Cyprus has been an island invaded and inhabited by many different nations and people throughout its history, and as a result Cypriot cuisine owes a great deal to the external influences that have directly affected it.
Unsurprisingly most of the traditional food and drink in North Cyprus nowadays is very similar to mainland Turkish cuisine, though more modern European influences are now beginning to become apparent, as are Asian influences. You can also find traces of tradition in the food and drink of Northern Cyprus today from as far away as the Balkans and Northern Africa.
Mezes are the mainstay of traditional Cypriot meals – a meze is a selection of hors d’oeuvres and in North Cyprus they are plentiful in variation and come in both cold and hot forms. However there are plenty of other popular dishes, including soups and pilaffs, pides and meats, the most common of which are kebabs, (or kebaps) and fırın-cooked, or clay oven cooked lamb. Desserts are generally very sweet indeed and tend to be pastry, fruit or nut based.
Lastly, but really rather importantly, a meal would not be quite complete without a Turkish tea, coffee or fruit tea! Traditional Turkish coffee is strong, and can be made to your liking with or without the addition of sugar. It’s a great way to finish your meal, normally to be accompanied by a brandy or two!
To find out more about traditional food in North Cyprus, restaurants and other types of cuisine available please check our related articles for more information.