Both originate from the Mediterranean, and and have forefathers stemming from ancient civilizations that are currently world-renowned for their respective cuisines. However, despite their similarities, Mana’eesh always seems to be cornered as pizza’s “less hot cousin”, making it an easily forgotten wonder of the food-world. Not to knock pizza, but it’s time to celebrate the classic Man’ousheh!
These days, everyone is into pizza, and if you aren’t, then you either have valuable health reasons or dietary ethics to avoid it, or you’re just crazy. But isn’t it funny how we’re seeing apparel and merchandise proclaiming statements like “Pizza is Bae” and yet “Mana’eesh Mo’ Problems” seems to be lacking in the pop-culture market? What about the Ninja Turtles? Why couldn’t Michaelangelo, Donatello, Raphael and Leonardo be called Nizar, Darwiche, Gibran and Shawki hitting up their local firin for a daily fix of za’atar on fluffy dough to fuel their brainpower in order to defeat the evil Faraam?
Our theory is that mana’eesh never made as big a splash as pizza has for one sole reason: it wasn’t as successfully marketed on an international level as pizza was, and if it was, then whoever was behind that project managed to fail.
But it’s safe to say, and call us bias, that mana’eesh truly is the superior flatbread treat of choice, and here are some of the reasons we believe so.
Have you ever noticed how you don’t hate yourself as much after devouring two or three mana’eesh as you would after having (enter slice number) of pizza?
It has been said time and time again, that anyone could eat as much mana’eesh as they would pizza and they’d only end up feeling a fraction of the guilt. Call it a mystery or an old wive’s tale, or maybe it’s because the ingredients used are just lighter and easier to digest.
Mana’eesh encourages you to only use the freshest ingredients, whereas pizza has been pillaged and manufactured to oblivion.
When was the last time you saw frozen mana’eesh, unless it was at your grandmother’s house after she made it from bulk? Well, you sure as hell have never seen it at a grocery store’s “frozen foods” section, but march down that aisle in at least every continent and you’ll find a frozen pizza of sorts, boxed up and ready to go. Don’t even get us started on the variety.
Mana’eesh is so much more complex, yet way less complicated.
Cheese? Za’atar? Cocktail? Kishk?- that’s really all the baking that’s involved. Most traditional mana’eesh places pile on the fresh toppings after it’s been taken out of the oven, or if you’re old-school like us, you take it home sans toppings and place your own garden of veggies, olive oils, pickles, chillis, mint, or whatever else your heart desires onto it. Pizza has this complicated law, that causes people to protest over what’s going into which half or which pie, because it’s all baked in there. Yes, yes – we know – someone is going to be like “WELL I LIKE PUTTING FRESH ROCKET LEAVES ON MY PIZZA” and you know what? So do I! But other than a drizzle of truffle/olive oil and some chilli flakes and nasty sauces like ranch or ketchup, those are the additional toppings you can add. And whichever fancy pizzeria you’re thinking of that acts as the exception, please take me there.
Mana’eesh doesn’t make you feel guilty if you don’t want to share.
Okay, so this one isn’t the fairest fight – because there are mana’eesh places out there that give you the option of sharing, and pizza places that don’t, but usually, it’s the other way around. Anyone who says they can guiltlessly finish a whole standard pizza to themselves is probably not a liar, but how do you really feel once it’s over? And I’m talking a standard, 10-12 inch pizza here, not one that’s the size of pita bread. Because pizza comes pre-sliced, it’s a safe assumption that it will be eaten with many people, or at least not in one sitting. Mana’eesh, however, is so gloriously individual that it’s practically screaming “you don’t have to share me, and guess what, you can even eat my cheesy cousin over there.”
Za’atar makes you smart.
Another unfair fight, but we had to put this one in there. Za’atar is one of, if not the, most popular mana’eesh component, and besides being ridiculously tasty and nutritious, it also makes you smart for some reason. Tell us, what health benefits does pizza really have?
It’s easy to enjoy a vegan man’ousheh without compromising taste or experience.
A za’atar or spinach man’ousheh can go a long way with fresh veggies and excellent olive oil, and you won’t feel left out if you’re restricted to this. When a vegan tries to have pizza with their friends, however, it might just be the saddest thing you’ll ever see.
Breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert!
With countless ways to enjoy mana’eesh, the traditional breakfast food can easily be turned into a lunch-item, light dinner, indulgent snack, or even, with a simple spread of nutella, dessert! Yes, the same practice can be argued towards pizza, but we all know we secretly think it’s gross to eat a straight up pizza for breakfast. Why? Tomato sauce! Who really wants to have tomato sauce for breakfast? “But I don’t put that in my pizza!” 1. you’re lying, and 2. A pizza with no tomato sauce is basically mana’eesh. We win this argument.
That’s the end of this pushy tale! Now you tell us, which do YOU prefer? Do you agree or disagree with our hefty claim? Let us know in the comments!
This post was inspired by our friends at Mana’eesh Inc. For a great selection of Mana’eesh (not pizza!), visit them at Al Bahar Shopping Center on Tunis Street, order them on Carriage, and follow them on Instagram @manaeeshinc.