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Lebanese flatbread enters U.N.’s list of intangible cultural heritage

Jinane Hayek, left, who lost her job as a branch manager at one of the largest banks in Lebanon, prepares Manakish at her bakery in Bekfaya town, on Sept. 23, 2022.   -  
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Bilal Hussein/Copyright 2022 The AP. All rights reserved


Lebanon's manousheh is among the latest additions to the U.N.’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

How do you like your Manousheh best? Topped with  cheese, vegetables, labneh - a thick yogurt spread- or a mix of herbs?

The traditional food often eaten over breakfast is among the latest additions to the U.N.’s list of intangible cultural heritage.

Manoushsheh in singular form or manakish in the plural is a versatile pastry often eaten over breakfast.

The traditional Levantine food that is served with many different toppings.

At a restaurant in Beirut, the capital, were proud of the latest international recognition.

"I am very happy that manousheh, or manoush, or manakish (plural), [as] it is called in our dialect is an intangible heritage now worldwide. Everyone should know that manousheh is only Lebanese and [most specifically] from the mountain of Lebanon, which [then] came to the coast. And it is trendy now," customer Garen said.

"It's a Lebanese tradition that every morning, every noon, every afternoon and every night, we are here with my friends. I have some Egyptian friends now, I bring them to eat manousheh here [in] Beirut."

55 new practises

The most iconic and widespread version of the manousheh is the one with Zaatar, a mix of savoury herbs including thyme, and sesame seeds.

Customer Muhammad says the Lebanese cuisine has so much to offer the world.

"The manouche with zaartar has now been listed as part of the Lebanese heritage by UNESCO, and this is very important because the Lebanese menu is very large. It’s not just the manouche with thyme that should be listed, but several other dishes should also be listed because our cuisine has to spread more since our ingredients and cooking are unique and are in demand in every country in the world."

Manousheh has remained an affordable option for most Lebanese amid an unprecedented economic crisis that started in 2019 and which has prompted triple digit inflation.

Manoushsheh is one of 55 new practises approved by UNESCO experts who met in Botswana in early December.

Some African practises include midwifery in Nigeria and Togo and Mahadra, a community system for transmission of traditional knowledge and oral expressions in Mauritania.

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