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Conventional Meals in Cyprus: 25 High Dishes and Drinks

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Uncover the perfect conventional meals in Cyprus with our final information to prime Cypriot delicacies everybody ought to attempt.

For such a tiny Mediterranean island, Cyprus has a captivating culinary historical past and tradition. Due to its place on the crossroads of three continents, it’s been dominated by many empires. 

All have had an affect on the standard meals of Cyprus.

The delicacies of the Republic of Cyprus options many components of the wholesome Mediterranean weight loss plan. But it surely’s additionally influenced by Greek, Turkish, Arabic, African and European components and culinary traditions. 

Fishing boats in Cyprus with blue water.
Cypriot delicacies attracts on the bounty of the ocean.

From fruit to distinctive greens to savoury meats and seafood, there’s a bounty of meals from land and sea to attempt in Cyprus.

Whereas some dishes could resemble these from different international locations, all of them have a Cypriot twist.

One of many first issues we seen after we moved to Paphos was how scrumptious almost all Cyprus meals are. The fruit and greens burst with the flavours I bear in mind as a baby from my grandmother’s backyard.

Right here’s what to anticipate:

Typical Every day Cyprus Meals Menu

Cypriot Breakfast Menu

A typical breakfast in Cyprus.
Breakfast of halloumi, ham, wine sausage and pita bread in native restaurant in Voroklini, Cyprus.

The conventional Cypriot breakfast is a superb begin to the day. It’s a wholesome steadiness of protein, greens and carbs with a espresso that may get up anybody.

The meal could fluctuate, relying on the place you get it, however will include most, if not all, of the next:

  • contemporary bread
  • olives
  • Halloumi cheese
  • eggs (arduous boiled or fried)
  • tomato 
  • cucumber
  • lountza (cured pork loin)
  • butter, honey and jam

That is accompanied by orange juice and Cypriot espresso, brewed from contemporary Brazilian beans within the small, long-handled copper pot known as a mbrikia.

This breakfast ought to hold you going until lunchtime! 

Lunch – Road Meals in Cyprus 

With so many issues to do in Paphos and round Cyprus it’s typically arduous work being a vacationer. You’ll quickly have to cease for a tasty lunch.

Decide a restaurant with exterior seating so you may people-watch whilst you drink your espresso, sip your Keo beer or take pleasure in a glass of Cyprus wine.

Right here are some things to search for at lunch. Dinner remains to be a good distance off , so don’t maintain again: 

  •  lountza and halloumi cheese sandwich (on contemporary bread with tomatoes and cucumber)
  •  gyro/doner kebab (sliced items of rooster or beef served in pita bread with salad and dressings)
  • souvlaki (skewers of grilled meat) 
  • tiropita (a filo pastry with cheese filling pie)
  • koupes (Center Japanese finger meals is a bulgar wheat crust full of meat and spices

Recharged, you may return to exploring or sunning on one of many stunning seashores in Cyprus. Or, do what Cypriots do, have a nap within the hottest a part of the afternoon.

Typical Dinner Menu in Cyprus  – Cypriot Meze 

Traditional cypriot meze set Cyprus.
A conventional Cypriot meze set.

Lastly, it’s night and approaching twilight means it’s time to expertise a customized Cypriots have been having fun with for hundreds of years. It’s a part of Cypriot tradition. 

At tavernas in metropolis and nation, folks collect round out of doors tables for companionship, drinks and  meze. 

Meze are small savoury appetizers served within the custom of Spanish  tapas. Designed to whet the urge for food, meze can embody from 10 to twenty small plates of various meals.

The array will embody dips, spreads, greens, seafood and meat served slowly separately or in small batches.

