10 foods you must try in Cyprus

10 foods you must try in Cyprus

Similar to neighbouring countries, mealtimes in Cyprus are serious business. Cypriots love their food and one of the best things about Cyprus is its varied cuisine.

The island’s location has brought a very diverse mix of culinary influences. Very similar to Greek cuisine, Cypriot food is also heavily influenced by Turkish cuisine and has some gastronomic influences from Arabic countries too. From the iconic halloumi cheese to soups, stews and their very own mouth-watering version of lasagne, Musement reveals ten unique Cypriot foods you must try:

1. Halloumi cheese

The most famous product to come from Cyprus; halloumi cheese has become increasingly popular in many countries across Europe and beyond. Generally made from a mix of sheep and goat milk, this semi-hard brined cheese is often grilled or fried. It remains firm when heated and has a salty taste with a slightly rubbery texture. A great substitute for meat or as an addition to salads, sandwiches and soups.


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2. Koupepia (stuffed vine leaves)

Known as dolmades in neighbouring countries, this traditional dish consists of vine leaves stuffed with rice and ground meat. Unlike the Greek dolmades, the Cypriot version uses a tomato and cinnamon sauce. Koupepias can be served as part of a meze platter or as a main dish and are usually served warm.


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3. Koupes

A tasty Cypriot dish, koupes are commonly served as a snack, part of a meze platter or as an entrée. Similar in shape and size to a croquette, the exterior crust is made with bulgur wheat and filled with stuffing, usually minced meat, parsley and other spices.


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4. Sheftalia

A traditional Cypriot sausage made from minced meat, usually a mixture of pork and lamb. The meat is combined with onion, parsley, aromatics and spices. The sausage is prepared without pork casings and is instead wrapped in caul fat, sometimes called lace fat, which is the fatty stomach membrane of pigs, cows and sheep. The sausages are then grilled and served with pita bread, salad and dips.


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5. Loukaniko

Loukaniko is another Cypriot sausage made from fresh minced pork and spices and left to soak in dry red wine. After being soaked, the special sausages have a characteristic taste and colour. They can be cooked in a variety of ways, on the barbeque, grill or fried in a pan.


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6. Trahana soup

Trahana is a dried pasta-like ingredient made of cracked wheat and fermented goat milk. The mixture is moulded into small shapes before being placed into the sun to dry. These pieces can be used fresh or can be preserved in the freezer and taken out when required to be made into a thick, comforting soup. Many people also add chicken, grated tomato or small pieces of halloumi to their soup which gives it a creamier taste.


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7. Stifado

This heart-warming winter dish is not only found in Cyprus but is also popular in neighbouring Greece. A stew is made from beef, rabbit or sometimes octopus and combined with onions, tomatoes, red wine, cinnamon and garlic. It is slow cooked for hours and served with rice or orzo.


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8. Macaronia tou Fournou

The Cypriot version of lasagne and very similar to the famous Greek dish pastitsio. A layered pasta bake is made with pork mince and bechamel cheese sauce. The Cypriot variety differs from the Greek version by using dry mint and halloumi cheese. A real crowd pleaser, this dish is commonly served at family parties, weddings and christenings.

9. Kolokouthkia me ta afka

Courgette with eggs. A very simple dish often served at breakfast or as part of a meze or as a side dish. The courgettes are fried and mixed with salted scrambled eggs. Sometimes potatoes can be added too.


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10. Pasteli

Pasteli is a traditional Cypriot sweet made of carob syrup. The carob syrup is boiled and then twisted into shape by hand to form flat brittle slabs of toffee. It is often mixed with sesame seeds and/or nuts. The traditional way of creating pasteli from carobs has many stages and the village of Anogyra in the Limassol district is the only place that continue to produce it in the traditional way.


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