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The ten most typical dishes of Cypriot cuisine

01 February 2014 / 18:02:26  GRReporter
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Cypriot cuisine is one of the most diverse in the world. Who has not eaten traditional Cypriot kebab sheftalia or haloumi at least once in their lifetime? Besides taste, exceptional hospitality is what enchants you on the island. Let's see 10 of the most typical Cypriot dishes and take a walk to the island of Aphrodite.


Like feta cheese, haloumi is internationally recognized and beloved. It can be found in many countries, usually baked in the oven or served with green salad, and is considered an exceptional dish. The traditional Cypriot cheese and usually baked in the oven, fried or eaten raw in a sandwich. It combines well with the exclusive local sausages marinated in wine.



Cypriot kebab sheftalia resembles small meatballs, but it is much more tasty. These are small balls of minced lamb or pork (or both), mixed with a lot of cinnamon, parsley and onions and finally wrapped in lamb veil. It is grilled on coals or baked in the oven, and is one of the dishes which you must try.

Stuffed vine leaves ‘koupepia’

Stuffed vine leaves which are called koupepia in Cyprus are prepared like the traditional ones, but the taste of cumin and lemon is quite distinctive. ‘Koupepia’ may be stuffed with rice or minced meat, ideally lamb or pork. They are served both hot and cold and garnished with chilled yogurt.

Pork ‘afelia’

Like lamb, pork takes a major place in Cypriot cuisine. To make ‘afelia’, small pieces of lean pork are marinated in wine, cumin, cinnamon and dry coriander, and cooked on low heat. It is served with cooked rice, and the sauce from the meat is poured over the rice.


Taro is a root crop, like potatoes, which is much loved in Cyprus. It has been grown and cooked in Cyprus since the Roman era. It is also found in Greece, but it is not as popular there. It is usually stewed with pork or chicken, tomatoes, onions and celery. Very often, it is cooked with potatoes instead of meat.

Stewed snails

Snails are a favourite dish on the island of Aphrodite. Traditionally, they are stewed with tomatoes, onions, and in the past - and with taro or potatoes.


Ravioli are a legacy from the Venetians in the 15th century. They are similar to Italian ravioli, but are much larger and stuffed with haloumi and cooked in chicken broth. They are served in soup bowls with a lot of broth, grated haloumi and fresh mint.


‘Koupes’ (meaning "mugs" in Greek) are a special dish which is usually eaten as a snack. They resemble crispy meatballs, but are made of bulgur, which is added to the batter and stuffed with minced pork and spices. They are deep fried in olive oil and sprinkled with lemon juice.

Tossed potatoes

This is one of the most famous and favourite Cypriot dishes. It is served at family gatherings. These are small unpeeled potatoes, fried in olive oil until golden brown. When soft, they are drained and "tossed" in the same pot together with a lot of coarse salt and dry coriander. They are often served with red wine for flavour.

Meat skewers

This is the most famous Cypriot appetizer. Lamb or goat is cut into large pieces which are then threaded on a skewer and roasted for 2-3 hours over hot coals. While waiting for the skewers, beer is drunk and appetizers are served.

We should also mention local specialties such as "flaounes" bread which is prepared at Easter as well as various Cypriot skewers, bulgur stew, "sousouko" dessert, or syrupy "ladies fingers".

Cypriot dishes are almost always served with alcohol. In the summer, they are accompanied by cold local beer, and in the winter – by the local brandy ‘zivania’.

Tags: Cypriot cuisine traditional dishes haloumi sheftalia snails skewers
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