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Foodie > Ayran

The perfect partner for your lahmacun has to be a refreshing glass of Aryan, one of the most popular drinks of the Turks since the discovery of Yogurt among the Turkish tribes in Central Asia. It's simply made by diluting yogurt with water and adding salt to taste. Drenched over crushed ice and garnished with a mint leaf, it’s the ideal drink to quench your thirst. It accompanies any meal or is drunk by itself. It's common in all regions of North Cyprus, the only variation being its thickness.  Try fresh Ayran (taze yapilmis Ayran) for the best experience.


250 gr (8 oz) thick sheep's milk yogurt
150 ml (1/4 pint) cold water
A little salt
Mint - dried or fresh


Put all the ingredients, eexcept the mint, in a blender and blend for 1-2 minutes until smooth and lightly frothy. Alternatively, beat in a bowl with an egg whisker, until well amalgamated. Pour evenly to each glass and put some mint on every glass to serve.

Ayran in North Cyprus

Foodie >  Brandy Sour

A mixture of brandy and cordial made from lemons of the Güzelyurt region, Brandy Sour is considered the national cocktail.


It's made with Cypriot brandy which is milder than Cognac or Armagnac, lemons fresh or cordial, Angostura bitters, soda water and ice.


Bitter lemons are used locally to produce a bitter-sweet lemon cordial – the same lemons used by British author Lawrence Durrell for the title of his famous novel "Bitter Lemons of Cyprus", written next to Bellapais Abbey in the 1950’s.


Although Brandy Sour is enjoyed worldwide, the Cypriot version is unique for the local brandy used. It was introduced in the 1930’s in an old hotel in the Troodos Mountains, as an alcoholic substitute for iced tea, as a way of disguising the preference for Western-style cocktails of their distinguished guest, King Farouk of Egypt. As well as enjoying it during your visit to the island, why not pick up a bottle of Cypriot brandy and try making it back home.

Brandy Sour in North Cyprus

Foodie > Cafés

Foodie> Çakisdez

These unique green olives are manually cracked using special stones.


Olives have long been recognised as a symbol of good living and people tend to live longer and healthier lives in regions where olive oil is a staple part of the diet.


Harvest time usually begins in October, when the early green olive first fruits are gathered either by shaking the branches over sheets spread on the ground around the tree, or by individually picking the olives by hand.


A popular delicacy, Çakısdez (chuck-ess-dez), are picked, washed, cracked, soaked in brine then served with coriander seeds, garlic, olive oil and lemon, and complement any appetiser for lunch or dinner, although you'll most likely find them at open buffets for breakfast.


Chakistes can be preserved in jars or plastic containers, so you can take some back home.

Chakistes in North Cyprus

Foodie > Ceviz Macun

A famous Cypriot fruit preserve of small green walnuts, this spoon sweet is a local favourite. Fruit preserves, generally served in little plates or on miniature forks, are an inherent part of local culture, where they're offered to guests as an act of hospitality. Almost all fruits, nuts and even vegetables can be made into a preserve.


Ceviz Macun is made with unripe walnuts when they're green and tender, usually at the end of Spring or early summer, when the inner shell is still soft.


Making it is labour intensive, lasting a week from branch to table, but well worth the while.


Walnuts are known to give the body energy and contribute to the sexual health of men, so eat them one at a time!


Served as a dessert at most local dineries, they can also be found jarred in supermarkets, and make a healthy treat to take back home.

Ceviz Macun in North Cyprus

Foodie > Coffee Culture

Coffee in Northern Cyprus is a way of life as well as an experience. Turkish coffee or Kahve (ka-veh) brews ground coffee very finely. Arabica varieties are onsidered the best, but robusta or blends are also used.


It's made by bringing the powdered coffee, with water and usually sugar, to the boil in a custom pot called cezve, or ibrik. As soon as it froths it's taken off the heat, but can be reheated to increase the froth. Sugar is added while brewing, so the amount of sugar must be specified before preparing. It may be served unsweetened (sade), with little or moderate sugar (orta), or sweet (şekerli), but cream or milk are never added.


Often served with chocolate or Turkish delight and a small glass of water to wash off any coffee residue in the mouth, Kahve traditionally comes in small

Coffee in North Cyprus

porcelain cups called a fincan and is sipped slowly. Superstition says the grounds can be used for fortune-telling. The cup is turned over into the saucer and the patterns created are interpreted to have a glimpse into the future of the person who drank it. Kahve can also offer health benefits. Known to balance cholesterol levels, it can help prevent some heart diseases, assist the digestive system and be used in some massages and treatment of skin conditions. Kahve will be offered after a meal in most restaurants and can be found almost everywhere. For an authentic taste, find somewhere where it's made in a cooper pot, over a coal fire. Decorated coffee-cups, coffee-pots and coffee-trays are sought after souvenirs for visitors.

Foodie > Costa Cuisine

The stretch of coastline east from Girne to Tatlisu and beyond, has become known as the "Costa Cuisine" as it has so many fabulous eating places. Below are some of the stars which all food lovers will want to visit.


Eagle's Nest @ Kücük Erenkoy

Fabulous location directly overlooking the sea. Eat inside if it's breezy or winter, or eat outside on the veranda in the summer to enjoy a truly spectacular sunset which is almost, but not quite, as good as the food. Real care is taken with the food here. You can tell this is a place where food is loved. Everything is beautifully cooked and superbly presented by some of the most professional waiting staff you could hope to have. This is high quality fine dining by any standards but at really good prices. (Example: Chicken Liver Pâté + Grilled mushrooms for starters; Sea Bass + the classic Italian dish Gnocchi for mains; chocolate brownie + apple crumble and ice

Costa Cuisine in North Cyprus

cream for dessert; + 2 glasses of wine. Everything came to £20 per head. ) A new feature is an outside bar area called the Edge (yup, right over the sea again) which will undoubtedly add even more atmosphere to this quality establishment. This place is special. Go for it! This is undoudbtedly the star of the "Costa Cuisine", and a real credit to the owners, chefs and all the superbly trained waiting staff.

Café Paris & Bakery @ Esentepe

They say that you can't come to TRNC and not have a Meze. That may be true but add to the list of not to be missed, Cafe Paris. Stunning location at the top of a cliff, overlooking the ocean, with a real infinity pool. But the facilities and the views pale into insignificance compared to the food. Pastries, cakes, freshly baked breads and sandwiches may not seem like something to rave about but wait until you've been here and tried them. This is another shinging star on the "Costa Cuisine" and one to be literally, savoured.

