Cyprus Food: What Can You Expect From the Local Offering?

Cypriots love food, so it’s therefore no surprise that the countries local cuisine is so expansive and rich. Due to the islands geographical location there is an interesting combination of traditional Greek, Turkish and Arabic culinary influences.

At the weekend, families and friends get together either to eat at someone’s house or a traditional “taverna” similar to a restaurant but more casual. These are large, informal gatherings where the table is filled to the brim with an incredible number of delicious and varying dishes.

This style of dining originates from the Cypriot fondness for meze (translated to mean mixture, with Arabic origin) which involves many small dishes with varying flavours and smells. This is definitely the best way to try Cypriot cuisine out, as you can enjoy the widest selection of local foods, all in one meal.

A meze typically includes most Cyprus specialties, principally halloumi cheese, village salad, a selection of red meats such as lamb, beef or souvlaki, and a variety of dips and sauces with delicious bread, all washed down with copious amounts of wine and beer!

The local dishes are usually well seasoned, however not spicy, so tourists don’t have to worry about any of the dishes being off limits. International cuisine is also offered across the island, however if visiting, sampling the local food can be a real treat.


Typical Cypriot Food & Traditional Dishes:

• Village Salad: Typical Cyprus starter and side dish composed of feta cheese, cabbage, lettuce, olive oil celery, cucumber, tomato, pepper, olives and oregano.
• Halloumi: cheese made from either sheep’s or cow’s milk which tastes especially good when fried. You can only find this cheese in Cyprus.
• Kleftiko: slow cooked lamb on the bone.
• Souvla: pork, chicken or lamb roasted on a spit, which is especially popular at family picnics, birthdays and special occasions. It is also considered a “man’s job” to take care of the spit.
• Sheftalia: grilled sausage made of ground meat.
• Stifado: Greek-style beef stew prepared with a tomato sauce and onions.
• Keftedes: fried Greek-style meatballs.
• Dolmades: stuffed vine leaves with rice and sometimes meat.
• Pitta Bread: The most typical kind of bread on the island which are flat, hollow rounds that are perfect for filling with different meats and veggies.
• Tahini: a sauce made from sesame usually with lemon and garlic.
• Tzatziki: yogurt prepared with cucumber and peppermint.
• Taramosalata: a pink dip made of cod roe with lemon, potato puree, onions and oil.
• Olives: typically marinated with garlic, coriander, lemon and thyme.


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