How unique is North Cyprus cuisine?


The uniqueness of Turkish Cypriot cuisine

North Cyprus has a diverse and distinctive culinary culture. The cuisine of North Cyprus emerged from the island’s cultural contacts with other civilizations, sharing similarities with Anatolia and the Middle East, which can be tasted throughout the various dishes. Enjoy the gastronomic delicacies prepared with years of inspiration and tradition; the flavor of this food is exceptional. Turkish Breakfast is one of the most well-known examples of Cypriot cuisine.

Breakfast in the Turkish tradition

Breakfast in the Turkish tradition is more than just a meal; it is a way of life! Nothing beats a traditional Turkish breakfast known as Kahvalt. The word “Kahvalt” comes from the words “coffee” and “before.” Because Turkish coffee has a strong flavor, it is best to have it with food rather than on an empty stomach. As a result, the word “Kahvalt” in Turkish culture implies “before coffee.” Breakfast is an important meal in Turkish culture.

Turkish coffee, which is prepared from very finely ground Arabica beans, has won acclaim across the world for its powerful flavor and unusual preparation methods. It is frequently paired with Turkish delight.

It is tough to imagine breakfast without tea. Prepare to drink a few cups of tea every day if you visit the island. Tea is a popular Turkish beverage that wakes people up in the morning and brings people together late at night. When ordering tea, mention the color and whether you want it with or without sugar.

Turkish breakfast includes fried eggs in a copper ‘sahan,’ white and yellow cheeses, helim, salami, olives, tomatoes, cucumber, butter jams, honey, and village bread.

Halloumi is a type of cheese (Helim)

North Cyprus’ most well-known dish is brined cheese, which is frequently served grilled.

Les Hors d’oeuvres ~ Soups

Lentils and pulses, pumpkin, chicken, veggies, cracked wheat (Tarhanna) with fried halloumi, yoghurt, hummus, and many more wonderful ingredients are commonly used in appetizer soups. When it comes to fantastic appetizers, Les Hors d’oeuvres, or Meze, a Cyprus dish with its own unique formula, is the most qualified. The variety of Mediterranean foods makes meze a unique experience, and Cyprus is the only country where you can discover this diverse array of appetizers.

A typical Turkish Cypriots meze

Eşek Sevsin/Tahini (sesame pasta with lemon juice), local yoghurt, fresh veggies, beetroot in vinegar, Eşek Sevsin/Tahini (sesame pasta with lemon juice); Pastirma (grilled spicy sausage); Grilled Hellim (grilled halloumi); Celery Vinegarette; Fresh Coriander Herb Salad; Hummus (chickpea paste); Renga (salted smoked herring); Samarella (cured lamb meat); Koubes (meatballs with a crunchy bulgar rice covering); Iced Almonds; Broad Bean Salad; Artichoke in Olive Oil; White Cheese Borek; Hellim Borek; Cakistez (cracked Green Olives); Eggplant Yoghurt Salad; Anchovies; Sardines; Piaz (White Bean Salad); Calamari deep fried in butter or salad or spicy sauce; complemented by local village bread and pita bread.

Cyprus pickles

Pickling vinegar is used to make Cyprus pickles, and the most popular ingredients are a range of wild plants and their shoots. Celery, cabbage, carrots, and pickled quail are some of the specialties (small wild bird). Pickled beets, quail eggs, Amberibulya (hunting birds), and pickled octopus are also common.


Molehiya (Molchiya) gets its name from the ‘jute plant,’ a dark green leaf cultivated specifically for cooking that comes dried and preserved for a time before use. It is eaten with rice, pickles, and spring onions, and it is made using lamb or chicken chunks.

A long-standing dining tradition: “Kebabs” cooked on charcoals!

Sheftali Kebab, often known as “peach kebab,” is a succulent mincemeat wrapped in fatty netting. Meat cubes roasted over charcoal, lamb chops, or chicken are traditional favorites, but they also grill fish and vegetables. This has been a long-standing custom.

Robbers roast or Hrsz Kebab (Kleftico)

The dish’s name comes from Cypriot struggles in the past. Sheep were stolen from the rich’s herds and roasted in this manner. A clay oven traditionally consists of slow-cooked meat, lamb shank or chicken, and potatoes.

A world-class winner! Kolakas Yemegi (Baked Potato Ragu)

Kolakas is a cousin of the best Cyprus potato roots (Cyprus potato, is a world-class winner, runner up to the number one Mississippi potato), a plant that tastes similar to potato but is sweeter but cooked in a tomato-based sauce, with your choice of chicken or meat, or possibly something more vegetarian, such as celery. Roasting in the oven is the most common method.

Dolmasi cicek (Stuffed pumpkin flowers)

The golden yellow color of pumpkin flowers (filled with rice and herbs) translates into a distinct flavor (a hot summer day special).

Ayrelli is a fictional character created by Ayrelli (wild asparagus plant). The asparagus plant in North Cyprus is known as Ayrelli. It is a natural plant that grows in abundance near springs and along designated nature trails. To collect this delicious wild plant that may be discovered in the springtime pan-fries it with eggs in olive oil like an omelette. Before serving, squeeze a fresh lemon over the meal.


Traditional North Cyprus cheese and/or Helim filling (Halloumi Pastry Cases); (filling of grated halloumi and fresh or dried mint), which is akin to ‘gozleme’ (savory filled pastry packets, where fillings include spinach, potato, cheese, mincemeat, ‘nor/cottage cheese, etc.).


Salad with Halloumi and olive oil dressing

Salads are typically Mediterranean in style, with seasonal leaves, cucumbers, tomatoes, coriander, halloumi (grilled or not), and olive oil vinegarette or lemon juice dressing.

Lokum: A sweet tooth

Sweets ‘n Desserts offers a wide range of sweet pastries, including Lokum, which are dough balls (akin to doughnuts) that are deep-fried and then coated in sugar syrup. Borek: A dining table favorite created with tiny pastry-shaped parcels filled with a sweet cottage cheese called ‘nor peynir’ and sugar. Honey is a popular dip that can also be drizzled over the food when dining.

Ceviz Macunu (Honey Syrup with Candied Walnuts and Organic Fruits)

Anatolian Cuisine. Enjoying the luxury of such fruits as figs, watermelon, and oranges is a delightful experience. Their tremendous influence functions as an aphrodisiac, and dishes like these act as an energy boost (the ottomans are experts when it comes to the understanding of healthy cultures). Served with a glass of water and Turkish coffee, as is customary. A taste superiority is unrivaled!


Baklava: This rich delicacy is created from layers of Filo-pastry packed between with crushed walnuts and sweetened with kaymak, and bound together with sugar syrup or honey, served with vanilla ice cream, is a throwback to a bygone era. Sweets are a big deal, and they’re best served with Turkish Coffee or Turkish Tea.


Paluze is carob or grape pudding in a Cyprus kitchen. Served with a sprinkling of almonds on top.

You can click here to read about other North Cyprus cuisines.

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