Old Shakespeare @ Turquoise Bay

The decor is tasteful. The furniture includes a large globe, an old radio and other antiquities which together work to create a really relaxing atmosphere. There is a TV on the wall but don't expect Premier League football in here. Scenes of Northern Cyprus and unobtrusive gentle music help to create a real nice ambience. The menu is definitely eclectic. Executive Chef Oleg creates dishes from France, Italy, Georgia, Russia and Europe. For starters our group had: Chicken Live Pate (beautiful); Beef Carpaccio (beautiful); "Julien" with chicken and mushrooms (beautiful); and mushrooms on the Ketsi Pan baked with cheese and butter which were simply divine. All were truly excellent, beautifully cooked and excellently presented, but if ever there's a mushroom olympics, which is a sporting tournament I could very much get behind, this Ketsi Pan way should easily take the gold. Wow, it’s good. When we asked for a wine list we expected to be given a card, but instead the waiter actually brought all the different bottles for us to look at and choose from. Nice touch. Main courses we had were: Beef Stroganoff; Cod Fillet with Zucchini and Tom Yam sauce; Chicken BBQ. The Stroganoff was really tasty. The cod fillet was delicious. The Tom Yam sauce could have been spicier for us although that's a personal taste. The chicken BBQ was also delicious. Enjoying the meal so much, we ordered another bottle of wine and decided to try some of the desserts. Lemon Tiramisu is a wonderful variation on this classic. Instead of being coffee based, it's lemon based, reflecting Northern Cyprus' classic fruit. And it tastes superb. The Semifreddo (Frozen Chocolate Cream with Pistacchios) was simply stunning. Everything washed down with a limoncello digestivo. Executive Chef Oleg took the time to come out and ask for feedback which he got in spades. Yes, the Cod Fillet could have had a larger side dish with it; yes the chicken bbq might have been a bit more well done to suit our personal taste; yes the Tom Yam sauce wasn't as spicy as we would prefer, but generally we were surprised and delighted at the whole experience. And when the bill came, two bottles of wine, 4 starters, 4 mains and 4 desserts came to a little under £30 per head which we all reckoned was great value for money. Old Shakespeares has only been open a short time and there's still improvements that can be made but will we be going back there? Absolutely!

Turtle Paradise Restaurant & Bar @ Alagadi Beach

Great location right by the beach. Fairly extensive menu and whatever you choose you'll be fine, although the hamburgers do deserve a special mention. Just good, solid cooking, where everything is tasty but the atmosphere surpasses the food. There's just something about this place which is magical mediterranean at its best. Dip in the sea or just sit with a drink and feel the breeze, this is a place built for relaxation. Plenty of car parking, family friendly. They also have a wonderful little shop which operates in the summer season, selling hand made jewellery, clothing and craft work run by the ever genial Ercan. Another must stop place to visit on the "Costa Cuisine".

Esenyali Balik Restoran @ Alagadi

Set right beside the beach in the protected village of Aligadi, Esenyali is blessed with a really spectacular location. We had to drive slowly past the herd of goats out for a walk. The venue itself is simple and straight forward, but the set menu Meze certainly isn't. 20 cold courses followed by 5 hot courses (there were so many I couldn't keep up!) all of which were fresh, tasty and delicious. There are plenty of places that do a good Meze but this really should be one you try out. Not only was the food good but the service was exceptionally friendly. The presence of so many locals says it all. Highly recommended.

Hurma Restaurant between Acapulco and Elexus Resorts 

Brilliant restaurant. The meze was outrageously good, although better when shared with 4 (so much). Lovely views and great service.

Tuncay'in Yeri Restaurant @ Esentepe

You can't come to Northern Cyprus and not have a Meze in a restaurant run by locals, like this. Offerings will differ according to seasonal availability, but at least you'll know everything is fresh. Meze here can be hot or cold and is usually served in batches of 4 or 5, although you might just get served 14 or 15 all at once. You’ll find a great mix of meat and fish with vegetarians especially well catered for. As good a Meze as you can find. Reasonable prices and friendly, efficient service.

Moonshire Bar & Restaurant @ Esentepe

Location, location, location! Set on the hillside above the new marina and Sun Valley Beachside Resort, this gem of a place is a must visit for tourists and locals alike. While away a sunny afternoon with a wine or beer on one of the outside terraces, or enjoy a romantic meal for two while you watch the sun setting and all the time enjoy authentic family cooking at its best and a genuine friendliness which is a particular hallmark. The menu is international, reflecting its' growing popularity with customers from different countries. Prices represent great value - at the time of writing, a great meal will cost less than 20 Euro per head. Particularly popular with Scandinavians, Germans, Russians, Turks and British. Wide variety of events are always well attended so advance booking is recommended. Ample car parking available.

Cengiz's Restaurant & Bar@ Esentepe

Returned to Cengiz's for my wife's birthday and what a great decision that was. Cengiz absolutely goes out of his way to give the best experience he can to his customers eg picked up and dropped off so we could both have a drink; organised a cake and sources and bought in special champagne at my request. The salmon starter was very generous in size and really tasty as was the chicken liver pâté. Mexican Steak was exactly as spicy as I requested and the beef stroganoff was delicious. Added to that, the general vibe of this place is really special (a covered courtyard adorned with passion fruit). A star venue of the North Cyprus "Costa Cuisine". Definitely recommended.

Spice Garden Restaurant @ Bahceli

Great place to watch sport (show 4 events simultaneously) and probably the best Indian food for miles around. Friendly staff and friendly patrons make this a really enjoyable place to visit.

Foodie > Food Tours

Discover the culture & people of Northern Cyprus through traditional foods and wine, by taking a journey to some of the island’s hidden food haunts and award winning wineries. Sample authentic snacks, dishes and drinks while exploring mountain villages. Normally in small groups of up to 7 people, tours specialise in food & wine of Cyprus and offer a personal, bespoke experience you won’t forget. Private tours for larger groups are also available on request.


What participants say…“We were taken to see a variety of brilliant foodie spots in quaint villages around the Troodos mountains. I’m sure we'd have paid a huge amount more if we'd hired a taxi driver for the day to take us from place to place and that would have been without lunch, entrance fees and tastings included. The planned itinerary and having someone to answer all your foodie questions was a huge plus and the info we were given at the 

Food Tours in North Cyprus

end was really useful.”

“We’ve started using private tour guides and small group experiences for our last few trips, as we’ve realised the big buses are not for us. We’re really glad we chose a tour instead of saving a few euros to join a big bus full of people. 


We were with just 3 others and had a great day, driving through the mountains tasting wine. We were introduced to all the native grape varieties and were able to buy top quality wine at phenomenal prices.”

“We'd walked past one of the places out of the many we were taken to on this tour and actually thought about going inside. Even if we'd made a visit to this particular place by ourselves, there’s absolutely no way we would have ordered what our guide chose for us – totally worth it, just for the new tastes and dishes we tried. Absolutely brilliant tour!”

“We were taken to a great variety of restaurants on our tour, places that we'd never have found by ourselves. By the end of the night we’d seen so many great places and eaten so many delicious things we were stuffed… Make sure you arrive hungry! Worth EVERY penny”


Some itineraries list an hour-by-hour schedule and a set of specific stops or locations. Others visit locals and because these local villagers are busy with every day life, can’t guarantee which stops will be included. Tours have themes and a kind-of checklist of what will be included, but the specifics of where you go and what you’ll see often changes. For example, if it’s the season for harvesting olives, then that might be included as one of the promised stops. If one of the locals is baking halloumi bread, this’ll get in as well, so you can meet a real local and experience a true Cypriot kitchen. If its September, that’s the time to walk through the vineyards to see the grape varieties.

