One of the reasons we travel is to enjoy food. Thinking about heading to Cyprus soon and taste Cypriot Cuisine? Well, let me take you to this appetizing journey.
Raise your hands if you are binge-watching Netflix food series! Of course, count me in! These shows are taking me to the mouthwatering flavors from Bangkok, Mexico, Dublin, New Orleans, Marrakesh, and everywhere! But wait, how about Mediterranean food? If I’m not mistaken it has not been featured so far, except for Malta which is the closest country, I suppose.
So, let’s check out what comprises Mediterranean food and I am taking you to a foretaste of Cypriot food.
Aha! Healthy and helps you to lose weight. At the end of this article, I wanna hear you saying YES to this or Umm or AHA! 😉
Do you have any idea?
Cypriot Cuisine is not so far from the Greek food. What varies aside from Greek influences; it has strong influences from Arabic and Turkish. The spices give an exciting kick to these dishes but not so spicy. Bear in mind that Cypriots are Greeks too and part of Cyprus is Turkish occupied.
With four cookbooks, home cooking is such delight and I have several favorite recipes. Here is a rundown of Cypriot dishes.
I. Vegetables, Beans & Halloumi
Cyprus has rich agricultural produce and these are a popular diet in every Cypriot home. Home cooking with fresh potatoes, zucchinis, carrot, beans, eggplant, spinach, tomatoes, and celery are very common. These recipes are from grandma’s cooking.
Olive oil is also a very abundant produce thus, more use of this oil. Boiled veggies and beans are sizzled with olive oil, lemon, salt, and pepper.
By the way, lemons are part in almost all of the dishes – vegetables, meat, soups and salads.
Spices and herbs commonly used are thyme, basil, parsley, coriander, mint, cumin, pepper and paprika.
Halloumi cheese is very popular in Cyprus, a white and brined cheese from the goat’s, and sheep’s milk. This is the type of cheese that you can enjoy in so many ways – raw, fried, grilled. One of the products for exports to various countries worldwide.
An easy dinner will be a sandwich with halloumi cheese with tomatoes.
Souvlaki – Cyprus BBQ
We know that every country has its own version of BBQ. Here in Cyprus, it is souvla, which means skewers. Pieces of meat such as pork, chicken, and lamb are grilled in these skewers and you can also put mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes. My earliest recollection around Greeks is dining with souvlaki be it in their homes or tavernas/restaurants. You will eat this with pita bread, salad and tahini or hummus.
Souvlakia is the regular sandwich – pieces of meat stuffed in pita bread with salad, tahini or hummus sauce, and fried potatoes as a side dish.
My favorite! This is a traditional Cypriot sausage – pork and lamb sausage. A rich flavor sausage and great for souvla too! Or grill it in the oven.
Is a Greek version of meatloaf or sometimes I call it a big version of sheftalia. A lamb’s membrane covers the entire roll. Another favorite of mine.
Lamb is a popular menu during big celebrations and for Sunday lunch. During Easter, they have a traditional lamb soup from internal parts called Magiritsa and grilling of lamb’s intestines with other parts called kokoretsi.
Ofto Kleftiko is lamb cook in a hole in the ground just like the old times. Some restaurants offer this a few times a week. Per serving is about 10 EUR. “A story about ofto kleftiko is about a stolen lamb from the herd then cook for hours underground. During mealtime, the owner of the stolen lamb is invited, to “tease him” of the lost lamb.”
Pastitsio is a baked macaroni version, it can also be called as Makarona de forno. Totally a comfort food, with a touch of mint taste. On top is a bechamel white sauce. Yum! Trust me, I can eat this for days!
Calamari is a popular seafood dish. Fish coated in batter usually, a red mallet fish or called locally as barbouni; paired with fried potatoes, hence fish and chips.
For bigger fish, we grill it in the oven with vegetables, lemon juice, and olive oil.
This is octopus stewed in wine. However, shells and shrimps are no longer abundant in Cyprus waters.
The traditional dessert is a spoonful of yogurt with sweetened fruit on top. Glyko tou koutaliou means a spoonful of sweet. There is a festival for these sweets in the mountain village of Kakopetria and you can get a free taste of a variety of sweetened fruits.
Another favorite dessert of mine is ekmek kadaifi, which is of Turkish origin. I love its creamy texture and just an OMG moment.
VI. Breads and Pies
Head to the local market for traditional breads. Psomi is a traditional village bread and sometimes with olives in it. Koullouri is a pretzel like bread which is great for snacks.
And pies – Tiropita/Cheese pie, Spanakopita/Spinach pie. Pies are wrap in filo sheets, these are thin sheets of dough, also use in baklava.
Every place has its own local drink. For Cyprus, it is Zivania; a pomace brandy from the distillation of grapes and local wines. And here’s more, alcohol content is….40-99%! Are you ready for this?
