With three studios in some of the coolest parts of the city, Bikram Yoga Vancouver is bound to have some pretty amazing neighbours. After getting your yoga fix at the West End, head over to Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts on Denman. One of Lisa’s favourite food spots (look for the gorgeous wood cabinetry and crystal chandeliers swinging from the ceiling), this store carries a wide range of healthy snacks, including hand-roasted nuts, dried fruit, aromatic teas, spices and real Turkish coffee.
Business name: Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts
Owner: Ayoub Hosseini
Address: 986 Denman Street
Products: A wide range of good-for-you snacks, including dry-roasted hazelnuts, walnuts, figs, mulberries, raw almonds and specialty trail mixes
For Ayoub Hosseini, the fruit-and-nut business is more than just a job – it’s a way of life. Ever since he learned his craft in his native Iran in the early 1980s, this professional chef’s passion for food has driven him to continuously perfect his recipes and methods. The result? A difference you can see, hear, smell and, most importantly, taste.
 [IMAGE CREDIT:  Lyndsay Greenwood]
His concept is simple: select only the highest-quality raw ingredients from the most trusted suppliers in the world and combine them with a variety of sweet and savoury flavours (a top-secret blend of lime and saffron, for instance) for snacks that are second to none.
Among Ayoub’s nut products: cashews from India, almonds from California, walnuts from Chile and pistachios from Iran, plus hazelnuts, peanuts and just about every other variety imaginable. All are dry-roasted on site (meaning they may still be warm when you buy them) and beautifully displayed in beautiful handmade silver and copper bowls.
Besides being delicious, these nuts offer a range of health benefits. Never deep-fried and with no added salt, they’re an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and pregnant women and may even help lower the risk of heart disease (some studies show a 32% decrease in heart attack in women who consumed at least five ounces of nuts per day).
 [IMAGE CREDIT:  Lyndsay Greenwood]
And though they’re high in fat, Ayoub says not to worry – nuts contain the good kind of fat that helps to regulate brain function, build muscle and give you the energy you need to practise Bikram Yoga (try them in our posted recipe for Primal Nut Bars).
In addition to raw, roasted or seasoned nuts, the store makes and sells dried fruit (kiwis, plums, figs, dates, lemons, oranges, apples and bananas, all more moist and flavourful than the pre-packaged, commercial kind), vegetable chips, dried pumpkin and watermelon seeds and a Middle Eastern specialty called tur?u – a traditional vegetable chutney served with most Persian meals. Buy ’em in bulk or prettily packaged. Best of all, taste testing is encouraged (we’re definitely nuts about that!).

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