What You'll Do

Tours are normally a full day experience, exploring local villages and wineries, with an authentic meze lunch, delicous food and exquisite wine tastings. Your local guide will pick you up and drive you around. You’ll also get to visit traditional product workshops, taste Cypriot delicacies such as halloumi cheese, honey, olive oil, village breads, traditional sweets, and of course wine. You’ll get to learn about the ingredients, the making process and the traditions linked to the products before trying them. Part of the experience is visiting villages, where you’ll have time to explore the sites and take in stunning landscapes. Along the way you’ll usually stop at a local tavern to feast on a selection of Cypriot dishes with a full meze lunch. This is sure to be an authentic experience that will leave you wanting more from a foodie day like no other!

Foodie > Hellim

Hellim is a traditional food that has been produced locally for centuries and is well known worldwide for its unique taste.


Also referred to as Halloumi, it's a semi-hard, unripened brined cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes cow’s milk as well. 


Alongside a distinctive layered texture, it has a high melting point making it easy to fry or grill. This property makes it a popular meat substitute and is moderately high in fat and a good source of protein. Locals enjoy Hellim fresh, grilled, barbequed, with salads, sandwiches, meals and even alongside fruit.


Another favourite is grated, sprinkled with dried mint on tubular pasta types like Bucatini, or cooked in a chicken broth. Local cooking culture also revolves around a lot of bread and pastry, and local favourites like Hellimli and Pilavuna also make good use of Hellim within their traditional ingredients.

Hellim in North Cyprus

Foodie > Hellimli

Hellimli is a traditional Cypriot savoury pastry made with Hellim cheese.


Consisting of flour, water, salt, butter and olive oil, chopped onions, mint, and diced Hellim cheese.


Kneading chunks of the Hellim cheese, onions and mint into a bread dough, the dough is then sprinkled with sesame and nigella seeds, before being baked in a traditional clay oven.


The crust of the bread develops a golden colour, ready to be served.


You'll come across many bakeries in Northern Cyprus and won’t be disappointed with the choice at hand which make perfect snacks.

Hellimli in North Cyprus

Foodie > Hummus

A Levantine food dip or spread made from cooked, mashed chickpeas, blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, salt and garlic. Today, it's popular throughout the Middle East, North Africa, and in Middle Eastern cuisine around the globe.


1/2 kg chickpeas (soaked overnight)
1 cup tahini (beaten) *
5-6 garlic cloves, crushed 1/4 cup lemon juice
Tahini1/2 cup olive oil salt, paprika
finely chopped parsley


* Note: Tahini is a paste made from ground, hulled sesame seeds used in North African, Greek, Turkish, and Middle Eastern cuisine. Tahini is served as a dip on its own, or as a major component of hummus, baba ghanoush, and halva.


Hummus in North Cyprus
  1. Drain chickpeas, spread on a tea towel and roll a bottle over them to remove the husks.

  2. Boil the chickpeas until soft. Dry and mash.

  3. Beat the tahini and combine with the chickpeas.

  4. Add the crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. If the paste is very thick, add liquid from the chickpeas.

  5. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley and pour a little olive oil over the purée.

Foodie > Kolokas

Colocasia esculenta is a perennial, tropical plant primarily grown as a root vegetable for its edible, starchy corm.


The vegetables cultivated in Northern Cyprus  are much larger than in other countries.


Generally, Kolokas is eaten like a potato, as it tastes quite similar when cooked but with a nutty flavour.


Be careful handling  Kolokas, as the skin and roots are poisonous before they've been cooked and cannot under any circumstances be eaten raw.


Often used as a substitute for potato, it's boiled in a tomato sauce or cooked with meat, beans and chickpeas. Overseas it's common to roast,  bake,  mash  or chip  them, as many different countries around the world use Kolokas in different ways.

Kolokas in North Cyprus
  1. Drain chickpeas, spread on a tea towel and roll a bottle over them to remove the husks.

  2. Boil the chickpeas until soft. Dry and mash.

  3. Beat the tahini and combine with the chickpeas.

  4. Add the crushed garlic, lemon juice, olive oil and salt. If the paste is very thick, add liquid from the chickpeas.

  5. Sprinkle with paprika and chopped parsley and pour a little olive oil over the purée.

Foodie > Kup Kebab

Also known as Kleftiko, this is a traditional Turkish recipe where lamb is marinated in olive oil, garlic, onions and herbs and slowly cooked in greaseproof paper or foil, keeping all the juices and flavours together.


Also referred to by locals as ‘Hirsiz Kebabı’ (Kebab of Thieves), traditionally, lambs or goats in the mountains were stolen then cooked in underground ovens sealed with mud, to disguise the smell and smoke and to avoid detection.

The success of this famous dish depends on slow roasting, until the meat fairly falls off the bone. It's usually made with a leg of lamb which becomes very tender once cooked. Though the leaner leg looks impressive and is a cut better suited to faster cooking and served pink, the tougher, fattier shoulder, benefits from slow cooking, becoming wonderfully juicy and rich. Prolonged

Kup Kebab in North Cyprus

cooking in a traditional clay oven offers a tender dish that can't be achieved with conventional cooking.


Almost always served with Cypriot roast potatoes, some prefer to cook the vegetables together with the meat, for the true flavour and aroma experience. Seasoned with oregano and bay leaves, a little acidity from a squeezed lemon helps to cut through the richness of the meat and potatoes, so you can keep going back for more.


Kup Kebab is usually cooked on Sunday’s accompanied by a glass of Turkish Raki and a nap in the shade of a gnarly fig tree afterwards.

Foodie > Lahmacun

A pack of pitas
1 lb ground beef
1 lb white onion
1 or 2 tomatoes
Salt, black pepper to taste
If you can't find tomatoes, replace it with 2 table spoons of tomato puree. 


  • Peel, wash, place onions with tomatoes in food processor and ground.

  • Add salt, black pepper and meat, ground 30 seconds more.

  • With the help of a spoon, spread this mixture over pitas.

  • Put them in oven and bake at 400F about 20-30 minutes.

  • Check to see whether meat is cooked. Serve hot.

Lahmacun in North Cyprus

Foodie > Meze

You really can't come to Northern Cyprus and not have a Meze. It's the mainstay of traditional cuisine in North Cyprus and basically means appetisers or starters, and there's usually so much of it you won't need a main course.


Meze are served in various forms all over the Middle East and certainly the Turkish Cypriot variety have influences recognisable if you've eaten meze in another country, although there are some unique to here.


Depending on the time of year, offerings will differ according to seasonal availability, but at least you'll know everything is fresh. Meze can be hot or cold and is usually served in batches of 4 or 5, although you might just get served 14 or 15 all at once.

Meze in North Cyprus

You’ll find a great mix of meat and fish with vegetarians especially well catered for. 


Some of the more popular and common mezes you might expect to be served:


Pronounced Jajuk, this is a palate cleansing and refreshing dish in summer time.  Combining fresh plain yoghurt made from sheep’s milk, finely chopped cucumber, mint and a dash of lemon.  Often served along main courses as it’s an excellent accompaniment for meat.