How do you say cheers the Cypriot way? Στην υγειά σας /Stin Geai Sas which means – for your health!
In Greece you say Yamas for cheers and the local drink is tsiporou.
If the zivania is too strong for you, you have a selection of Cyprus wines with an alcohol content of about 12%. The southern part of Troodos mountain is where most of the wine villages are. Certainly a destination for wine tasting.
Kopiaste na fame!
Cypriots welcome their guests by saying Kopiaste.
Welcome, Let’s Eat!
Now you have an overview of the taste of Cypriot Cuisine. It is not far from what you have in mind with the many influences. As per history, several invasions affect their food. That’s why this differs from the flavors and taste of Greek food in Greece.
Communal eating is the best way to describe the Cypriot way of eating, that’s why they have meze. True to that this is the best way in tasting a variety of traditional Cypriot dishes. Once in Cyprus, book yourself to a meze restaurant, and take note that you will have as many as thirty-five varieties of small dishes. Make sure you are gear up for this and of course, a round of drinks with great company will conclude this unforgettable meal.
Finally, a more amazing experience is to accept an invitation from locals and dine together with them. Share the good food, learn more about their culture, and hear great stories from the past.
So what’s the verdict when it comes to healthy food?
Is this reason enough to visit Cyprus?
I hope you all have an appetizing journey and let me know if I have activated your palates somehow.
72 CommentsAdd Yours →
Wow I love all the photos and the varieties. Nice books.
Unavoidable yogurt in the sweets just like Greece. I would
love it here..
Thank you. 💕 I forgot to mention that you can put some yogurt on a dish. The sweets can never be avoided.
This is one of my favorite cuisines! Especially halloumi and fish are great!
Hi thanks for dropping by. Glad you enjoy Cypriot dishes 💕
Kopiaste! I just had breakfast, but after reading this post I am hungry again. Big part of traveling the world for me is to enjoy the local cuisine. Loved the pictures of the foods and local market. Cyprus is on my travel list and I can’t wait to visit.
Efcharisto! Ahahaha. I love zucchini with eggs in the morning or a tiropita 😉 have an awesome time in Cyprus soon 💕
Love all the photos, these are some great varieties of dishes. I travel to different places mainly to taste the local cuisine. Thank you for sharing!
Thank You and you are very welcome! Be ready and enjoy these dishes when you visit Cyprus.
Don’t think I’ve ever tried Cypriot cuisine! After reading this, I really think I should – the sheftalia looks absolutely delicious! Thanks for sharing
Hi, Cheers to that! And the local pies too and everything!
I don’t know much about Cypriot cuisine, so it was really interesting to read this post! Great photos too 🙂
Anika | chaptersofmay.com
Hello! Thanks for checking it out 💕
Hi! I hope you can try these dishes and let me know if you love them! Thanks for checking it out 💕
Geez. I hate reading food blogs. It makes me hingry. LOL! This list has the most appetizing things on the planet. Looks like Arabic and Turkish food too. Oh ill better try that Zivana… i cant forget the Hungarian palinka and turkish Raki. I need to add cyprus in my bucket list now.
Oh yes zivania is similar to raki! Can’t wait for your travel stories in Cyprus soon. Stin Geia Sas 💕
The Cyprus BBQ has my mouth watering. The fried calamari sounds delicious right about now.
Oh yes! You can never go wrong with BBQ and well cooked calamari 😉
Great post! Love the photos! I have never been to Cyprus but I hope to go one day!
Thank you so much! Hope you enjoy the food and your stay in Cyprus soon. And let me know your favorite dish 💕
Great post! Will definitely have to try pastitsio one day.
Thumbs up for that! By the way just forget calorie count 💕 thank you 🙏
Well, now I’m hungry!! I LOVE mediterranean food, and could eat it every day. The only thing I can’t really get on with is lamb – I don’t really like the taste. Everything else though looks spot on! Halloumi is my all time favourite 💜 I haven’t had it in so long though!
Cheers to Mediterranean food! I was not a lamb eater before till I keep on tasting and now I Like it. But that’s ok there are so many dishes to try. Thanks! 💕
THese food options look amazing! My mouth is watering!
A round of cheers for good food! Thank you.
my mouth is WATERING!! this article is so well written. please continue to share your adventures with us:)
Hello! Thank you so much for the kind words. 💕 definitely more adventures coming up!
Wow! These foods all so incredible! Thank you for sharing this I enjoyed reading it!
Amber – The Unpredicted page
I hope you can get a taste of these dishes and share your favorites. Thanks for dropping by 💕
I adore Greek and Turkish food and I still dream of the most amazing Kleftiko we had when we went to Cyprus one year. Everything is always so fresh and bursting with flavour. Thank you for sharing, it was a lovely trip down memory lane 🙂 Lisa
Thank you Lisa! Grab a Cypriot cookbook or you can find it online and fix something at home. And of course, come back soon!
