The Cypriot cuisine has been influenced by different cultures throughout history. Therefore, there isn’t any dish, we would describe as only “Cypriot”. However, with little variations from their originals Cypriots have developed quite tasty dishes. Each dish has its own flavor and cooking, and presentation reflects the character of the people of Cyprus as well as the availability of locally grown vegetables. “Molehiya” is Arab in origin but through generations this dish has changed to appeal to Cypriot preferences both in preparation, flavor, and presentation. Some dishes even vary from region to. Northern Cyprus is fascinating and appealing to people who eat well and enjoy a well prepared and tasty dish. Vegetarians and vegans will find many choices in the typical Cypriot Cuisine.

A great variety of vegetable dishes, grills, pastry, fish, soups, kebabs, lahmacun, pides are to name but a few. A big list of mezes, sweets, cakes, eaten either as starters or as desserts can be named. In addition to local cuisine Chinese, Italian, French and Indian foods are well represented in various restaurants around the island, and in Kyrenia in particular.


Meze is the Turkish word for hors-d’oeuvres. In many of the village restaurants small dishes will start arriving on the table soon after you sit down; this means that there is a set menu, and these will be the meze “starters”.


Main Dishes

Anyone who visits North Cyprus or has a meal in a Turkish Cypriot home, regardless of the success of the cook, will surely notice how unique the cuisine is. Main courses normally include mixed type of meats or fish.

Meats grilled over charcoal are known as “şiş”, named after the skewers on which they are prepared. Most common are lamb chops, grilled chicken, seftali kebab, but also grilled hellim cheese, and mushrooms, are unique to the Turkish Cypriots.

Desserts and Pastries

An old Turkish saying advises one to “eat sweetly and speak sweetly”. Sweets and desserts have always been an important and distinctive element of Turkish Cypriot cuisine. Altogether there are about 25-30 basic recipes for desserts known but with the addition of local variations the number becomes enormous. 



North Cyprus produces wine, brandy, and beer. These are both light, fruity, and palatable and are perfect accompaniment to the local dishes. There are also the favorite traditional, nonalcoholic drinks; ayran and Turkish coffee.


Frequently used ingredients are fresh vegetables such as zucchini, green peppers, okra, green beans, artichokes, carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, lettuce and grape leaves, and pulses such as beans, broad beans, peas, black-eyed beans, chickpeas, and lentils. Pears, apples, grapes, oranges, Mandarin oranges, nectarines, blackberries, cherries, strawberries, figs, watermelon, melon, avocado, citrus, lemon, pistachio, almond, chestnut, walnut, hazelnut are some of the common fruits and nuts.

The best-known spices and herbs include pepper, parsley, arugula, celery, fresh coriander, thyme, and oregano. Traditionally, cumin and coriander seeds make up the main cooking aromas of the island. Mint is a very important herb, and it grows abundantly, and locals use it for everything, particularly in dishes containing ground meat. For example, the North Cypriot version of pastitsio (makarna fırında) contains very little tomato and generous amounts of mint. The same is true of “köfte” (meatballs), which are sometimes laced with mint to provide a contrast with the meat. For Turkish Cypriots potato is also often used in making “köfte”. Fresh coriander is another commonly used herb. It is often used in salads, olive breads, spinach pies (ispanak böreği) and other pastries.

Prev Post


Join The Discussion

Compare listings


Our website uses cookies and thereby collects information about your visit to improve our website (by analyzing), show you Social Media content and relevant advertisements. Please see our page for furher details or agree by clicking the 'Accept' button.

Cookie settings

Below you can choose which kind of cookies you allow on this website. Click on the "Save cookie settings" button to apply your choice.

FunctionalOur website uses functional cookies. These cookies are necessary to let our website work.

AnalyticalOur website uses analytical cookies to make it possible to analyze our website and optimize for the purpose of a.o. the usability.

Social mediaOur website places social media cookies to show you 3rd party content like YouTube and FaceBook. These cookies may track your personal data.

AdvertisingOur website places advertising cookies to show you 3rd party advertisements based on your interests. These cookies may track your personal data.

OtherOur website places 3rd party cookies from other 3rd party services which aren't Analytical, Social media or Advertising.