Calamari, usually served with lemon juice and some salt.



Very popular and definitely a staple of a meze selection.  Crushed green olives, served dressed in olive oil, a little crushed garlic, coriander and lemon juice.  Often on breakfast menus as well.



Stuffed varieties which often feature vine leaves, peppers, courgette flowers or pumpkin flowers which are used as wraps and stuffed with a mix of rice, tomatoes, sultanas, meat, herbs and spices.  Very more-ish. Also known as ‘Yalancı Dolma’ (Stuffed Liar) because during the World War 2 no one could afford to stuff things with meat, thus being classed as cheating.



Beans. Loads of different types of beans served include black eyed beans, green beans, butter beans. Great served hot or cold with yoghurt and bread.  Simple but tasty and healthy.


Sheep’s or goats cheese served sliced and grilled or fried .  Has a unique taste and when grilled is crispy and chewy with some people finding it tastes a bit like bacon.


Great with bread as a dip on its own, or served with a full meze.  Blended chickpeas and tahini paste with various spices to give it quite a sharp flavour.


Meatballs that come in various forms, but usually minced meat, onion and herbs mixed together and either fried, baked or grilled.  Bulgur köfte for example, is bulgur wheat used as the outer coating for the meatball and deep fried to make a crisp coating.


Served as a main course or as part of a meze, Molehiya is a green leaf vegetable unique to Cyprus.  The leaves are dried in the sun and then boiled, usually along with pieces of chicken, to make a kind of stew.  Quite a bitter taste, but along with a few herbs and spices, it makes for a healthy dish.


Pronounced Mujver, this is a batter mix of courgette flowers, milk and eggs whipped together and small spoonfuls of it then dropped into a hot pan of oil and cooked until crispy on the outside.

This is just a selection for you to get the general idea of how delicious a Turkish Cypriot meze meal can be.  Others include cracked almonds on ice, salted fish, fresh beetroot, ox tongue, brain, dried meats and other vegetable dishes. There are plenty of traditional Turkish Cypriot restaurants so why not try some. Meze is an important part of social gatherings such as family get-togethers, weddings, parties and other functions, so it's the most popular way of eating for locals.  Eat as much or as a little as you like, take your time over it, and don't think you need to finsh the whole lot.

Foodie > Molohiya

The leaves of Corchorus Olitorius, commonly known as Jew’s Mallow, Nalta jute, or Tossa jute. 


Molohiya is indigenous to Cyprus and was originally found growing on the banks of the River Nile in Egypt, living proof of Egyptian influence on Cyprus.


Locals pick and dry the local plant throughout the summer months.


Carrying many health benefits, it's cooked with freshly chopped tomato, onions, garlic, lemon juice, lamb or chicken, but can also be served vegetarian.


It's a gorgeous traditional dish usually cooked and served at home, but you'll find a few local restaurants serving it during the day in Nicosia’s old walled city.

Molohiya in North Cyprus

Foodie > Olives

In Northern Cyprus, as in other Mediterranean countries, the olive tree can be seen everywhere, in the wild and under cultivation. Usually favouring well drained sunny hillsides, olive trees also thrive in backyards and flat plain lands.


Olives are an integral part of Cypriot culture and have been cultivated on the island since ancient times. Olive trees live for a long time and have been known to go for over 2,500 years. The oldest Monumental Olive Trees in the village of Kalkanli are an attraction for thousands of visitors each year.

The nurture and care of olive trees is of course a matter of some skill. Legend has it that those who eat the fruit of this tree receive its resilience and endurance. Not surprisingly, Cypriots are considered to be long-lived and local life expectancy exceeds European average and other developed

Olives in North Cyprus

countries. Olive products are renowned for their health, vitality and longevity benefits, and olive trees have even had a tremendous impact on global affairs.

Green Olives

Olive picking season in Cyprus starts early September and continues through to the New Year. The first olives picked are the small green ones. These are washed, cracked and then soaked in brine, and served as a popular delicacy, Chakistes, found in all homes and Cypriot tavernas. If these olives are left on the trees longer, they turn black, and are then used for making olive oil.

Olive Oil

In ancient times, Cypriots used a heavy stone press with a long wooden handle to produce olive oil. A donkey pushed the handle to rotate the millstone, crushing the fresh olives. Since then the process has changed dramatically and become completely automated, but the essntials remain unaltered: no heating and no chemicals result in the production of high-quality olive oil.

Symbol of Peace

In North Cyprus the phrase, “to offer someone an olive branch” can be commonly heard, meaning a proposal to make peace with someone. Found in most cultures of the Mediterranean, the olive branch first symbolised representing peace in Ancient Egypt, followed many centuries later in ancient Greek mythology. Even on the “Great Seal of the United States”, the supporter of the shield is a bald eagle grasping an olive branch in its’ right talon, symbolising a preference for peace. A petition adopted by the American Continental Congress in July 1775, was called the “Olive Branch Petition” in the hope of avoiding a full-blown war with Great Britain.

Olive Leaf Burning

A Turkish Cypriot custom known as ‘Tutsu’, is the burning of olive leaves. A symbolic act for warding off the evil eye and to protect from harm, a family member gathers leaves into a custom metal pot and then burns them, waving the resulting smoke around people for their protection and well being.


Olive oil is widely used not only in the kitchen but also in medicine and cosmetology. Cosmetics made with olive oil are very popular in Northern Cyprus. Soaps, moisturisers, shampoos, shower gels, facial masks and much more are available in and around most towns. Olive oil soaps provide a very clean and smooth silky feel with minimal lather, a moisturising effect that lasts longer time than inorganic cosmetics and is perfect for dry and sensitive skin. As olive oil soap contain effective antioxidant properties, usage stimulates new cell generation, slows down wrinkle development and gives skin a youthful look.

Leaf Extract

The powerful antioxidants of olive leaf extract are also proven to protect against a variety of viral and bacterial infections. Olive leaf extract capsules claim to improve the regulation of blood pressure, and olive leaf tea helps the digestive system.


Olive oil was a very important part of daily life in the Mediterranean in Roman times It was used for food, as fuel for lamps, and as a basic ingredient in things like medicinal ointment, bath oils, skin oils, soaps, perfumes and cosmetics. Even before Roman times, Cyprus was known for its olive oil, as indicated by the Greek philosopher Strabo when he said that “in fertility Cyprus is not inferior to any one of the islands, for it produces both good wine and good oil”. Olive, olive oils and associated products are popular gifts to take home.

Foodie > Pekmez

The Besparmak Mountains are swarming with carob trees and the sweet thick syrup  extracted from the pods are exceptionally tasty. Pods are gound into powder, then boiled in water which reduces them to dark harnup pekmez (carob molasses).


Carob syrup can be found in most health food stores globally, but the local version of pekmez can only be found in local supermarkets.

Pekmez is used in soups and stews, spread on bread, poured over ice cream, mixed with yoghurt or trickled over pastry and fruit.


