Cypriot traditional food has many influences with a mix of Greek, Turkish, and Arabic tastes. It’s a very healthy cuisine and mostly because of olive oil which is one of Cyprus’s main exports Travel around the island of Cyprus and you will notice olive trees are everywhere.
Halloumi cheese is one of the main exports of Cyprus, it is a very versatile cheese it can be grilled, fried or barbecued but my favourite way is to just slice it and have it with watermelon for breakfast. it has a slightly salty taste and it has just been made legal by the EU that halloumi is officially from Cyprus.
kleftiko is another popular greek meal which is usually eaten at the weekend. a lot of houses in Cyprus have a special kleftiko oven in their back garden, it’s a wood-fired domed oven (kiln) in which you put a tray of lamb or mutton with potatoes and lots of olive oil with a bay leaf, it is then slow-cooked for hours until the meat just falls of the bone.
kolokasi (taro root)
kolokasi (taro root) is a type of sweet potato which is very popular in Cyprus, it is usually cooked with pork in a juicy tomato sauce and celery and it resembles a stew. it is full of protein and has sugar content, my parents told me that in the past the farmers used to eat it to give them more energy while they are working in the fields.
Sheftalies is a traditional Greek-style sausage that is cooked on a barbecue, these are one of my favorites. they taste a lot better than what the ingredients suggest. the savory pork mince is mixed with onion and parsley but they are wrapped in Bana which is a thin sheet of a lamb’s stomach lining. but you have to taste them to believe how delicious they really are. They are cooked on a barbecue and they smell succulent,put them in a piece of pitta bread and they taste like heaven.
Greek people regard this soup as the Greek penicillin in Cyprus if you feel unwell the avgolemono soup is put straight onto the stove. the soup is basically made of rice, eggs, lemon, and chicken broth and is very tasty. nothing is nicer to have in those few cold weeks that it is quite cold in Cyprus.
Louvi (black eyed beans)
Louvi is black-eyed beans that are boiled until they soften, they are then mixed with chard or spinach, some people even mix it with marrow. they drain the beans and then mixed with lots of olive oil and plenty of lemon juice. this meal is an inexpensive filling and healthy meal which is rich in protein.
Koupes is a Greek street style dish from Cyprus, it is basically made from bulgar wheat and filled with savoury mince,they are served with plenty of lemon and the more you eat the more you want more really delicious.
Koupepia is also known as stuffed vine leaves, the leaves are blanched in salty water until they soften, then they are filled with savoury rice, you can have a meat version or a vegetarian type. they are served as a main meal or you can have them as part of a meze. these are my absolute favourite especially my mum’s ,she’s famous for them.
Baklava is a filo pastry filled with lots of chopped nuts usually pecan and pistachio nuts. then a sweet syrup is poured all over, some people use honey instead. It is a very popular dessert in Cyprus as well as being popular in Turkey and the Arabic countries
These are just a few of Cypriot favourite dishes but a brilliant way to try the Cypriot cuisine would be to go to a restaurant and have a meze. You will need a very big appetite to finish a meze, it’s plate after plate of delicious dishes that never seem to stop coming.