A Brief Guide to Cypriot Food and Eating

Cypriot meals tend to be spaced out more evenly during the day. Cypriots tend not to eat large breakfasts, but will usually have a pastry or bread. Lunch tends to be sandwich, such as souvlaki or a kebob. Supper is the big meal and is usually eaten much later than American suppers, starting around 9:00 PM and often lasting several hours and consisting of many different courses. Listed below is a brief guide to some of the more common Cypriot food and drinks you will encounter at Cypriot restaurants. Try to avoid eating at American restaurants (McDonalds, Pizza Hut, Burger King, etc.) since 1) they are usually expensive; 2) they will taste different than in the States; and 3) since you can always eat there back home, why not try the local cuisine?

A few guidelines for Cypriot restaurants:

Calamari - Fried squid. Calamari on Cyprus will not look like the round Calamari rings ordered in American restaurants and will taste much better, particularly with a lemon juice.

Commandaria - A sweet dessert wine of Cyprus.

Feta - A salty, white cheese made from sheep's or goat's milk that is cured in a brine solution.

Frappe - An iced coffee drink. It is ordered like coffee in its ingredients. It is either glykos (sweet), metrios (medium sweet) or sketos (no sugar). It is also ordered with with milk (me gala) or without.

Halloumi - A Cypriot cheese made from sheep or goat milk. It is usually fried or grilled and is very tasty.

Horiatiki Salata - A Greek or country salad. It is made of tomatoes, cucumbers, green peppers, feta cheese, olives, olive oil, and vinegar - but no lettuce.

Hummus - A dip made from chickpeas and tahini.

Tirokafteri - A spicy, hot cheese dip.

Kalamata Olives - The deep purple olives from the Kalamata region of Greece.

Kebob/Kebab - Skewered meat, can be pork, lamb or chicken.

KEO - A Cypriot beer. The company that makes KEO beer, also sells KEO water, and KEO juices.

Leon - A Cypriot beer

Lemon Squash - A lemonade made with club soda.

Lountza - Cypriot ham

Meze - Literally means "small dishes." A style of eating that has many different courses, but each course contains just a little of each item, enough for everyone to have a taste.

Moussaka - A layered dish of eggplant, lamb, and tomatoes.

Nutella - A chocolate spread that is similar to peanut butter in consistency and used in a similar fashion.

Ouzo - An anise flavored (licorice) alcohol that is made on Cyprus and Greece. It is usually mixed with water (50/50) which creates a cloudy appearance.

Sheftalia - A grilled Cypriot sausage made of pork or lamb that is similar to a strong American bratwurst.

Souvlaki - Literally, little spits of meat. It is can be served either as a sandwich in a pita or on the skewers. In Cyprus, the souvlaki is usually pork, but could be also be chicken or lamb.

Stifado - A beef stew with onions, tomatoes, and herbs.

Tahini - A pureed sesame seed paste that can be used as a dip or as an ingredient for other dishes.

Tavvas - A stew of beef cubes, onions, potatoes, and red wine that is slow cooked in an enclosed oven.

Tost Sandwich - A pressed sandwich (like a panini) that is sold at small takeout counters, or by vendors along the road from a sandwich van. It contains your choice of lountza, halloumi, tomatoes, cucumbers, and mayonnaise. While very inexpensive, they are typically very good.

Tzatziki - A dip made from Greek yoghurt, cucumbers, and either dill or peppermint.

Water with gas - At some restaurants when you order water, they will ask you if you want it with gas or without. With gas refers to carbonated water, like Perrier.

Yoghurt - A dairy product produced by bacterial fermentation. Cypriot yoghurt tends to be much thicker than American yogurt.

Zivania - A potent Cypriot alcohol made from grapes.


Cyprus Recipes

Cyprus Food & Drink

Cyprus Food

Cyprus Wine