Restaurants sell desserts made of pekmez, such as gullurikya. In villages such as Tatlisu and Ozankoy which hold annual Carob Festivals, a sweet fermented drink is also brewed with pekmez and drank ice cold. Locals believe that a teaspoon a day of pekmez keep colds and flu away.


The fruit of this tree contain vitamins A, B, B2, B3 and D, as well as zinc, useful for both children and adults suffering from anaemia. Harnup Pekmez is also believed to show positive effects in treating impotence and infertility.

Pekmez in North Cyprus

Guides > Pilavuna

Local culture embraces communal baking and often revolves around bread or pastry and Pilavuna is  a cheese-filled pastry unique to Northern Cyprus.


Made with a yeast pastry, comparable to bread dough, which is rolled very thinly, the pastry is similar to shortcrust in texture. They're filled with a combination of Hellim and nor, a fresh mild whey cheese produced in Cyprus, the cheeses then mixed with dried mint and sometimes sweet sultanas.


Depending where they're made, recipes vary from salty to semi-sweet or sweet and often eaten with breakfast or as a snack with tea in the afternoon.


Sometimes also referred to as “flaounes”, locals serve Pilavna as a celebratory food for the breaking of the Lenten fast, being prepared on Good Friday for consumption on Easter Sunday by Orthodox Christians.


Pilavuna’s were featured as a technical challenge in The Great British Bake Off television series.

Pilavuna in North Cyprus

Foodie > Prickly Pear (Cactus)

Prickly Pears, known locally as Babutsa, is a cactus fruit that can be seen everywhere in Northern Cyprus. It's unpretentious, requiring no special care or water.


You can eat it raw, whole, or with the bones which are inside it. In this form it's good for digestion and helps cleanse the body. It's high in antioxidants, contains vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. and has a smell similar to watermelon. It can also be used to make marmalade; be added to desserts and liqueurs; baked or stewed. T

he only drawback of course, is that it's covered in thorns! If you decide to clean these off yourself the first thing you'll need is patience and the second thing you'll need is gloves. Start by cutting off the edges of the fruit from the top and bottom, then cut from top to bottom, remove the skin and voila!

Prickly Pears in North Cyprus

Juicy cactus figs.


But that's not all this wonderful barbed pear is good for. Ancient builders used it to built castles and fortresses would you believe. They cooked the cactus leaves to a jelly-like state, mixed this with soil and used it as cement because the composition was so strong. The famous Bellapais Abbey was built this way. You don't see any cement there and it's still standing centuries later.  It also gets used for home security. How many burglars would want to climb over a prickly cactus fence like the one pictured?

Foodie > Raki

Locals call Raki, the anise-flavoured drink “Lion’s Milk”. It's not known where or when the drink was invented, but its'  history is less than wine or beer.


It's made from different fruits in different regions, but grapes, figs and plums are the main ones.


The best way to drink raki is with flat cylindrical glasses and cold – straight (sek), with water, soda or mineral water. Usually 40% – 50% alcohol, it changes colour and becomes a milky white when water is added. A glass of pure water helps clean the palette so you can better enjoy the distinct taste.

Served at every restaurant, but traditionally associated with tavernas (meyhanes), it's usually served with meze’s, meat or fresh fish. Local custom is to clink glasses with the bottom of the glass as using the top indicates you

Raki in North Cyprus

think you're superior.


Another tradition is to knock the table lightly with the bottom of your glass before you take a sip, indicating there's someone you're thinking of who you wish was there.

After a Raki, a local tip is to try a Turkish tea (çay) which will sober and calm you for the next round. The raki table is referred to as çilingir (“locksmith”), alluding to the way the secrets of the heart are unlocked and spoken around this table.


Cheers! Shay-re-fe-nee-ze!

Foodie > Recipes - Chicken

Tavuklu Börek (Chicken pies)

The cornerstone of Turkish cuisine - intricate little parcels, filled with delight. Turkish women pride themselves on the small size of these exquisite mezze, even if it requires hours of devotion to make them. Börek are always present at every celebration and the event would not have enough glitter without their enticing, bulgy presence. There are a multitude of different fillings, according to the season and the occasion. The pastry used to wrap them also varies, from the paper-thin fillo pastry found in the cities to permutations of homemade puff pastry, or a simple, homemade substitute for fillo. Fillo pastry freezes well and it will keep frozen for up to 3 months. Let it defrost for a couple of hours at room temperature before it's to be used. When bought fresh, it'll keep in the refrigerator for up to a week. Once it's unwrapped, work swiftly, as it soon dries out and becomes brittle. If not familiar with fillo, cover the bulk of it with a slightly damp tea towel while using it and take your time.


Preparation time: 1 hour + 20 minutes baking at Gas Mark 4 / 180°C/350°F. Makes 25.

Recipes for Chicken in North Cyprus

For filling

  • 375 g (12 oz) cooked chicken breast fillets

  • 25 g (1 oz) butter

  • 25 g (1 oz) plain flour

  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) hot milk

  • 4 tablespoons hot chicken stock

  • 50 g (2 oz) parmesan, or Gruyère cheese, grated

  • 1 egg, beaten lightly

  • A pinch each of ground nutmeg and salt

  • To make up the Börek

  • 8-10 sheets of fillo pastry (or milföy hamuru in Turkish)

  • 75 g (3 oz) butter, melted

  • oil for greasing

Preparation: Preheat the oven. If you're using cooked chicken, just cut it into peanut-sized pieces. If you're using chicken fillets, first simmer them in hot water for 6-8 minutes and then take them out and chop them roughly to the same size. Melt the butter, add the flour and stir over a low heat until well mixed into a roux. withdraw the pan from the heat and add the hot milk and chicken stock gradually, stirring; return the pan to a gentle heat and whisk the sauce until it boils and thickens enough, which should take 5-6 minutes. Add the cheese and the seasonings and mix well. Away from the heat, add the beaten egg slowly, stirring, and then the chicken pieces. It should be fairly thick in order to be used successfully in the börek. Next, cut the whole stack of fillo pastry into four long strips, about 8 cm (3 inches) wide. Brush each sheet with melted butter, place a teaspoon of filling in one corner and fold them over making little triangles. Place these on an oiled baking sheet, with the loose end of the pastry underneath, brush the tops with melted butter and bake for 20 minutes or until golden crisp and light golden. Alternatively, you could use puff pastry, which is available freshly made or frozen. Defrost if needed and cut walnut-sized pieces off the pastry. Roll them out thinly in small circles of about 10 cm (4 inches) diameter, place a teaspoon of filling in the centre, fold the pastry over and press the edges together, making a semi-circular shape. Brush the tops with beaten egg, and bake as before for about 20 minutes or until light golden.


