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Friday, January 7, 2011

S.F. Rising: Armenian Breads from Royal Market and Bakery

Posted By on Fri, Jan 7, 2011 at 2:50 PM

Puri (bottom), and matnakash from Royal Market & Bakery - JONATHAN KAUFFMAN
  • Jonathan Kauffman
  • Puri (bottom), and matnakash from Royal Market & Bakery

SF Rising is SFoodie's weekly survey of bread in San Francisco ― the baked and the fried, the

artisan and the novelty.

Puri and Matnakash


Royal Market and Bakery, 5335 Geary (at 17th Ave.), 221-5550
Price: $0.75 (puri), $1.25 (matnakash)

Toast-appropriateness: 1/10


I haven't yet made a trip to Royal Market and Bakery without finding myself slowly edging down the aisles, skirting five-foot-four men in their eighth decades lodged in front of a display of pickled mushrooms or Russian chocolates. The deli aisle, in fact, is so jammed with shoppers I've only made it up to the counter once. (I retreated with a quart of pickled red cabbage and a few ground-lamb kebabs so potently seasoned my car smelled like a field of garlic for days afterward.) 

Somewhere in the middle of the market is a rolling cart wrapped in plastic sheeting, with two kinds of Armenian flatbreads stacked inside: puri and matnakash, both baked three to four times a day. Like naan, the smaller puri toughens up quickly ― eat it within the hour ― and save the longer, puffier matnakash for dinner. Glossy and golden, the matnakash is made for swabbing through hummus, or rolling around cubes of feta and shaved onions, or dipping in olive oil and za'atar. All of which, if you maneuver slowly and patiently through the aisles, you can pick up on your way out.

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