Conventional meze to search for embody: 

  • village salad 
  • grilled bread (village or pita) with olive oil, vinegar and garlic
  • olives
  • beetroot
  • tirokafteri (feta cheese, olive oil, sizzling inexperienced peppers and vinegar)
  • talatouri (Cyprus tzatziki made from yogurt, cucumber, olive oil, dill, mint, lemon juice)
  • taramosalata (cured cod roe, olive oil, lemon juice, bread/potatoes)
  • tahini (crushed sesame seeds and oil)
  • soup might be an appetizer or a light-weight meal. Search for magiritsa (rice, greens and lamb giblets) or avgolemono (rice, rooster, eggs and lemon), particularly standard at Easter

Then, at dinner do because the locals do and linger over a protracted meal with mates or household. Have the proprietor choose a superb Cyprus wine for you. 

Listed below are a number of the prime meals of Cyprus you don’t need to miss. You’ll find them served within the numerous eating places, cafes and tavernas scattered throughout the island.   

1. Halloumi Cheese 

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Halloumi cheese is exclusive to Cyprus the place it has been made for hundreds of years. The salted, semi-hard cheese is hand-made from goat and sheep milk in line with a conventional recipe.

This white, unripened cheese has a excessive melting level which makes it highly regarded to serve grilled.

In 2021, the European Fee granted halloumi cheese the protected designation of origins standing (PDO) which suggests the label halloumi (and the Turkish time period ‘hellim’) can solely be used on cheese produced in Cyprus. 

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 You’ll find it in virtually all meals. Strive it, you’ll prefer it.

2. Cyprus Village Salad 

Cyprus salad of fresh tomatoes and cheese.
Village Salad (Credit score: Rick Powell)

This easy salad accompanies virtually each meal. It’s made with tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper and white onion and tangy feta cheese dressed with native olive oil and pink wine vinegar.

For the crowning contact, aromatic oregano is sprinkled on prime. 

3. Fasolada

Fasolada is a hearty white bean and vegetable soup/stew typically thought of the nationwide dish of Cyprus (and Greece). 

Potatoes, carrots, celery, onions, tomato sauce, contemporary dried beans and many olive oil make this beloved dish an vital a part of the Mediterranean weight loss plan.

Often served within the winter, this historical soup has a protracted historical past because it was served as an providing to the god Apollo.

Because it’s arduous to search out in most eating places, ordering it the day earlier than would most likely be a good suggestion. 

4. Hummus

This creamy mixture of chickpeas and tahini (crushed sesame seeds and olive oil) is likely one of the world’s oldest recognized dishes.

It’s an vital a part of Center Japanese delicacies and might be present in Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, Israel and Syria  in addition to Turkey and Greece.  

In Cyprus it’s typically served with pita, bread or as a part of a meze platter. 

5. Soulva

Skewers of soulva cooking on a foukou a traditional grill of Cyprus.
Skewers of soulva grilling till golden brown. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

This standard conventional meals of Cyprus is normally ready for a Sunday dinner, get together or vacation celebration.  It’s made with giant chunks of pork shoulder, lamb or rooster.

To make soulva, first the meat is marinated in olive oil, lemon juice and herbs (oregano, thyme, bay leaves). Then, it’s skewered and positioned excessive over charcoal coals set inside a foukou (conventional Cyrpriot rotisserie grill) to roast slowly.

Because it cooks, the skewers are turned and lowered as a way to brown the meat. Rosemary and bay leaves are typically added to the grill contributing to the fragrant expertise. 

Not like a souvlaki BBQ which options smaller items of meat cooked shortly, grilling the meat for soulva is a sluggish operation and may take as much as 3 hours.

The result’s particularly tender and juicy grilled meat.

6. Grilled Swordfish and Different Native Fish 

Grilled swordfish with vegetables.
Grilled swordfish with greens.

For quintessential  expertise in Cyprus, there’s nothing fairly like having fun with a meal of contemporary seafood at a desk overlooking the Mediterranean Sea.

Surrounded by the ocean, fish and seafood are in abundance in Cyprus. Each historical and fashionable Cypriots have been dedicated to the ocean and cooking its items.

You possibly can anticipate finding eel, bream, gray mullet, octopus, calamari, swordfish and extra on the menu.  

