners can find and retrieve. There are dried chillies hanging from the ceiling and sacks and sacks of beans, rice, nuts on the floor. There is an old scale that weighs the produce and an even older cash register.

The store has been around for 70 years. The current owners inherited it from their parents. And their son and granddaughter were in the store helping out on Saturday. They were explaining to me that they are not changing anything (I can see that!) and want to keep it “the way it used to be”. I thought they were doing a good job of running the store efficiently, while keeping its romantic history. Izräel is probably one of the last bastions of food stores from the 1930s that have not been bought out or razed to the grounds.

Izräel is a purveyor of delicacies from the Middle East, like rose water, violet flowers, and every spice needed for a good kafta or tangine. You get a brief “smell tour” of what the souks must be like in Dubai or Tehran or Morocco. Lentils de Puy are EUR12 per kilo, blanched almonds are EUR44 per kilo, pine nuts are EUR19 per kilo… Izräel also stocks produce from the United States, which doesn’t come cheap. I found Ocean Spray Cranberry juice and Ocean Spray cranberry jelly* for EUR4.50 each and a small jar of Jif peanut butter is EUR9! That’s 11 US Dollars! I’m sure others might find paying EUR5 for a small bottle of rose water exorbitant, while I consider it to be a small price to pay for something so “exotic”.

Value lies in the eyes of the beholder, doesn’t it?

Store Front of Izräel in the Marais in Paris

30 rue François Miron
75004, Paris
Métro : Saint Paul
Credit cards accepted above EUR15

*Carrefour supermarket now carries Ocean Spray cranberry products for 70% of the price at Izräel... but not Jif peanut butter.


Love the photo!


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