Cherkes Tavugu (Circassian chicken)

Preparation time: 30 minutes + 1 hour. Serves 6 as a main course, or 8 as a starter


  • 1.5-1.75 kg (3 and ½ -4 lb) chicken -jointed

  • 2 carrots -peeled and quartered

  • 1 onion -chopped

  • 250 gr (8 oz) shelled walnuts or walnut pieces -ground finely

  • 175 gr (6 oz) white breadcrumbs

  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • 40 gr (1 and ½ oz) butter

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Salt

Preparation: Cover the chicken joints with water; add some salt, bring to boil and skim. Add the vegetables, cover and cook for 50-60 minutes, until the chicken is tender. Take out the joints, reserve the stock, and when the joints are cool, skin and bone them, shredding the meat into large mouthful morsels. Cover the meat to prevent it from drying and set it aside. Boil the stock until it's reduced to about 300 ml (½ pint) and discard the carrots. Mix the walnuts, breadcrumbs and half the cayenne in a small bowl. If you are planning to serve the dish hot, stop at this stage and prepare the rest shortly before it is to be served. Otherwise just continue.  Add enough hot chicken stock to form a smooth paste and mix well. Melt the butter in a frying pan and sauté the chicken pieces in it until they start to brown. Withdraw from the heat, add 4 tablespoons of the walnut sauce and a little more salt and mix well. Pile the chicken on to a platter and use the remaining sauce to cover the whole surface smoothly. Mix the olive oil with the remaining cayenne and decorate the surface by dribbling the oil in decorative patterns.


Kolokas (Colocasia with chicken)

Serves 4-6


  • 1 kg chicken -jointed

  • 1 kg kolokas (colocasia)

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 medium onion -skinned and finely chopped

  • 4 sticks of celery -cut into thick slices

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 1 litre chicken stock

  • Seasoning

Preparation: Put the cooking oil and the olive oil into a large saucepan and place the pan on high heat. Fry the chicken joints until golden brown on both sides. Remove the joints and keep them on one side. Add the chopped onion and fry until soft and golden brown. Meanwhile with a sharp knife peel the kolokas, without washing. Then, by holding it from the thick stalk part, starting from the top, break pieces with a sharp knife from the kolokas. Add the sliced celery and the kolokas pieces together with the chicken joints into the pan. Season well with salt and freshly ground balck pepper. Dissolve the tomato paste in the hot chicken stock and pour it over the meat and the vegetables. Bring it to the boil, then cover and cook for about 30 minutes on low heat, stirring occasionally.

Foodie > Recipes - Desserts

Aşure (Noah's Pudding)


  • 1 ½ glasses ground wheat

  • 2/5 glass rice

  • 30 glasses water

  • 3 glasses milk

  • 3 glasses granulated sugar

  • 50 gr. dried beans

  • 50 gr. dried broad beans

  • 50 gr. chick peas

  • 100 gr. walnuts

  • 100 gr. dried apricots

  • 150 gr. sultanas

  • 100 gr. figs

  • 25 gr. pine nuts

  • 25 gr. currants

  • 100 gr. almonds

  • 1/3 glass rose water

Recipes for Desserts in North Cyprus

Preparation: Soak wheat and rice overnight in cold water. Pour out that water and add 30 glasses fresh water, cook over heat a little less than moderate for 6-7 hours until the wheat is tender. Pour through a strainer, press with a wooden spoon in order to strain. Stir this wheat essenced water thoroughly and measure it. There should be about 12 glasses, add to this wheat essenced water, sugar and milk, place on heat and stir until the sugar melts. Boil either once or twice until the mixture becomes the consistency of quite a thick soup. Soak the beans; dried broad beans and chick peas overnight in cold water. Boil them the next day and add to the mixture along with the cleaned and washed sultanas; currants; dried apricots cut into small pieces; white pine nuts; boiled almonds after removing their skins; chopped walnuts; and rose water. Bring to the boil. Remove from heat and pour immediately into various bowls. After completely cooling, decorate with almonds, walnuts and pomegranates. Serves 4.


Baklava (Syrup Filo Pastry)

Baklava is one of the oldest known Turkish flaky pastry desserts. Its popularity goes back to the time of Sultan Mehmet (15th century) of the Ottoman Empire.


  • 500 grams of filo pastry

  • 300 grams of unsalted butter (melted)

  • 2 cups chopped walnuts or pistachio nuts

  • For the Syrup

  • 500 grams of sugar

  • ½ litre of water

  • Juice of ½ lemon

Preparation : Preheat the owen to 180°C/350°F and grease a 25 x 30 cm baking dish. Brush dish with melted butter. Place one sheet of filo pastry in bottom of dish and brush with melted butter. Place another sheet of pastry and brush the top with melted butter. Continue this until you use half of the filo pastry. Sprinkle with chopped nuts. Place the remaining layers of filo pastry, brushing each one with melted butter. Brush the top with melted butter and cut into diamond shapes. Bake until golden. To make the syrup, place the above ingredients in a saucepan and boil on medium heat stirring constantly. Let simmer for 15 minutes. Pour hot syrup over cooled baklava. Allow to cool and absorb syrup before serving.


Ceviz Macunu (Green Walnuts in Syrup)


  • Ceviz Macunu (Green Walnuts in Syrup)100 green walnuts - peeled

  • 800 gr (4 cups) sugar

  • 100 almonds -peeled

  • 6-7 cloves

  • Juice of 2 and a half lemons

Preparation: With a small sharp knife, cut the tough bony parts on both ends of each walnut. Put them into a bucket full of water for 7 days, changing the water daily. On the eighth day put them in water with a handful of lime stone dissolved in. Drain and wash them well. Into a large saucepan put enough water to cover them. Place the pan on high heat and bring the water up to the boil. Then add the walnuts and cook for 10 minutes. Drain them well. Place the pan again with fresh water, place it on heat, bring up to the boil and cook for 15-20 minutes. Drain and with a skewer make 2-3 holes on each walnut. Cook them again in freshly boiled water for 20-25 minutes and drain. Let them cool down in cold water with the juice of two lemons added. Drain and stuff each walnut from the cut ends with an almond and place them into an empty saucepan. Pour the sugar over the fruits and wait until they release their own water. Cook the walnuts on low heat until the syrup thickens. Add the juice of ½ lemon and allow them to cool. Place them in sterilised dry jars with lid. It can be stored, in cool place, for up to one year.


Gatmer (Sweet filo pastry with walnuts)


  • 5 Sheets of filo pastry (about 250 gr)

  • 150 gr walnuts, roughly chopped

  • 225 gr butter

  • For the Syrup

  • 350 gr sugar

  • 500 ml water

  • 1 tablespoon citrus blossom water

  • Few drops of lemon juice

Preparation: Oven temerature - 240°C, gas mark 9. To make the syrup in a medium size saucepan dissolve the sugar in a water and add in the lemon juice and the citrus blossom water. Place the pan on high heat and bring slowly to boil. Then reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes until it turns into a shiny syrup. Let it cool down on one side. Grease a round baking tray. On each leaf of filo brush some melted butter. In the middle of the square pastry put some of the coarsely chopped walnuts. First, fold the two opposite sides, then roll it loosely. Place them into the baking tray in rounds, starting from the middle. Pour the rest of the melted butter over them and bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly golden. Pour the cold syrup over the hot pastry and allow it to soak well. Decorate it with chopped pistachio nuts and serve cold. Serves 4.


