People often ask about the origins of our name, saying that the word manoosh seemed familiar but they couldn’t put their finger on it. Manoosh is symbolic Lebanese street food, synonymous with breakfast time across many regions of Lebanon, but also enjoyed any time of the day. People classify it simply as baked flatbread, then topped with fresh ingredients, traditionally za’atar, tomato, mint, lifft (pickled turnip), ground meat and cheese – our version of a pizza. And, like pizza, its versatility has seen it evolve into a staple of modern eating. Today you will find it spelled differently all across the world, but it is commonly referred to as man’oushe, man’ousheh, manakeesh or manakish.
Manoosh, and its phonetic derivatives (Manoush, Man’oushe, etc), comes from the Arabic word na’sh or naqsh, which means to ‘engrave’ or ‘carve out’. This most likely refers to the indentations that are left in the dough when it is kneaded. The dish was popular in the Levant region of the Middle East, which now comprises of Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Palestine and Israel – each now with their own spellings and variations of the dish.
Manoosh is ingrained in Lebanese food culture, and although its exact origins are unclear, it is pretty evident that it can be traced back thousands of years. Traditionally women would bake dough in communal oven to later be topped with different ingredients for different meals.
Traditional Manoosh is often smaller than a traditional pizza, allowing for easy folding, and the dough can either be rolled very thin or kept thick for smaller servings. Small villages would have bakeries dedicated to cooking manoosh and families often boast they have the best recipes.
Common toppings are quite similar to pizza – meat, cheese and vegetables – but traditionally manoosh might have only been topped with za’atar – a combination of herbs and spices, prominently thyme. The use of za’atar can be traced back to the ancient Egyptians and has been growing in Lebanon for thousands of years.
Modern manoosh is a blanket term for any dish that is comprised of flatbread topped with ingredients – much in the same way that pizza is anything comprised of bread sauce and cheese. Manoosh and pizza are synonymous, so at Manoosh we dabble in a bit of everything: traditional pizzas with a Lebanese twist, classic za’atar flatbread, wraps and dips.
To get a taste of what all the fuss is about, to try something new or to enjoy and old favourite, drop in to Manoosh. Visit us at Manoosh Pizzeria Enmore or Marrickville, or order online, you will be glad that you did.
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