Potatoes are a preferred accompaniment to just about each major course together with fish. The potatoes of Cyprus are glorious particularly when made into chips (french fries).

7. Keftedes 

A plate of keftedes a traditional meatball of Cyprus.
Keftedes or formed meatballs are standard at each lunch and dinner. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

Keftedes are fried meatballs normally produced from pork and potatoes as an alternative of bread. Cinnamon and mint give it the distinctive Cypriot flavour.

These scrumptious savoury bites are normally served with a village salad and fried potatoes or French fries.

8. Kleftiko

Kleftiko may be very moist and tender roasted lamb or goat cooked slowly in a sealed container. Its identify that means ‘stolen’ was given this identify as a result of thieves within the hills used to steal a lamb and cook dinner it in a sealed pit in order that the smoke and scent wouldn’t be found.

Now, the meat is marinated in a single day in wine, lemon juice and different herbs and spices. It pairs properly with spiced roasted potatoes.

This conventional meal will soften deliciously in your mouth and is certainly a must-try meals in Cyprus. 

9. Koupepia

A plate of stuffed grape leaves known as koupepia of Cyprus.
Koupepia are the Cypriot model of stuffed grape leaves. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

Koupepia are stuffed olive leaves. Served as a finger meals, a aspect dish or a part of a meze platter. The stuffing is made with minced pork or beef, rice, onion, parsley, mint and the chef’s selection of spices.

Stuffed grape leaves are standard all through the Center East underneath totally different names. The Cypriot model is served with a sauce of tomatoes and cinnamon. 

10. Louvi

The vegetarian dish louvi (black eyed beans) are a Cyprus staple as a result of they are often eaten on spiritual quick days as a meat substitute. Throughout arduous instances, louvi was appreciated as a protein substitute for meat.

Louvi is eaten with greens, olive oil, salt, and lemon. Most sometimes served as one of many dishes in meze, it’s normally served with sardines or tuna, olives and contemporary onion as a meal. 

11. Moussaka

A slice of Cypriot moussaka on a white plate.
The recipe for Cypriot moussaka is barely totally different than others discovered within the Mediterranean. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

One of the standard conventional dishes in Cyprus, moussaka is a baked vegetable and meat casserole. It consists of minced pork, beef or lamb or perhaps a mixture of those. 

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This baked casserole is constructed with layers of sliced eggplant (aubergine), potatoes and zucchini (courgettes).

The cream sauce on prime is generally butter and cheese (normally halloumi). The cheese and  native spices and herbs give Cypriot moussaka a uniquely scrumptious flavour.

12. Makaoronia Tou Fournou

Makaoronia tou fournou is an oven baked pasta dish that’s similar to lasagna, however options totally different components.

In Cyprus they use penne as an alternative of lasagna pasta, minced pork, not beef and the creamy cheese sauce is made with halloumi and butter.

The sauce doesn’t include tomatoes however is flavoured with onion, garlic and native herbs corresponding to mint and parsley.

It’s greatest served heat from the oven.

13. Sheftalia

Sheftalies Cyprus sausage on a white plate with salad.
Sheftalies or conventional Cypriot sausage is a must-try when in Cyprus.

Sheftalia is a juicy Cypriot sausage that’s a must-try meals in Cyprus. Each chef has their very own recipe so the flavour is rarely fairly the identical twice.

They encompass minced pork and/or lamb blended with salt, pepper, parsley and diced onion and garlic, spices and herbs to style.

A tablespoon of this combination is wrapped in caul fats and roasted on the grill for quarter-hour. It’s a fantastic starter or  major course with chips and salad.

14. Souvlaki – Pork, Hen or Lamb Kebab 

Cypriot Kebab on a white plate with salad.p
Cypriot Kebab on a white plate with salad.p

Souvlaki are grilled screwers of rooster, goat, lamb or pork stuffed into pita bread or served on the persist with salad and dressing. 

The meat is tender and juicy, much more so when grilled with Cyprus spices and herbs.

