The traditional Manoush Saj is more than a breakfast food for the Lebanese. It’s by far one of the most loved wraps in our culinary culture.
Initially baked for breakfast, it has long been a food consumed any time of the day. That’s how delicious it is.
It is impossible to drive by a Saj spot in Lebanon without stopping for a savory Manoush Saj (or two or three) freshly baked in front of you. The enjoyable experience actually starts before you even eagerly dig your teeth in the smoking hot wrap.
The baking ritual there done in front of you has also to do with this particular pleasure, as you stand in thrilling expectation, your eyes hooked in the procedure and the delicious aroma tempting your nostrils and teasing your buds.
If you’re new to that experience, know that you could be even salivating at that particular moment if the whole procedure wasn’t so quick.
It barely takes a few minutes from the moment the dough is thinly spread on the hot metal dome, the Zaatar mixture spread over, the Manousheh baked, wrapped as is or with fresh mint, and slices of tomatoes, and handed over to you.
The wrap comes out delightfully light; certainly a less fattening wrap to enjoy without guilt.
Nowadays, there are different choices of spread replacing the Zaatar and these saj wrap makers are being very creative.
Note that the saj wraps are mostly made by small Saj kiosks and even small set-ups by locals on the streets of villages.
Here are some of these spots ready to bake just there in front of you and give you that unique Lebanese experience from start to end.
#1 Em Bachir Saj
Located in Ajaltoun main road on the way to Faraya, Em Bachir small bakery has earned a reputation of “The Queen of Manakeesh” for her delicious Saj wraps.
#2 Saj Mema
You can find Saj Mema at the roundabout of Faraya village.
Located in Dahr El Souwan, Saj El Agha has taken the art of Saj making to a new level. Innovation is not lacking in the making of the dough itself, with added nutritious seeds, and in the variety of spread. And its sitting area is super cool!
#6 Snack & Saj Abou Artine
Located at the roundabout of Faraya village, Saj Abou Artine has been providing a variety of creative Saj wraps, such as Kafta & Cheese, and pizza-inspired saj wrap.
Saj Maison is actually a Saj-making on wheels, literally, and you can spot its truck in Kaslik. It’s a cool concept that has branched out from the popular Nicolas Resto Pub of the northern village of Hasroun.
And the chef is creating gourmet wraps, right there in the truck, with “homemade Northern goodness” that are a must-try.
Located in Zouk Mikael, this family-owned Saj spot is run by Youmna with the help of her husband and son and is quite popular in the area for her authentic Zaatar Saj and a variety of creative Saj wraps. You can find her in Haret El Mir (main road) at Darwich Center.
A small-scale bakery in Baabda, Abou Joseph – endearingly named Maallim Nasri for having been a Saj mentor to many – has been making authentic and delicious Saj wraps for some 3 decades, right there on the same spot at Baabda-Betchay main road.
Not your usual Saj wraps at Beit Soumar and certainly not the setting.
This is another Lebanese Saj master that has taken saj-making to the next level with its refined presentation of… Saj platters! That spot located in Debbiyé in Ikleem Al Kharroub (Chouf) is tucked amid greenery with an enchanting sitting area and great views.