Local Food Specialities in Cyprus

Local Markets

Cyprus has a thriving market culture - most major towns and even many of the smaller villages host regular open markets where local farmers and fishermen sell their produce. As well as the local food, you'll find plenty of wickerwork, hand-woven rugs and other souvenirs to choose from.

Local Markets - Cyprus

Mondays and Wednesdays are the main market days in Cyprus, and most begin early in the morning until around midday. Here are a few of the best:

Paphos Market (Agora Street, Paphos)

Open from about 9am to 2pm every morning except Sundays, this busy covered market bears a resemblance to the traditional Middle Eastern souk, with trinkets and souvenirs galore. The main market square is where food-lovers will want to head, though - farm-fresh fruit and vegetables, succulent meats and fish all await at cheaper-than-supermarket prices!

Local Markets - Cyprus

Timi market - (Timi village, Paphos)

Timi open air market is a Sunday morning market located close to Paphos airport. There is a large selection of clothes, jewellery souvenirs as well as fruit and veg. There is also a taverna and park area adjacent.

Fassouri Flea Market (Fassouri, Limassol)

Large flea market located in Asomatos village just outside the centre of Limassol. Wide variety of stalls, from cds to DvDs, clothes to jewellery and even a fruit and veg section. There are on site food trucks, a coffee shop, children's play area and free parking every Saturday and Sunday throughout the year from 09:00 19:00.

Speciality Dishes

Houmous - Cyprus Lokma - Cyprus

The cuisine of Cyprus is similar to that of Greece, but takes influences from French, Italian, Catalan and Middle Eastern cooking. Grilled halloumi, honey and pork sausages are all common - or why not try meze to taste a variety of flavours in one meal?

You can find more recommendations in our Cyprus resort guide . Popular dishes include:

  • Houmous - Chickpeas blended with sesame oil for a delicious dip.
  • Tzatziki - Yoghurt with cucumbers, lemon juice and other flavours such as mint, often served as a cooling accompaniment to grilled meat.
  • Taramasalata - Another dip-like starter, this is made from salted and cured roe and eaten with fresh salad.
  • Afelia - Slow-cooked pork marinated in wine, this classic dish must be tasted to be believed.
  • Kleftiko - Lamb is parcelled with vegetables and roasted slowly in a traditional clay oven to create this mouth-watering dish.
  • Souvlaki - Meat (usually pork) is cooked over hot coals and served on a skewer for no-fuss eating.
  • Sheftalia - These skinless pork or lamb sausages make a great snack: spicy without too much heat, they're often served in pita bread.
  • Lokma - Deep-fried little doughballs often served with honey and cinnamon for a delightful end to a meal.

Local Recipes


Afelia - Cyprus

This tasty slow-cooked pork dish couldn't be simpler to make, but never fails to impress guests. It's usually cooked in a clay oven, but an ordinary electric or gas one works just as well! This recipe serves about eight. All you need is:

  • 1kg pork belly, cubed
  • 2 large onions, sliced
  • 1 glass of dry red wine
  • Half a glass of olive oil
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons coriander seeds, crushed
  • Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
  • Salt and pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Pour the red wine into a bowl with the coriander and bay leaves, then add the pork. Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least three or four hours, stirring once or twice - overnight is better if you can prepare ahead of time.

Heat the olive oil in a large pan before draining the meat, saving the marinade. Fry the pork on all sides until it is nicely browned, but not cooked through, then transfer the pork to a casserole dish. Fry the onions until soft and translucent and add these to the dish too.

Pour over the remaining marinade and add cinnamon, salt and pepper. Give it a stir and pop it in the preheated oven for an hour, until the meat is falling apart. Serve with rice and salad.

Halloumi aubergine burgers

Halloumi Aubergine Burgers - Cyprus

Cyprus' national cheese is extremely versatile - we've kept this vegetarian recipe simple enough to rustle up at home, but you can be much more adventurous if you like! This makes four burgers.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 onions, sliced
  • Half an aubergine, cut into 8 slices
  • 250g block of halloumi, cut into 8 slices
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 roasted red pepper from a jar, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons harissa (spicy Tunisian chili sauce)
  • 4 ciabatta rolls, halved and toasted
  • 4 tablespoons houmous

Fry the onions on a high heat in the pan for about eight minutes until soft and golden, while cooking the aubergine slices in a separate pan for a few minutes until tender. When the aubergine is done, set aside and fry the halloumi in the pan until crispy and golden.

Make a relish by mixing the brown sugar, pepper and harissa into the onions and cooking for about a minute, until the sugar melts. Spread houmous onto the rolls and layer with slices of aubergine and halloumi - top with the spicy onion relish, and you're done!


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