Irmik Kurabiyesi (Cypriot Nut-stuffed Semolina pastries)


  • 1/4 lb Sweet butter

  • 1 1/4 c Fine semolina

  • Orange flower water

  • 1/4 ts Salt

  • 3 tb Warm water (more if needed)

  • 1 c Chopped unsalted pistachios

  • 4 1/2 tb Granulated sugar

  • 1 tb Ground cinnamon

  • Confectioners' sugar

Preparation: Oven temerature - 180°C/350°F. In a small, heavy saucepan, bring the butter to bubbling over medium heat and stir in the fine semolina. Transfer to a small bowl, cover, and let stand overnight at room temperature. The next day, uncover and add 2 teaspoons orange flower water, the salt, and gradually the warm water, working with your fingers to make a firm dough. Knead for 5 minutes, then cover and let rest 1 hour. Meanwhile, combine the pistachios, sugar, and ground cinnamon in a small bowl. Break off pieces of dough slightly larger in size than a walnut. Work in your fingers to form a ball. Press the centre with your thumb to make a large well and fill with 1 teaspoon of the nut mixture, then cover over with dough and shape into an oval. Set on a cookie sheet and continue until all pastries are shaped. Bake in a moderate oven (350°F) for 30 to 35 minutes or until the yellow colour has become a light (not a deep) chestnut. Remove to racks and cool for 10 minutes, then dip quickly into orange flower water and roll in confectioners' sugar. Cool before storing. Note: You may substitute blanched almonds for the pistachios and peanut oil for the butter. Serves 30 cookies.


Lokma (Honeyed crisp doughnuts)

These golden, light bubbles that are bathed with thick honey (or syrup if preferred) as they emerge from the crackling cauldron of hot oil and served immediately, dusted with aromatic cinnamon, are glittering prize of a shopping trip or a visit to the market. Made from humble ingredients of flour, yeast and water -basically, a leavened bread dough- they impress with their sumptuously pleasurable results. They are also made for Bayrams and other religious festivals and offered on large platters to visitors.


  • 250 gr (8 oz) plain flour

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • 6 gr easy blend dried yeast or 15 gr (½ oz) fresh yeast

  • 270 ml (9 fl oz) warm water

  • ½ teaspoon sugar -if fresh yeast is used

  • 300 ml (½ pint) vegetable oil -or more if necessary

  • 6-7 teaspoons good quality aromatic clear honey

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

Preparation: Time - 2 and a half hours. Sift the flour and salt in a bowl and mix the dried yeast in; add the warm water slowly while beating either with an electric mixer or a balloon whisk until all the water has been added and the mixture is smooth and lightly frothy, all in all about 2-3 minutes. Cover with a tea towel and let it rest in a warm place for one hour, until it has doubled its size and looks frothy. If using fresh yeast, dissolve the yeast in about 60 ml (2 fl oz) of warm water (about 40°C/100°F), add the sugar to activate it and let it stand in a warm place for about 15 minutes, until it starts to froth. (If the water is too hot it will kill the yeast.) Empty the dissolved yeast into the middle of the sifted flour, beating continuously. Add the remaining warm water slowly, while beating at the same time, until the mixture becomes smooth, soft and elastic. Cover with a tea towel and leave in a warm place for about 2 and a half hours until it rises and almost doubles in size. Have the oil very hot but not smoking, using a saucepan or deep-fryer, and drop teaspoon of the mixture in it, 6-8 at a time. Dip the teaspoon into a cup of cold water between each addition to prevent stickiness. The lokma puff up and rise to the surface within seconds. Turn them over and as they become pale golden all over -it only takes a minute- lift them out with a slotted spoon and drain them on absorbent paper. You will have around 30 lokmas. Serve 5-6 on each plate, dribble a teaspoon of honey all over, sprinkle on some cinnamon and serve immediately. Serves 4-6.


Muhallebi (Cypriot Rice Powder Pudding)

This is a much loved Turkish-Cypriot dessert prepared by families all year round.


  • 1 pint (568 ml) semi-skimmed milk

  • 4 tablespoon rice powder [1 rounded tablespoon rice powder per 1 water glassful of milk]

  • ¾ to 1 water-glassful sugar [or enough sugar to taste]

  • 2-4 granules of mastic (mezdeki) grounded with 1 teaspoon of sugar

  • 2-3 bitter orange leaves or orange blossoms

  • Water optional or if available

  • Pistachios and almonds (if desired)

Preparation: In a basin or a large bowl, mix rice powder into a paste with a little milk taken from 1 pint (568 ml). Heat remaining milk to almost boiling point and pour onto the rice paste, stirring well. Return the mix to the saucepan and add orange leaves and bring to boil over gentle heat while stirring continuously. Once the mixture starts bubbling, reduce the heat and continue stirring for another 5-10 minutes more.  Add sugar and keep stirring until it dissolves completely. If the mixture becomes too thick dilute with a little milk or water. Just before turning the heat off add powdered mastic, orange blossoms (or bitter-orange leaves) and stir well. Remove the leaves (if used instead of blossoms) and pour the creamy mixture into small bowls (or a one large shallow dish approximately 1-1 and ½” deep. Decorate the pudding top with pistachios and almonds if desired. Serves 5.

Helpful Hints:  Add sugar after the rice powder mixture has been stirred, boiled and thickened for at least 10 minutes. Add mastic right at the end. At the end, you may wish to place the saucepan in cold water and beat the mixture for a few minutes before pouring into small dishes.


Shammali (Yoghurt, Almond and Semolina Cake)


  • 1 glass cooking oil

  • half glass sugar

  • 3 eggs

  • 2 glasses semolina (fine or coarse)

  • 1 glass self raising flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1 glass milk (you might need less or a little more)

  • about 2 tablespoons roasted split almonds

  • optional: 1 teaspoon almond essence

For the syrup

  • 3 glasses water

  • 2 and a half glasses sugar

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Preparation: Make the syrup first: bring the ingredients to the boil, simmer gently for about 20 minutes, leave to cool. Thoroughly whisk all the ingredients for the bake (less the flaked almonds) to a thick batter like consistency (like a sponge cake mixture) - add the milk gradually, stopping when the raw cake mixture is smooth enough. Place mixture in greased tin and sprinkle the almonds on the top. Bake in medium oven (200°C) for about 60 min. until the top is golden brown and the cake shrinks slightly from the sides of the tin. Pour cold syrup over hot cake, leave to cool and cut in squares for serving. Serves 6.


Sütlaç (Rice Pudding)

This is a delicious, light dessert enjoyed in the warmer weathers or after a rich meal of meat dishes or fried fish.


  • 1 litre milk

  • 250 grams sugar

  • 100 grams rice

  • 1 tablespoon of rice flour

  • 3 - 4 teaspoons of vanilla sugar

Preparation : First, wash the rice in cold water. Then boil rice in water, enough to cover rice with. When rice expands, take off heat, drain rice and mix in milk. Place rice and milk on heat when mixture begins to boil add sugar and stir slightly. Simmer until rice is cooked (approximately 10 minutes). Make a paste of the rice flour with a little amount of water and stir into milk mixture and continue stirring. Allow to simmer for a little while longer. Take off heat and add vanilla sugar. Pour Sütlaç into individual bowls and let cool. Sprinkle with cinnamon serve cold. Serves 4.


