National Cuisine of Cyprus

The cuisine of Cyprus is a multinational blend of culinary delights. Inspired by Turkish and Greek cuisine: especially the thick and boiling soups and the tradition of preparing food over open fire and grills. The culinary delights of the Cypriots are full of garlic, greens, yogurt, vegetable dishes.

The varied Cypriot cuisine includes elements of traditional Italian, Armenian and Arabian dishes. Local chefs use arugula, basil, coriander, cinnamon, ginger in cooking. These ingredients, combined with spices, give dishes an “oriental” flavor.

There are a lot of fruits and vegetables growing on the island which are used as a base for preparing local dishes. Cyprus is famous for its citrus fruits and juices. Potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, and eggplant are commonly used as side dishes. Strawberries bear fruit from January to November, so they can be found in many dessert and sweet dishes.

Traditional Cypriot breakfast

It should be noted that the cuisine of Cyprus is extremely healthy. Cypriots use almost no animal fats, preferring vegetable oils. They eat a lot of fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruit. Meat dishes from lamb, pork, poultry, and rabbit are popular. Beef is a rarity in these parts, so the menu almost never includes this type of meat.

The meat is cooked on a spit, over charcoal or in an oven, over a fire, according to oriental traditions. Meat dishes look like shawarma, shashlik or sausages, as Russians are accustomed to. In the restaurant menu you can also find roast beef, steak and roast meat, but the national dishes of Cyprus are very popular with tourists.

Would you like to taste the traditional Cypriot gyros? These are small pieces of meat roasted on a spit. The peculiarity of this “kebab” is that the meat is pre-wrapped in a pita (flatbread) with fries, lettuce, tomatoes and onion rings added inside. Served with dzazaki sauce, which includes yogurt, garlic, finely chopped cucumbers, and mint. This dish is very nourishing and satisfying, although it has a peculiar taste, unusual to Europeans.

Cyprus Gyros

Cyprus gyros

Order aphelia – pork stewed in red wine with coriander. Served with greens or fresh vegetables, this succulent dish has a wonderful spicy flavor!

Aphelia with bulgur

Afelia with bulgur

Souvlaki made of poultry, lamb or pork is similar to a traditional shish kebab, the difference being that the meat pieces are quite small (about 3×3 cm). Souvlaki is grilled on coals, without marinating and served with tortillas and vegetables. Very good sausages “lukanika” cooked on coals. They can be garnished with french fries, peas, or a salad of fresh tomatoes and cucumbers. It is also necessary to serve bread with the dish.

Cyprus kebabs souvlaki

Cypriot kebabs souvlaki

Although Cyprus is washed by the waters of the Mediterranean Sea, the islanders do not have their own seafood, and the shipments of fish and other seafood delicacies come from the neighboring Mediterranean countries. Local fishermen harvest freshwater trout and pastrophe. However, coastal taverns offer grilled calamari (squid), taramasalata (a dish of cod roe), swordfish, and barbunia. In combination with fresh herbs, vegetables, and wine, the fish dishes take on a unique flavor!

To fully appreciate the variety and variety of tastes of the Cypriot cuisine, we recommend ordering at the restaurant a complete meal of mezze. Mezze consists of a large number of appetizers, cold and hot dishes – a total of 10 to 50. Salads appear on the table first, followed by vegetable casseroles and cheeses, then hot and hearty meat and seafood dishes. We end our meal with sweet treats and for dessert we serve fruit and freshly squeezed juices.

alt=”Not everyone can eat a full and varied Cypriot lunch.” width=”1000″ height=”667″ />Not everyone can eat a full and varied meal in Cyprus

Lunch begins with tahini, a paste made with sesame seeds, olive oil, and nuts, tallaturi (yogurt mixed with garlic, parsley, and cucumbers), and taramosalat (a paste of fish roe and onions). You eat these pastas with bread, as a snack. After a warm-up you are served hummus, a traditional Arab snack made of peas, sesame seeds, parsley, and olive oil. Hummus is replaced by potatoes with olive oil and lemon juice, green salad, and pickled cauliflower. Served with grilled sausages, dolmades (meat in grape leaves) and sheftalias, the original meatballs.

Once you’re done with your next batch of appetizers, the waiter will serve you lunza, a smoked pork marinated with coriander in red wine, and halloumi, a goat cheese with the subtle scent of mint. Halloumi is traditionally grilled, which makes it taste deliciously smoky.

Another representative of the Cypriot cuisine - grilled jaloumi

Another representative of Cypriot cuisine is haloumi on the grill

Hors d’oeuvres succeed hot dishes. You will be served kleftiko (lamb in pots), stifado (beef with onions marinated in wine sauce), moussaka – casserole made of eggplants, minced meat, potatoes, tomatoes, and garlic. Among meals you’ll find juicy chicken with crispy crust, flavorful kebabs, baked calamari, tuna, and plates of red fish.

Delicious kataifi dessert

Delicious kataifi dessert

You’re already full and want to leave the place? And what about dessert? After a sumptuous feast, you’re treated to an array of fresh fruits abundant on the island: figs, oranges, watermelon, melon, strawberries–everything in season! Finally, you must have a cup of aromatic Turkish coffee with a spoonful of liqueur or brandy. If you wish, you will be served baklava with nuts and honey, Turkish delight, kataifi (sweet vermicelli), and all kinds of pastries…

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