At Tanor Al Deera
Five Maudies – highly recommended
One of the traditional foods found in the Kuwait souks, in addition to the ever present schwarma, is manakish, or what I call Kuwaiti style pizza.
It seems that many places in the Arab and Mediterranean world have something that resembles what Americans would call pizza. Turkey has pides, for example.
Tanor Al Deera (see five-Maudie review), my favorte restaurant in Kuwait City, in the Old Souk, has a manakish place next door that was part of Tanor Al Deera, although the owner collected money separately and they had their own space.
It was a simple set-up. A place to make and roll out the dough (made from scratch), ingredients, and an open brick, gas fired oven with wooden paddles for handling the
breads. These are all incredibly inexpensive and are an example of a way that poor people can get their bread staple with some flavor.
I tried a few of these while in Kuwait City. The first one I had was a traditional one made with zaatar, an oregano/thyme mixture that was mixed with olive oil and sesame seeds and perhaps another herb or two, then spread on the dough before cooking. Simple and very flavorful, it makes a great snack and fills you up.
Mark, my foodie buddy, always ordered one when we were at Tanor Al Deera, whether we needed it or not, I think because he liked the owner. The owner is a nice man who always came out and greeted us. Mark always got a veggie manakish. But, the base was always zaatar. Here, the veggies were black olives, bell peppers, tomotoes, onions, and maybe a couple of other items.
I tried one with minced meat (very similar to the minced meat pides in Turkey) and one with spinach and an egg. Most of the manakish places also had Turkish pide style breads, as well. The manakish is quite thin, which is how I like my pizza crust (no Chicago pizza for me, thank you) and slightly crispy.
All in all, a great grab and go snack that is dirt cheap.