Cyprus cuisine is much like the Greek cuisine. The Cypriot cuisine involves appetizers, delicacies and salads, main dishes and sweets. There is also the traditional cyprus coffee and other traditional beverages brewed on the island.
Tzatziki (yogurt with garlic, cucumber, olive oil and a little pepper)
Tahini (Crushed sesame seeds with olive oil, lemon and garlic)
Taramosalata (Fish roe , pureed potatoes with olive oil, parsley, lemon juice and onion)
Haloumi (soft cheese usually grilled, made from either goat or sheep milk and sometimes spiced with peppermint)
Hummus (chickpeas and tahini)
These are just some of the Cypriot dishes worth breaking the diet for during a visit to Cyprus:
• Afelia: pork, marinated with coriander.
• Village Salad: salad composed of cabbage, lettuce, celery, cucumber, tomato, pepper, olives, feta cheese and herbs.
• Bread: always white and a central component of every Cypriot meal.
• Fish: usually deep-fried.
• Fresh Vegetables: artichokes, asparagus, various kinds of lettuce, potatoes, mushrooms, aubergine, courgettes and celery.
• Halloumi: cheese made from either sheep’s or cow’s milk which tastes especially good when fried. You can only find this cheese in Cyprus.
• Hiromeri: smoked ham.
• Hummus: cold chickpea puree.
• Kleftiko: lamb simmered in foil.
• Keftedes: fried meatballs
• Kolokasi: root vegetables.
• Kolokithakia: courgettes either stuffed or plain served as a side dish.
• Koukia: broad beans, served either as soup or raw in salad.
• Koupepia (dolmades): stuffed vine leaves.
• Lountza: ham, usually served in sandwiches and fried with halloumi.
• Makaronia tou Fournou (or Pastitsio): macaroni cas¬serole made with ground meat.
• Meze: a little bit of a lot of dishes!
• Fresh Fruit: especially grapes, figs, melon, citrus fruits, and watermelon.
• Olive-oil: especially tasty and used generously in the prepara¬tion of many foods.
• Olives: marinated with garlic, coriander, lemon and rhyme.
• Pastourmas: garlic sausage
• Pitta Bread: flat, hollow rounds of bread filled with sheftalia or souvlaki and vegetables.
• Pilafi: coarsely ground wheat grains and vermicelli cooked in chicken broth and served with a selection of different vegetable side-dishes.
• Souvla: pork, chicken or lamb roasted on a spit, which is especially popular at family picnics, birthdays and special occasions. It is also considered a “man’s job” to take care of the spit.
• Souvlakia: grilled meat kebabs.
• Sheftalia: grilled sausage made of ground meat.
• Stifado: beef or rabbit stew prepared with onions.
• Tahini: sesame sauce with lemon and garlic.
• Talattouri (Tzatziki): yogurt prepared with cucumber and peppermint.
• Taramosalata: pink dip made of cod roe with lemon, potato puree, onions and oil.
• Trahanas: coarsely ground wheat grains dried with yogurt and added to soups together with halloumi.
If you have a sweet tooth, Cyprus offers plenty of delicious treats to finish your meal or to snack on:
• Baklava: puff pastry filled with nuts and soaked in syrup.
• Daktila (“ladies’ fingers”): finger-shaped strudel pastry filled with a nut-cinnamon mixture and soaked in syrup.
• Glyko tou koutaliou (“spoon sweet”): fruit or walnuts marinated in syrup and served with a glass of water as a welcome titbit for guests.
• Honey: often served with yogurt and almonds or anari.
• Koulourakia: a ring-shaped cookie or rusk biscuit sprinkled with sesame seeds.
• Loukoumades: deep-fried balls of choux pastry served in syrup.
• Loukoumia or Cypriot Delight: a culinary speciality from Yeroskipos, near Pafos consisting of cubes of gelatin served in rose water and dusted with powdered sugar.
• Palouzes: a kind of pudding made from grape juice and flour; it is the basis for soutzoukos.
• Pourekia: deep-fried pastry stuffed with anari, sugar and cinnamon
• Soutzoukos: a long chain of almonds strung together, dunked in palouses and then dried.
Visitors to Cyprus will find an abundance of both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Coffee is boiled in a little pot with sugar added upon request and poured into a cup together with the steeped coffee grounds. If you like your coffee sweet, then ask for a “glyko”, not very sweet but with some sugar is a “metrio” and if you prefer it black order a “sketo”.
Commandaria wine( sweet dessert wine made from grapes)
Zivania spirit (produced by distillation of grapes). Ouzo is another famous and traditional Cyprus drink, which is produced by double distillation of selected dry wines, together with seeds of anise.
Cyprus beers (due to the mild climate that produces rich wheat, which is used to brew high quality light beers)
Frappe: An iced coffee drink. It is either glykos (sweet), metrios (medium sweet) or sketos (no sugar). It is also ordered with milk (me gala) or without.
Traditional Festive Meals
As in many countries, Cypriots celebrate special occasions enjoying some special and specific dishes, many of which you cannot find any other time of the year.
• Wedding meal: ressi (wheat with meat), pastitsio, kleftiko, and kourabiedes (short-crust pastry filled with almonds) for each well-wisher.
• Easter: lamb souvla (on the spit), magiritsa or Easter Soup (made of parts from the head of either a calf or lamb and vegetables, served with garlic bread), eggs dyed red, and flaounes (a kind of turnover made from yeast dough and filled with eggs, cheese and raisins).
• New Year’s Eve: Vassilopitta, a cake made from yeast dough, spread with egg and generously strewn with sesame seeds and almonds. A coin is hidden within the cake and the one who finds it is the lucky person of the year.
In Cyprus you will find restaurants to suit all palates and budgets. Prices range which helps make according to the type of food served and the location. Waiters always speak English, your visit a culinary experience to remember.
The best way to get acquainted with Cypriot food is to order a meze, in one of the many Cypriot tavernas and restaurants.
In the summer you can enjoy your meal at one of the many an open air tavernas, usually decorated with vines and, in some instances, offering live Cypriot music.
If Cypriot food is something you don’t want to stick to during your whole visit, there is nothing to worry about, as in the whole of Cyprus you can find plenty of restaurants which offer a wide variety of international cuisine, going from Mexican to Chinese.
Most of the international fast food chains have outlets in Cyprus, and you will also find local versions serving kebabs or more traditional dishes.
Video about traditional foods: