Manakeesh - the favorite breakfast in the Middle East

Manakeesh - the favorite breakfast in the Middle East

adventure travel & photography

Destinations: Pakistan ◦◦ India ◦◦Turkey ◦◦ Egypt ◦◦ Bulgaria ◦◦ Mongolia ◦◦ Bangladesh ◦◦ Jordan ◦◦ Russia ◦◦ Turkmenistan ◦◦ Iran ◦◦ Kazakhstan ◦◦ Japan ◦◦ Hong Kong ◦◦ Greece ◦◦ Ukraine ◦◦ Syria ◦◦ Morocco ◦◦ Italy ◦◦ Mauritania ◦◦ Oman ◦◦ Algeria ◦◦ Faroe Islands ◦◦ Indonesia ◦◦ Uzbekistan ◦◦ Ghana ◦◦ Togo

Manakeesh are Middle-Eastern flatbreads typically enjoyed for breakfast. They can be topped with za'atar or a blend of cheeses for different varieties.

Our journey from Latakia on the Syrian Mediterranean coast to Hama took us through breathtaking mountains and quaint villages. The traces of war seemed to disappear amidst the small farms and lush gardens.

At one point, our guide suggested we try the traditional flatbreads, which resembled pizza. We searched for these in several bakeries along the way, but either they weren't operational, or the dough wasn't ready. Finally, we found a suitable place: a garden with a few tables, a round brick oven, and a large kneading table by the roadside. A jovial woman and her assistant, perhaps her husband, were already making the flatbreads.

We referred to these as "flatbreads," our guide called them "Syrian pizzas," and I later discovered they were likely Manakeesh—a beloved breakfast item in the Middle East.

Originating from the Levantine region in the Middle East, Manakeesh are popular breakfast flatbreads that can be topped with a variety of ingredients. Some common toppings include za'atar, a blend of cheeses, an onion and tomato mixture, and keshek. Usually, Manakeesh are made the size of a personal pan pizza and folded in half like a sandwich for easy eating.


The most recognized varieties of Manakeesh include Za'atar and cheese. Similar to how an egg and cheese sandwich is a staple breakfast item in America, Manakeesh holds the same status in the Middle east. Za'atar, a traditional and popular spice blend, is a key ingredient in this dish. It is a delightful fusion of several ingredients such as Lebanese oregano, sumac, toasted sesame seeds, and other aromatic herbs. To prepare Manakeesh, this blend is first mixed with olive oil to form a paste. The paste is then generously spread over the flatbread. The final step involves baking the flatbread in a traditional brick oven, which gives it a unique, smoky flavor and a crisp texture. This simple yet flavorful dish perfectly encapsulates the rich culinary tradition of Lebanon.


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