Cattle are uncommon on the island. If you’d like beef, it’s normally is imported, costly and inferior to the native meats.

15. Stewed Pork – Afella

A brown bowl of afelia braised pork of Cyprus.
Cypriot Afelia is braised pork in pink wine and is usually served with bulgur wheat.

Distinctive to Cypriot delicacies, afella is a household meal produced from small items of pork. To make this recipe, the meat is marinated in a single day with wine, pepper, coriander, cumin and bay leaves.

Then, the meat is sautéed in olive oil. Lastly, it’s simmered once more with the spiced marinade, water and typically mushrooms.

This folks meal is served with roasted potatoes or a fluffy bulgur pilaf.

16. Stifado 

A bowl of stifado, a beef and onion stew typical to Cyprus.
A bowl of stifado, a beef and onion stew typical to Cyprus.

One of the standard conventional dishes within the delicacies of Cyprus, stifado is a comfort-food stew made with rabbit or beef and onions.

On this recipe — which varies relying on the chef or family — the meat and entire, small onions are first  browned. Then, water, wine, vinegar, cinnamon, sea salt and freshly-ground pepper are added.

The pot is left to simmer for two to three hours underneath a watchful eye. Stifado is most frequently served with fresh-baked bread for a hardy, satisfying meal.

17. Ttavas

Ttavas is a sluggish cooked, one-pot meal that’s been loved within the mountain villages for hundreds of years.

Lamb or goat meat is positioned in a clay pot. On prime of this, they layer rice, onions, tomatoes, potatoes, artichoke and zucchini.

It’s then coated with olive oil and water, sealed and cooked for 3 to 4 hours. All of the flavours merge to great perfection in a single clay pot. 

18. Yemista

Yemista are stuffed, roasted greens, normally tomatoes or inexperienced peppers. The insides are carved out and full of rice, meat and spices.

The caps are put again on the greens and roasted within the oven. Get pleasure from them heat from the oven with contemporary bread and feta cheese.

Cypriots have a candy tooth and love their desserts. Listed below are just a few we will all take pleasure in.

19. Loukoumades or Honey Balls

Loukoumades are akin to doughnuts however the dough is formed into little balls and deep fried.  They’re typically served sizzling after a meal, bathed with honey and typically atop ice cream.

20. Baklava 

Baklava is discovered all through the Center East. The Cypriot model has coarsely-ground pistachios, almonds and walnuts in filo pastry and soaked in honey.

Oh, so candy.

21. Koulourouthkia

Moreover the on a regular basis cookie components, it has the distinctive flavour of Cyprus brandy and citrus orange blossom water.

They’re extremely addictive…you gained’t have the ability to cease at only one. 

22. Galaktompoureko

Served at room temperature, this conventional dessert of Cyprus encompasses a pillowy, custard pudding layered in crispy, golden phyllo pastry topped with candy, scented syrup.

It’s additionally standard in Greece and Turkey. 

23. Soutzoukos

Probably the nation’s oldest conventional candy, the is made by repeatedly soaking a string of softened almonds or walnuts in boiled grape juice in a course of much like dipping candles. The strings are then hung to dry for a number of days. 

This distinctive pure delight has been a Cypriot candy for over 200 years. It’s mentioned to originate within the wine-producing areas of Troodos and Pafos.

Search for it offered at festivals or served with zivania, the native brandy. 

24. Cypriot Beer and Wine 

Stone exterior of Sterna Winery in Kathikas Cyprus.
Sterna Vineyard in Kathikas Cyprus. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

Cypriot Beer

Beer making tools courting again 3,500 years has been present in Cyprus. Having fun with an area brew on a sizzling solar afternoon is likely one of the islands nice pleasures. The intense yellow labelled beer, KEO is the nationwide  beer of Cyprus. It’s been brewed in Cyprus since 1951.

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An excellent second selection is the Danish beer Carlsberg. In 1967 Cyprus turned the primary nation exterior of Denmark to brew this refreshing pilsner.

