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Reem’s Flatbread Is the Street-Food Breakfast of Champions

And it’s landing in Fruitvale this month.


Reem Assil likes to talk about how bread transcends cultural differences. I suggest you visit her self-named Arab bakery, Reem’s, where Assil and her cooks bake mana’eesh, a kind of street-food flatbread popular in Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine—but that will taste a bit like home, too, if you’re a lover of Indian naan or Taiwanese zhua bing.

Each man’oushe (the singular form) puffs up beautifully as it cooks on a domed griddle known as a saj, then gets topped with za’atar spice mix or sumac-tinged roast chicken and is bundled tightly in paper like a pita wrap so you can dig in while the bread is still warm. Assil’s brick-and-mortar bakery is slated to open in May near Oakland’s Fruitvale BART station, but until then you can satisfy your craving for baked-to-order bread at several Bay Area farmers’ markets, including the big Saturday Ferry Plaza one.

When I worked near the Friday-morning market in Old Oakland, one of my favorite indulgences was the Golden State breakfast man’oushe, which comes topped with cherry tomatoes, tangy goat cheese, eggs scrambled in a red-pepper-based shakshuka sauce, and, optionally, chunks of chorizo-like sujuk sausage—the best of California and the Middle East. 3301 E. 12th St., Ste. 133 (Near 33rd Ave.)


Originally published in the May issue of San Francisco

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