Gastronomy & Cuisine


Explore the local markets and savor the unique blend of Mediterranean and Turkish influences that make Northern Cyprus a haven for food enthusiasts

In This article we’ll explore some of the unique flavors that make dining in Northern Cyprus such an unforgettable experience. From mouthwatering kebabs to refreshing meze, you’ll learn about dishes that will tantalize your taste buds.

You’ll also discover how influences from Turkey, Greece, and the Middle East have blended together over time to produce food found nowhere else in the world. So get ready to whet your appetite and dive into the incredible world of Northern Cypriot food! This culinary adventure is just getting started.

The Diverse Food Culture of Northern Cyprus


Halloumi (Hellim) Cheese

The halloumi-like hellim cheese is a staple ingredient, made from sheep’s and goat’s milk. It has a slightly spicy and salty flavor and a rubbery, chewy texture that allows it to be grilled without melting. Hellim can be found in many meze, salads and main dishes.

Sheftali Kebab

Sink your teeth into sheftalia, a traditional Cypriot sausage. Made from a mixture of minced meat, usually lamb or pork, combined with herbs and spices, sheftalia is then wrapped in a layer of caul fat. Grilled to perfection, these juicy sausages are bursting with savory flavors.

Meze and Kebabs

Meze, small dishes meant for sharing, are central to social gatherings and meals in Northern Cyprus. Hummus, tabbouleh, dolma, and cheese borek are popular options. Grilled meat, especially chicken and lamb, also feature prominently. Kebabs of cubed meat, vegetables and haloumi cheese are commonly served in restaurants and at home.


Lahmacun holds a cherished place in Northern Cypriot cuisine. It is often referred to as “Turkish pizza” due to its thin, round, and crispy dough that serves as the base for a flavorful topping. This topping consists of minced lamb or beef, along with ingredients like tomatoes, onions, garlic, and a blend of aromatic herbs and spices such as parsley, mint, and cumin.


Northern Cyprus boasts a rich variety of olives, which range from small, tangy black olives to larger green olives. Furthermore, producers frequently marinate or cure these olives in brine or oil, a process that enhances their flavors and preserves them for extended periods. Moreover, people commonly use these olives in various dishes, including salads, meze platters, and as delicious toppings for bread.

Fresh Seafood

With coastline on the Mediterranean Sea, fresh seafood like red mullet, sea bass, and calamari are abundant in Northern Cyprus. They are usually grilled, fried or stewed and served with lemon wedges, salad, and chips or rice.

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