What to try in Cyprus
In Cyprus they like to eat well and eat a lot. They say that a typical resident of the sunny island sits at the dinner table as the last time. And it’s not surprising, because the abundant and amazingly delicious Cypriot national dishes have collected all the best that the world presented Greek, Turkish, Middle Eastern and Italian cuisines. Halloumi (Χαλλούμι) Halloumi is the first thing to try in Cyprus from food, because dense and brackish cheese has been cooked on the island since Byzantine times. Today, the famous dairy product is the national gastronomic pride, which in 2013 won the silver medal at the World Cheese Awards.
The local restaurants serve cheese with vegetables and watermelon, as well as grilled or frying pans. You can buy the culinary heritage of Cyprus at any supermarket in the country. The price depends on the proportion of goat and sheep’s milk – the higher it is, the higher the cost of the product. Homemade halloumi is especially appreciated – in the markets they ask for it 12-18 € per kg. Taramasalata (Ταραμοσαλάτα) A traditional meal in Cyprus begins with delicious refreshing sauces, served as a separate dish or as an addition to hot drink and a fresh bun, spiced with brackish oil. One of these snacks is taramasalata – a thick, delicate pasta made on the basis of smoked cod caviar, lemon juice, onion, olive oil, soaked pulp of white bread or boiled potatoes. Souvlaki (Σουβλάκι) Souvlaki, fragrant with a fragrant smoke, is a national meat dish that lovers of hearty food should try in Cyprus. To prepare this dish, chicken, pork or lamb marinated in a mixture of olive oil and lemon juice are used. Small pieces are strung on small wooden skewers (souvls) and fried on a grill or charcoal. Cypriot-Greek souvlaki claims to be one of the oldest dishes in the world. A stone barbecue found during excavations on Santorini Island, equipped with slits for skewers, proves that meat cooked on fire was eaten in 1500 BC. e. Kleftiko (Kλέφτικο) A dish popular in Cyprus and Greece, which means “stolen meat”, has a curious history. During Ottoman rule, peasants abducted sheep from the pasture of the invaders. To prevent the fire from revealing the whereabouts of the rebels, independence fighters prepared their booty in pits filled with coals. Nowadays, lamb melting in your mouth is stewed for 3-4 hours in special ovens, sealing holes tightly with clay. To try fresh cleftiko, head to the restaurant in the late afternoon. If you find an institution where this dish is served before dinner, you should know that the cook has prepared it in advance. Trahana (Τραχανάς) Trabana soup is an original national dish, which can only be tasted in Cyprus. For its preparation, goat milk, lemon juice and crushed wheat are used. The resulting mixture, resembling a thick semolina, is boiled, cooled, rolled into small dense sausages and dried in the sun for two weeks. Before use, tragana is poured with boiling water, seasoned with yogurt and sprinkled with finely chopped halloumi cheese, herbs and spices. Lucanico (Λουκάνικο) Having looked at any butcher’s shop in Cyprus, you will surely meet the string of lucanico hanging on the walls – fragrant pork sausages from Italy. A stunning bouquet of aromas gives the dish a combination of orange zest, crushed coriander, onions and a mixture of peppers. They say that the most delicious lucanikos can be tasted in Paphos, where regional red wine is used to prepare delicious dishes. Suzukakya (Σουτζουκάκια) Suzukakya is a popular variety of oriental kebab in Cyprus. The Mediterranean variation of the Arabs’ favorite meat dish is prepared from lamb mince, garlic, onions, soaked in bread wine and complemented by carefully ground black caraway seeds. Charcoal baked cutlets served in a thick tomato sauce. The dish goes well with rice or mashed potatoes. Meze (Μεζές) Do you want to reduce your familiarity with the national cuisine of Cyprus, but don’t know what to try first? Then start with meze – a dish whose name translates as “little sweets.” The food, which has absorbed all the variety of local culinary traditions, includes from 10 to 30 dishes in miniature. Therefore, do not be surprised when the waiter starts filling your table with endless plates with mouth-watering contents. In restaurants and taverns in Cyprus, an order for Mesa is accepted for at least two visitors, since one guest is not able to cope with such an abundance of food. With all the variety, the cost of the dish is low – 15-22 € per person. Ефeftaglia (Σεφταλι В) In the winter months, when the sun hides behind the clouds and the rain is drizzling, sheftaglia appears on the tables of the island’s inhabitants. The traditional dish of Cyprus is a thick sausage made from minced pork wrapped in lamb peritoneum. Sheftal is cooked both on charcoal and in an oven equipped with a drip tray. Appetizing cutlets served with french fries.