Facts about Cyprus

Area: 9,251 sq km
Capital: Nicosia
Language: Greek, Turkish
Currency: Euro
  Turkish Lira
Population: 784,301
Coastline: 648 sq km

Home > Culture > Cypriot Cuisine

Cypriot Cuisine

Food, too, reflects the divide: in the North you'll find mostly Turkish cuisine; in the Republic, Greek. But wherever you are in Cyprus , you'll come across kleftiko (oven-baked lamb), Greek in origin and mezedes (dips, salads and other appetizers). Cyprus is also famous for its fruit, which the government protects with a ban on imported products. You'll find strawberries, stone fruit, melons, prickly pear, citrus and grapes.

Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by different cultures throughout history. Each dish has a unique taste and is well presented reflecting the Cypriot character.

Molhiya, Arab in origin is a well developed dish appealing to Turkish Cypriot taste, preparation and presentation, since there were Arabs who passed it to Turks. A few traditional dishes: Yalanci Dolma (vine leaves stuffed with rice, onions, and tomatoes) is a Turkish Cypriot dish. In Turkish Yalanci Dolma means "stuffed liar". Derived from common dolma that is filled with meat, Yalanci means "cheat/liar" which signifies the meat is missing. You can encounter with Dolma and Sarma in Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria and other Balkan countries of a former Ottoman Empire; Sish Kebab (marinated lamb, skewered and grilled over charcoal), shis is the everyday word used by Turkish people which refers to "skewer", similarly Doner Kebab means "spinning kebab"; Musakka (layers of mince, potatoes, and aubergines baked in the oven with cheese topping), Greek in origin.   

Many Cyprus dishes vary from region to region making Cyprus a fascinating place to eat.

The Turkish-Cypriot cuisine owes its heritage to a mixture of Mediterranean , Southern European and Middle Eastern influences. Local Cyprus dishes are delicious, particularly the meze . This is a specialty of Cyprus and consists of a large number of cold and hot hors d'oeuvres such as different salads, meats, vegetable, and fish dishes. It is taken either as an appetizer or a main course.

Among some interesting dishes that can be found in Cyprus belongs kolokas , a root vegetable which when cooked has a texture of potato, with sweet taste. What is extraordinary about this dish is that it is not of Turkish or Greek origin, but was brought to Cyprus Island by Venetians who came to Cyprus prior to Ottomans. Due to etymological meaning Colocasia esculenta means "elephant's ears", because that is what the leaves of plants look like. Kolokas is usually served with chicken or lamb.

The Turkish coffee has been introduced to the West by the Ottoman Turks in the fifteenth century. It is very popular all over the world today and is preferred as a delicacy in most fashionable circles. The secret of making Turkish coffee is that the coffee beans are ground into a fine powder and then it is cooked together with sugar producing a thick cream on top. Turkish coffee is served in small coffee cups, and in three ways, called sade , which is unsweetened, orta , which is moderately sweet, and sekerli , which is very sweet. One is always asked before the coffee is brewed which of the three one would like.

The coffee should be ground just before it is to be made, and it should be as fine as possible. Put one dessert-spoonful of the powder into a small pot with as much sugar as you like, and add one demi-tasse of boiling water. Allow the coffee to boil up and then immediately remove it from the heat. Repeat this process three times, and pour it into the coffee cup. The grains must be given time to subside in the cup before you can drink the coffee and it is helpful to stroke the froth in the cup gently as you wait. Turkish coffee is usually served with a glass of cold water, and it is the custom to take a sip of water after drinking coffee.

When the coffee is finished quite a lot of black sediment will be left in the bottom of the cup, and a favourite Turkish pastime it to tell fortunes in the grains. The ladies are especially good at this. You are asked to tip your cup upside down on the saucer, so that the grains can run down the sides of the cup forming patterns. After a suitable pause, the cup is scrutinized by the expert and your future is revealed. Some of the predictions are highly amusing, some sinister and ominous!

Cypriot cuisine includes a great variety of vegetable dishes, grills, pastry, fish, soups, lahmacun and many more.

In addition to local cuisine, Chinese, Italian, French and Indian foods are served in international restaurants.

There is a great variety of Cypriot cuisine and listed below are the categories:

Soups  - Mezes - Pilavs - Main Dishes - Pastas & Pastries - Sweets - Drinks

Greek Cypriot cuisine derives from Greece mainland and its associated islands. Given the geography and history of Greece , this style of cookery has influences from Italian, Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine. The terrain has tended to favou r the production of goats and sheep over cattle, and thus beef dishes tend to be a rarity by comparison. Fish dishes are also common in Cyprus cuisine.

Olive oil produced from the trees prominent throughout the region, adds to the distinctive taste of Greek food. Many dishes use filo pastry. Too much refinement is generally considered to be against the hearty spirit of the Greek cuisine. Traditionally, Greek dishes are served warm rather than hot as eating food too hot was deemed unhealthy.

Brandy Sour

Brandy Sour is the drink of Cyprus . It combines local brandy with the fresh tang of Cyprus lemons. The ingredients used are lemons squash, brandy, angostura, soda and lots of ice cubes.

Macaroni Pastitsio

This dish, like any other country, is loved by all, the young and old. It's delicious to be eaten right after baking. Although the preparations stay the same, the ingredients may vary from different countries. In Cyprus , the special ingredient includes halloumi cheese, cinnamon, bechamel sauce and nutmeg.

Barbecued Halloumi cheese

This is a special dish, made by the population of Cyprus . This dish is baked adding halloumi cheese (Arab in origin), then placed under a hot grill and grilled on both sides until golden brown. The slices are then served on a warm plate with the dressing poured over. Garnish with sprigs of coriander or flat parsley before serving, eaten together with toasted pita bread.

Grape Tart

This delicacy is one of the favorites among younger generations. The grape tart is baked in large quantities, for serving purposes, serve well while chilled.

Kalimeras Halloumi

There's nothing lighter, more refreshing or tastier than this dish, grilled or fried until it's beautifully brown and served alongside a combination of crisp lettuce, raddiccio, fresh Cyprus tomatoes and Greek dressing. Add some bread, a glass of fresh Cyprus orange juice and you have a meal that will brighten up your day.

Melomakarona Honey soaked buns

to make the bread; hone is used in a large quantity. The ingredients can be changed for sugar, instead. The buns are inked over coarsely ground almonds before serving.  




Main Dishes

Pastas & Pastries



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