I did’t know about the Netflix food series… but I’m going to check it out now. I love food!!! I’ve never been to Cyprus, but the food looks amazing so I’ll be adding this destination to my list. Thanks for sharing.
Hi Sharon! These are the netflix series I was glued for days: restaurants on the edge, somebody feed phil, asia street food and ugly delicious. I’m so happy that you add Cyprus on your list! Thank you 💕
Oh, Greek food is my absolute favourite cusine, which obviously means I love cypriot food becuase of the whole similarities. Gemista is my all time favourite! I am so hungry after watching this! I have only visited Cyprus once, but maybe this is a sign I need to look into visiting again!
Tonia Buxton has some great cookbooks for healthy Cyrpriot food and used to haev a great show with lots of yummy recipes!
thanks for sharing!
Hello! Yes I am a fan now of Greek cuisine. There’s more to soulaki and moussaka. I’ll check on Tonia Buxton and try new recipes! Yay that’s great, enjoy Cyprus once again. Thank you. 💕🙃
Ooooh this all looks so good! Cyprus was on my list before but I think just based on the food it’s moved up a few spaces!
That’s great I did some more convincing to you! Can’t wait to hear your travel stories. Take care! 💕
All of these dishes look incredible.
Lauren | https://www.laurenyloves.co.uk/
Thank you a Lauren! They look incredible and definitely yummy too. 😉
I love Cypriot cuisine! I definitely agree that one of the main reasons to travel is to try the local cuisine. A mediterranean diet is the best diet!! x
Thank you 💕 most travels are decided on the food we want to explore.
Yum! The variety of food in these gorgeous photos is making me hungry! When we visited Greece, we had a fabulous time trying many local dishes. I did not come across the beautiful dessert, ekmek kadaifi, but I would love to go to Cypress and try it!
Thank you! It seems everyone is hungry. I love to cook for you all. 😉 When you visit Cyprus you can ask from a taverna/restaurant for ekmek kadaifi.
It almost sounds quite similar to the food that I had when I went to Croatia!
Oh! Let me check with Croatian food. Thanks!
This is amazing, I can’t wait to eat souvlaki again! Thank you for sharing!
Hello Mrs D! Thanks for dropping by! 💕
Wow! Everything looks so delicious 🤤 Sad to say that I’ve never tried any of this but it looks so yummy that I’ll definitely have to try it 😍😍😍❤️
Hello! Maybe you can check from the grocery shops for halloumi cheese and probably head to a Greek restaurant for a taste. Thanks!
Wow! All these foods look amazing 😍 thank you so much for sharing! I’ll definitely come back to this if I ever visit Cyprus!
You’re welcome! Visit Cyprus and enjoy these delish food 😉
Oh wow! Talk about make me hungry 😋😁 I have never been to cyprus … The food Reminds me of when I was in Greece. Hmmmm I need to eat now xx
Yes similar to dishes in Greece! Enjoy your meal. 😉
I took a food tour in Cyprus (Larnaka) and it was a very pleasant surprise for me. Amazing food! Thank you for reminding me about that 🙂
Hello! You are very welcome! Food is one of our reasons why we travel. 😉
Mine too 😀
Great post, the dishes look so tasty, especially the meats.
Thank you! I am a meat-eater too, yummy!
Cypriot cuisine is new to my ear, so it’s interesting for me to know about this kind of foods. Thank you for sharing 🙂
Hope you have the chance to taste it soon and let me know if your palate agrees! 😉
Ooh, visiting this blog post on an empty stomach was a miscalculation on my part. It all looks so delicious! A highlight of visiting new places is always sampling the local cuisine.
Ahhahaa! I feel the same way too when I’m reading a food blog before bedtime. Traveling always leads us to local food tasting.
[…] Spend a part of your day going through the village and choose an excellent spot for a cup of coffee or enjoy a delicious Cypriot dish! […]
This is one of the most delicious guides I have ever seen! ♥ It was a great read and I would love to try everything, especially, Cyprus wines! Have never even heard about them!
Hi there Sandra! These are absolutely tasty dishes. Hope you get a chance to experience a Cypriot Meze or head over to Cyprus soon! Thank you!
[…] It is souvla (grilled meat) everywhere and experience the taste of Cypriot cuisine. […]
I love food posts!! And I knew very little about Cypriot cuisine so I loved everything about this! Pasta, seafood, bread, wine: everything I need to survive 🙂
Hi Lannie! Include Cyprus in your holidays and experience this delectable cuisine 😉
Looks absolutely delicious! I wish I had more than nachos to eat here 😀
Hi there! Oops, nachos isn’t their local dish. Most of these dishes are comfort food 😉
[…] drink just completes the puzzle of the whole dining experience. When you get the chance to enjoy a taste of Cyprus cuisine have a glass of their own wine […]
[…] Further Reading: The Taste of Cypriot Cuisine, An Appetizing Journey […]