Cyprus Foods: 20 Most Popular Cyprus Dishes. Food plays a central role in the celebrations, holidays, and family gatherings of Cypriots.
Through the sharing of good food, individuals in Cyprus come together, support each other through both the good and bad times, and demonstrate care for one another, as well as for their visitors.
Souvla, a traditional Cypriot dish, holds a prominent position in the culinary culture of Cyprus and is widely enjoyed during celebrations, family get-togethers, and Sunday meals.
This delectable dish features generous pork, lamb, or chicken portions, which are meticulously cooked on rotating skewers over a charcoal grill called foukou.
Due to the substantial size of the meat cuts, they are slow-cooked at a gentle heat for an extended period, resulting in tender and flavorful meat. – Cyprus Foods
Souvlakia is a Greek dish that’s a mini version of souvla. It’s usually made with pork or chicken, and it’s usually cooked on a foukou, which is a kind of charcoal grill. It’s usually served in pita form, packed with chopped tomatoes, cucumbers, cabbage, onions, herbs, and a lot of lemon juice – yum! It’s also a favorite dish for Cypriots when they’re out and about. – Cyprus Foods
Sheftalia, a traditional sausage hailing from Cyprus, is crafted using caul fat or omentum, the protective membrane enveloping the stomach of either a pig or lamb, instead of the conventional sausage casing. It’s made with caul fat, which is the membrane that wraps around the stomach of pigs or lambs. Instead of using a sausage casing, it’s made with omentum. – Cyprus Foods
Afelia is a classic pork dish in Cyprus. It’s made by marinating small pieces of pork in red wine, then frying and braising them with coriander seeds and red wine. It’s usually served with a bunch of bulgur wheat and yogurt. Another popular side dish is Patate Antinahtes – it’s baby potatoes that have been skinned, fried, and then cooked with red wine and coriander seeds. – Cyprus Foods
5. Ofto Kleftiko
Ofto kleftiko is a delectable dish consisting of lamb or goat that is carefully wrapped in foil or baking paper and cooked in a wood-fired oven for several hours.
It is traditionally served alongside potatoes or bulgur wheat (Pilafi). Due to its slow cooking process, the meat becomes incredibly tender and develops a delightful sweetness, often effortlessly falling off the bone. The origins of this dish are accompanied by various narratives.
One account suggests that in Cyprus, the animal used for ofto was frequently stolen. However, another story traces its roots back to the Greek Revolution of 1821, where Greek mountain rebels known as “kleftes” would pilfer an animal and cook it in an underground pit to conceal the smoke. – Cyprus Foods
Tarhana is a dehydrated food ingredient that originates from a fermented blend of grain and yogurt or fermented milk. It is commonly found in the culinary traditions of Central Asia, Southeast Europe, and the Middle East. The dry form of tarhana has a coarse and uneven texture, resembling crumbs.
It is typically used to make a thick soup by combining it with water, stock, or milk. Due to its acidic nature and low moisture content, the milk proteins in tarhana have a long shelf life.
Tarhana bears a striking resemblance to certain types of Kashk. Armenian tarkhana is made by mixing matzoon and eggs with equal proportions of wheat flour and starch. The dough is formed into small pieces, which are then dried and stored in glass containers.
These dried pieces are primarily used in soups, where they dissolve in hot liquids. Greek Trahanas, on the other hand, consist solely of cracked wheat or a couscous-like paste and fermented milk. Turkish tarhana is made by fermenting cracked wheat (or flour), yogurt, and vegetables, which are subsequently dried.
In Cyprus, tarhana is considered a national delicacy and is often served with halloumi cheese. In Albania, it is prepared using wheat, yogurt, and butter, and served with hot olive oil and feta cheese. – Cyprus Foods
This soup is made by boiling rice in chicken stock, and then adding beaten eggs, lemon juice, salt, and pepper to the cooked rice. It is usually served hot, often with chicken pieces. Besides being one of the most popular winter soups, Augolemoni can also be served after church on Holy Saturday night. It is also served before Easter Sunday and Christmas morning. – Cyprus Foods
This dish is called Moutzentra and it’s made with brown lentils and some rice. It’s filling and full of protein, and you can make it even better by adding fried or caramelized onion. It’s said that it’s from the Middle East and it’s had a big impact on Cypriot food. – Cyprus Foods
Louvi, also known as black-eyed peas, is a well-liked and nutritious legume dish in Cyprus. The locals prepare it in two distinct ways, depending on the season. When cooked in its dried form, known as “louvi me ta lahana,” it is combined with chard.
On the other hand, when prepared in its fresh form, referred to as “louvi me to kolokoui,” it exhibits a light green color and is cooked with various types of squash, specifically marrow.
