Cyprus cuisine - you will definitely not stay hungry!
The Cypriot cuisine combines the traditions of the East and the Mediterranean. Of course, there is a lot of Turkish, and Greek, and local innovations. And during English colonial presence, some English food preferences came here.
Let's see what you can eat and eat.
Fast Food in Cyprus
Just like everywhere else, in Cyprus, the signs of well-known chain restaurants McDonald's, Burger King, KFC, Pizza Hut or Ocean Basket are everywhere. But no less often you come across quite authentic eateries where they cook what we used to call “shawarma”, “doner”, and the Greeks call it “gyros”. Gyros can be made from beef, pork, but more often it is made from chicken. Served in pita. You can take it with you or sit down at the table right there.
Another option for Cypriot street food is psistaria. Psistaria are somewhat reminiscent of our cookery, where you can pick up already prepared dishes: salads, appetizers, hot dishes and desserts. You can take everything with you or eat on the spot.
The geographical position of Cyprus and its history have left a peculiar imprint on the local cuisine, which has absorbed many of the Eastern, Balkan and Italian cuisines.
There are almost no soups, and those that are there are used mainly in the cold season.
The most popular Cypriot soups:
Trahanas (Τραχανάς) consists of chicken broth, goat milk, wheat grits, halloumi cheese, lemon juice and spices to taste. Quite original soup, worth trying. You can buy ready-made mixture in local Cypriot shops, all you have to do is cook chicken broth.
Avgolemono (Αυγολέμονο) consists of chicken broth with vegetables, rice, lemon juice, chicken yolk, salt and pepper to taste.
Kakavia (Κακκαβιά) consists of small sea fish (perch, flounder, mullet, lavracia, etc.), potatoes, onions, pomir, herbs, lemon and olive oil.
Where can we go without meat...
Having studied the menu of any tavern or restaurant, you will be convinced that the Cypriots are convinced meat eaters. Souvla and souvlaki are served everywhere.
Suvla are relatively large pieces of lamb roasted over charcoal.
Souvlaki are smaller pieces of lamb, pork or chicken fried on charcoal. More reminiscent of a well-known shish kebab.
The main difference between charcoal meat cooked in Cyprus is that it is not pickled, as we are used to, but sprinkled with salt and spices before being skewered.
Another dish cooked over charcoal is sheftalia.
Sheftalia (Σιεφταλιά) is a small sausage (cutlet) made from pork, lamb or chicken with the addition of greens, wrapped in a thin lamb film or pork gland.
Keftedes (Κεφτέδες) are meat balls with the addition of dried mint. Quite unusual juicy mini cutlets are obtained.
Keftedes (Κεφτέδες) are meat balls (meat bolls) with the addition of dried mint. Quite unusual juicy mini cutlets are obtained.
Kleftiko (Κλέφτικο) is lamb meat, with feta cheese, lemon and spices, languishing in the oven for several hours, or in the modern version - in the oven. The meat is amazingly juicy and just melts in your mouth.
Gemista (Γεμιστά) are vegetables stuffed with rice and minced meat. Unlike stuffed peppers we are used to, zucchini and tomatoes are also used.
Dolmades (ντολμάδες) are Greek cabbage rolls. Grape leaves are used as the shell, and the filling is minced meat, rice and lemon juice.
Stifado (Στιφάδο) - beef stewed in tomato sauce with red wine and lots of onions and cinnamon.
Aphelia (Αφέλια) - pork marinated in red wine with coriander.
Moussaka (μουσακάς) is very popular - eggplants baked in béchamel sauce with minced lamb, zucchini, mushrooms and/or potatoes. All ingredients are laid out in layers.
There is also a vegetarian moussaka, all the same ingredients, only without the addition of minced meat.
Kokoretsi (Κοκορέτσι) is the Greek-Balkan dish. It is a lamb guts (liver, lungs, heart, etc.), strung on a spit and wrapped in mutton intestines. Most often it is prepared for Christmas.
Tavas (Ταβάς) is lamb or goat meat (sometimes pork or rabbit) baked in a clay pot with potatoes with the addition of cumin, cinnamon, bay leaf and paprika. In Lefkara, more rice is added there.
Seafood in Cyprus
The island has a fairly varied menu of fresh seafood. In fish taverns, you can be offered dishes from a variety of seafood caught by fishermen on the same day or from farmed seabass (lavraki) or dorado (tsipoura), as well as octopuses, squid, cuttlefish and small crabs.
Heading in the direction of Troodos, you can enjoy charcoal-baked trout from farms in several places.
Gemisti - stuffed zucchini flowers (Κολοκυθοανθοί Γεμιστοί) are deep-fried zucchini flowers stuffed with rice, tomatoes, and herbs. Served with yoghurt.