The inhabitants have been making wine for at the very least 4,000 of years. The present vintages have been receiving worldwide acknowledgement and worldwide prizes.

Commandaria Dessert Wine 

This amber colored dessert wine is taken into account one of many world’s oldest wines. It’s produced from the indigenous mavro and xinisteri grapes which is aged for at the very least 2 years in oak barrels..

Named for the area round their ‘command’ fort north of Limassol, solely 14 designated villages are permitted to make this wine.  

Described because the wine of kings by Richard the Lionheart it was highly regarded with the Knights Templar within the twelfth century.

Cypriot Wines 

It’s unfair to call the ‘greatest’ wines from the 52 wineries of Cyprus as a result of it is a matter of style and there are such a lot of to select from.

Beside its indigenous grapes, the island has been producing excellent wines from Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Muscat and others. The Moshato from Ayia Mavri Vineyard has gained a double gold award.

The Shiraz from Kolios Vineyard is one other large medal winner. Except you’re a sommelier, the native wine really helpful by the restaurant proprietor is normally excellent.

25. Liquors, Brandies and Distilled Spirits of Cyprus 

A row of bottles of Zivana on a shelf in Cyrpus.
Make sure to attempt a shot of zivana the potent native Cypriot spirit. (Credit score: Rick Powell)

Restaurant homeowners typically provide a complimentary glass of conventional liqueur on the finish of a meal. Please give a few of these conventional liqueurs a attempt as some are distinctive to Cyprus.

Zivana 

Zivana or zivania is one other protected product of Cyprus (like Halloumi cheese). This robust spirit has been produced for tons of of years on Cyprus. It’s a distilled combination of pomace (grape should) and wine produced from Xynisteri and Mavro grapes.

It has the perfume of raisins and is normally served chilled with meze or the soutzoukos candy.

Filfar

That is an artisanal mandarin orange flavoured liqueur. It’s based mostly on an previous household recipe handed down from moms to daughters. Initially made by the monks at Kantara within the thirteenth century.

Brandy Bitter Cocktail 

Unofficially often called the cocktail of Cyprus, an genuine Cypriot taverna brandy bitter is made with brandy (such because the Haggipavlu Anglias model), lemon cordial, just a few drops of fragrant bitters (normally Angostura or  locally-produced model) and fresh-squeezed lemonade or soda. 

This refreshing drink is normally served in a tall glass full of ice topped with a maraschino cherry or slice of lemon.

 

Remaining Ideas on Conventional Meals in Cyprus & Locations to Eat 

Street scene in Kathikas Cyprus.
The village of Kathikas makes a fantastic foodie day journey from Paphos.

Whereas Paphos meals is deservedly well-known, the perfect place to search out conventional meals is within the villages away from the bigger centres.

Most of the photos right here got here from the tavernas within the village of Kathikas, north of Paphos, corresponding to  Yiannis Taverna and To Stekki Tou Panai . They provide a number of the greatest conventional meals in Cyprus.  

The family-owned Olive Tree Tavern in Polemi (357 26 632309) can be properly price in search of out for its conventional grilled meats, house-made bread and out of doors terrace draped in vines. 

Examine vacation hours, instances and dealing hours on the official Cyprus Tourism website. 

Cyprus has so many conventional meals that we can’t cowl all of them.

For the perfect produce (together with natural) attempt one of many farmer’s markets that happen a couple of times every week (or month).  You’ll find no matter is presently in season (and in Cyprus, that’s lots), at cheap costs. 

You’ll additionally see vans and meals stands loaded with no matter is in season (watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes, cabbage, almonds) on the aspect of the roads promoting produce on to passerbys.

If you’re consuming in a taverna in a village, ask your host if they’ve a singular specialty or seasonal dish you may attempt. I’ve by no means been dissatisfied with this technique.

For those who aren’t certain what to order, go for the meze and a superb bottle of native wine! 

Save to Pinterest! 

Collage of traditional Cypriot food for Pinterest.

 

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