Both variations of the dish are generously drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice, enhancing their flavors. Additionally, as is customary with legume dishes, olives, green chilies, or canned fish like sardines, tuna, or anchovies are commonly served alongside the main dish. – Cyprus Foods
Sarma, a popular dish in Southeastern European and Ottoman cuisine, is often referred to as stuffed grape leaves, stuffed vine leaves, or stuffed cabbage leaves in English-speaking countries.
It is made by rolling vegetable leaves, such as cabbage, patience dock, collard, grapevine, kale, or chard, around a filling of grains, minced meat, or both.
Sarma is a type of dolma, which is a broader category of stuffed dishes. Grapevine leaf rolls are a specific type of dolma that consists of cooked grapevine leaves wrapped around various fillings.
Stuffed vine leaves without meat are sometimes called yalancı dolma, which translates to “liar’s dolma” in Turkish. Vişneli yalancı dolması is a variation of stuffed vine leaves that features rice seasoned with cinnamon, allspice, and mint. – Cyprus Foods
Mahallepi, a beloved and highly traditional summer dessert, is created by simmering water and corn flour without any additional sugar. This delectable treat is best enjoyed when served cold, accompanied by either rose water and sugar or Triantafyllo (rose cordial syrup). Undoubtedly, it offers a tantalizing, fragrant, and revitalizing experience for the summer season! – Cyprus Foods
Pourekia, a classic pastry treat, consists of delicate puff pastry filled with a variety of ingredients. The beloved and traditional sweet filling is anari, a soft cheese from Cyprus, combined with cinnamon and sugar.
To add the perfect final touch, these delectable pastries are dusted with powdered sugar. Pourekia are equally renowned for their savory version, which features fillings such as halloumi cheese, mushrooms, or minced meat. – Cyprus Foods
Loukoumades, a beloved dessert, can be found at fairs and celebrations in Cyprus, but they are also available year-round throughout the country. These delectable treats consist of small balls of dough that are deep-fried until they become crispy and puffy, and then they are coated in syrup. – Cyprus Foods
14. Kolokouthkia me ta Auka
This dish is a beloved classic accompaniment and one of the simplest meals to prepare in the comfort of your kitchen. It involves frying sliced zucchini with whisked eggs. The zucchini variety cultivated in Cyprus adds a delightful sweetness and delectable flavor to this dish, making it a sought-after meze served in taverns. – Cyprus Foods
Kolokasi, also known as taro, is a root vegetable abundant in protein. Cyprus stands out as one of the few locations in Europe where this vegetable is cultivated in significant amounts.
One popular method of preparing Kolokasi involves simmering it in a savory tomato sauce alongside vegetables like celery, resulting in a delectable stew.
Additionally, it is frequently cooked in combination with pork. Another culinary approach involves frying Kolokasi with aromatic coriander seeds, known as poulles, creating a distinct and flavorful dish. – Cyprus Foods
16. Makaronia tou Fournou
Makaronia tou fournou is a beloved culinary delight in Cyprus. This delectable pasta dish is prepared by layering minced pork and tomato sauce between pasta sheets, with a luscious béchamel cream topping. To enhance the flavors, a sprinkle of cinnamon is added over the cream before it is baked to perfection, providing a delightful finishing touch to this exquisite dish. – Cyprus Foods
Halloumi, a popular local product, is a semi-hard cheese that originates from Cyprus. It is crafted from the milk of sheep, goats, or occasionally cows. This versatile cheese can be fried or grilled without melting, making it an excellent choice as a side dish or meze starter. Additionally, it is commonly enjoyed in its raw form and pairs wonderfully with watermelon. – Cyprus Foods
18. Pilafi Pourgouri
Pilafi Pourgouri, a nutritious cereal made from bulgur wheat, is prepared by cooking it with tomato juice and finely chopped onions.
This traditional dish is a popular accompaniment to meat dishes in Cypriot cuisine, although it can also be enjoyed on its own.
Additionally, it is common to include fides, or vermicelli noodles, in the preparation of the bulgur wheat, adding a delightful texture to the dish. – Cyprus Foods
Agrelia, a variety of wild asparagus, is harvested by the locals in the initial months of the year. Traditionally, these asparagus are preserved in water and commonly prepared by frying them with eggs, serving as an appetizing meze. Although they possess a mild bitterness, this can be mitigated by boiling them in hot water and subsequently straining them. – Cyprus Foods
Gemista is a classic dish consisting of various vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini, peppers, and eggplant, that are stuffed with a delicious mixture.
The filling, which is also used for Koupepia, is made from a combination of pork mince and rice. These stuffed vegetables are then baked in the oven until tender and are typically enjoyed alongside a refreshing yogurt and salad. – Cyprus Foods