For centuries, Greeks and Turks have lived in Cyprus together. Therefore, one should not be surprised at such an interpenetration of cultures and taste preferences. Other names: giaprakia, tsimetia.
Halloumi (Χαλλούμι) is a type of goat cheese with mint. Quite popular in Cyprus. Children call cheese "squeaky" because it squeaks its teeth in a funny way.
Halloumi even tried to register as a product of the protected designation of origin (PDO). Don't be surprised when we talk about cheese as a dish. It is grilled and served with tomatoes and herbs. This hard cheese hardly melts. However, halloumi is also added "raw" to salads, soup, or served for dessert with... watermelon.
Saganaki (Σαγανάκι) is a traditional cheese fried in olive oil. Served as an appetizer with a slice of lemon or a slice of bread.
Feta (Φέτα) is a Greek soft cheese made from a mixture of sheep's and goat's milk. Not to be confused with cheese, firstly, different manufacturing technology, secondly, only this is Greek cheese, and only Greece has the right to make it.
Feta cheese is used in many dishes - as a separate snack, added to a rustic salad, fried in breadcrumbs, in sandwiches, etc.
Kolokasi (Κολοκάσι) is a Cypriot vegetable.
Tuber pieces taste like potatoes, boiled and stewed with pork or chicken in a sauce of tomatoes, vegetables and spices.
Purguri (Πουργούρι) is a popular side dish in Cyprus. It consists of bulgur, vermicelli, onion, olive oil. Sometimes tomato paste is added.
Rustic salad (χωριάτικη σαλάτα) - consists of feta cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, olives, onions, olive oil and delicious herbs.
Hummus (Χούμους) - the sauce is made from a mix of boiled mashed chickpeas, sesame paste, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic. Served as a starter with bread or pita.
Melidzanosalata - eggplant dip (Μελιζανοσαλάτα) is a sauce made from eggplant pulp, grilled with garlic, yogurt, lemon juice and herbs.
Tahini (Ταχίνι) is a thick sesame paste. It is served as an independent sauce, and is also a constituent ingredient of other sauces.
Taramasalata (ταραμοσαλάτα) is a puree-like sauce consisting of fish roe, olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic. Served with bread, pita and olives.
Dzadziki (τζατζίκι) is a starter sauce consisting of yogurt, fresh cucumber, garlic and herbs. Served with bread, pita or vegetables.
So many things.. and how to try everything?!
There is a meze for this. It consists of a large set of dishes - 15-25.
In Cyprus, a kind of gastronomic attraction is common, consisting in serving almost the entire menu of the institution, but in small portions. Thanks to this, the visitor can appreciate all the richness of the assortment. Many peoples of the eastern Mediterranean have similar options, differing only in the composition of the dishes served. There are variants of meat, fish and vegetarian meze.
Desserts and sweets of Cyprus
It is impossible to be part of the Ottoman Empire and not enrich your cuisine with oriental sweets! As a dessert, you will always be offered various types of baklava or lukumi.
And also in Cyprus, lukumades are very popular – something resembling the doughnuts we know - dough balls fried in vegetable oil and poured with honey syrup.
Carrot cake (Κέικ καρότου) - contains a lot of carrots, but it is almost invisible. Grated carrots are mixed with batter, nuts, dried fruits and grated coconut are added. Amazing and very nutritious.
Fruit in Cyprus
A wide selection of seasonal fruits is available on the island all year round. These are strawberries and citrus fruits - oranges, tangerines, grapefruits, passion fruit, bananas, dragon fruit, figs, apricots and many others.
And that there will be no coffee? - of course it will!
Tea is not very popular in Cyprus. Mostly Cypriots drink it when they are sick. But coffee is quite popular here.
In the summer, the Greek drink frappe (φραπέ) is widely used. Black coffee is mixed with water, milk, ice and sugar are added if desired. It refreshes well in the heat.
Cyprus coffee (κυπριακες καφές) is freshly ground coffee brewed in Turkey.
Of course, this is not the whole range of Cypriot dishes. There are quite a lot of them, so the most refined gourmet will find something delicious and unsurpassed for himself.
As you understand, Cypriot cuisine is distinguished by a unique combination of Greek and Turkish traditions, but with full respect for the Mediterranean cuisine culture, using a large amount of olive oil, lemon juice and exclusively natural, fresh products. One of the features of Cypriot cuisine is the ubiquitous use of parsley, garlic and yogurt. There are few spicy seasonings, but mint, cardamom, arugula, tarragon, other spices and herbs familiar to Italian cuisine are very popular. Over the past hundred years, thanks to the British, Cypriots have become addicted to curry and ginger. In addition to the dishes described above, gourmets will enjoy a wide variety of snacks and pickles.
In any case, believe me, despite any of the most exotic preferences and tastes, it will not work to stay hungry in Cyprus!
Photos: pinterest, pixabay.com, DOM LiVE