Turunç Macunu (Bitter Oranges in Syrup)


  • 20 bitter oranges

  • 1.5 kg sugar

  • 675 ml cold water

  • 2 table spoons lemon juice

  • ½ tablespoon vanilla sugar

Preparation: Turunç Macunu (Bitter Oranges in Syrup)Slightly grate bitter oranges to remove the red colour which covers their skins. Without cutting the flesh itself, cut the peel off the oranges divided to four. Remove the white pith from the inside of the skin and roll them. Tie with a strong string so that they remain rolled while cooking. Then place in a glassbowl of cold water and leave for 3-4 days. Change the water daily. On the fourth day, place them into a large pan of boiling water. Cook for 20 minutes until they are soft. Drain them well.  Into a separate saucepan pour 3 cups of water and 1.5 kg sugar. Place the pan on heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. When it starts to boil, add in the rolled skins and cook for 40 minutes until the syrup thickens. Shortly before removing the pan from the heat add lemon juice and the vanilla sugar. Let it cool and then transfer into dry jars with lid. Store in cool place for up to one year.


Turkish Delight (Lokum)

The best Turkish Delight is made by the Turkish masters of its art; but a delicious approximation can be made at home. Its secrets are uninterrupted stirring and careful aging. Time - Total first-day time: 3 hours. Aging: 2+ days


  • 4 cups sugar

  • 1½ cups water

  • 1 tbsp. lemon juice

  • 1 cup cornstarch

  • 1 tsp. cream of tartar

  • 3 cups water

  • 2 tbsp. rose or orange flower water, orange juice or lemon juice, or vanilla extract

  • 1-2 tsp. vanilla or other extract or essence

  • Several drops food coloring

  • ½ cup almonds, skinless pistachios or walnuts, chopped and lightly toasted (optional)

  • ½ cup powdered sugar

  • ½ cup cornstarch

Preparation: Combine sugar, 1½ cup water and lemon juice in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil vigorously for 5 to 10 minutes, until the syrup reaches 240°F on a food thermometer, or forms a soft ball when a bit is dropped into cold water. Turn off the heat. Using a blender, food processor, or whisk, combine the cornstarch and cream of tartar, then gradually add 3 cups of water, stirring vigorously to fully combine the ingredients and prevent lumping. Transfer this mixture to a large saucepan, and bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. If any lumps form, scoop them out of the pan; don't try to break them up to make them smooth. It won't work. Once the cornstarch mixture has come to a boil, pour in the hot syrup in a thin, steady stream, stirring constantly. Reduce the heat and simmer the mixture for 1 to 2 hours, stirring constantly, until the mixture has turned a pale gold. Turn off the heat. Stir in flavouring to taste, and food colouring, if desired. Blend in the nuts, if desired. Using a flavourless oil, lightly oil a 9" square baking pan, then line the pan with lightly oiled baker's parchment. Pour the Lokum into the pan, then tilt it to distribute the mixture evenly. Wait until the Lokum has cooled completely before covering the pan with plastic wrap. Do not allow the plastic to touch the surface of the Lokum, or it will stick mercilessly. Let the Lokum rest for at least two days before cutting into 1" wide strips with an oiled kitchen knife (not serrated). Clean and oil the knife after every cut. If the Lokum is too gummy to cut, let it age longer. Lay out the strips on a lightly oiled tray and let them rest for another day or two before cutting into small squares. Combine one-half cup each of cornstarch and powdered sugar in a tightly covered container. Put 2 or 3 squares of Lokum into the container, cover and shake to coat them with the mixture. Store in an airtight container, separating the layers with parchment, waxed paper or doilies.

Foodie > Recipes - Meat

Sish Kebab


  • 500 grams of diced lamb

  • Juice of 1/2 lemon

  • 2 tomatoes

  • 6 long green peppers

  • 1 onion

  • salt, pepper

Preparation: Grate onion and remove its liquid. Place diced lamb in a bowl and add onion and lemon juices. Cover and rest for a few hours. Cut peppers and tomaotes into large pieces. Place meat and alternate layers of peppers and tomatoes on skewers. Cook on hot plate or barbeque, turning frequently. Serve with a fresh garden salad.


Recipes for Meat in North Cyprus

Köfte (Turkish meatballs)These appetising, walnut-shaped morsels are always part of the Turkish mezze. They are best served hot, but are also quite good at room temperature and also ideal for a picnic. In Turkey or Northern Cyprus minced lamb is used, but beef or a mixture of both will do.

Preparation time - 20 minutes. Serves: 4-6.


  • 2 medium-size slices of crustless stale bread, soaked briefly in water

  • 500 g (1 lb) minced lamb or beef

  • 1 medium-size onion, grated thickly

  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint, or 1 tablespoon dried mint

  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

  • 1 egg - salt and black pepper

  • For frying

  • 75 g (3 oz) plain flour

  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) vegetable oil

Preparation: Squeeze out excess water from the soaked bread, leaving it quite dry.  Combine all the ingredients for the Köfte in a bowl and mix well. Make walnut-shaped balls and keep them covered until they are to be eaten. Then roll them lightly in flour and fry in hot oil for 2-3 minutes until golden all over. They can be shallow -or deep- fried.


Lahmacun (Turkish pizza)


  • A pack of pitas

  • 1 lb ground beef

  • 1 lb white onion

  • 1 or 2 tomatoes

  • Salt, black pepper to taste

If you can't find tomatoes, you can replace it with 2 table spoons of tomatoe puree.

Preparation: Peel, wash, place onions with tomatoes in a food processor and ground. Add salt, black pepper and meat, ground 30 seconds more. With the help of a spoon spread this mixture over pitas. Put them in oven and bake at 400°F about 20-30 minutes. Check to see whether meat is cooked. Serve hot.


Bumbar (Cypriot sausages)

Stuffed intestines with rice; serves 4-6


  • 3 thin intestines (with no hole)

  • 700 gr minced beef

  • 1 large onion -grated

  • 160 gr rice -washed and drained

  • 750 ml (3/4 litre) water

  • 2-3 tablespoons salt

  • 3 tablespoons parsley -finely chopped

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes -peeled and chopped

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 100 ml cooking oil

  • Vinegar

  • Lemon juice

How to clean the instestines. Wash all the three pieces under cold water. To clean the inside, take one piece and hold one of the ends with one hand, then with the other hand start turning inside out. Fill the intestine with water, so that it runs out like a long sausage. The fatty outside is now in. Do all the three pieces in the same way. Wash them again with cold water than rub in some flour, so that all the thick mucuous is rubbled out of them. then wash again. Lastly, clean with lemon juice and vinegar.

For the filling: Grate one large onion, chop the tomatoes and parsley. Wash and drain the rice. Add all into the minced beef, together with tomato paste, 2 tablespoons salt, and 3/4 litre of water. Mix all the ingredients well.

Preparation: Turn all the intestine inside out in the same way. Then with a special funnel which has a large mouth (made for this purpose) fill the intestine with the prepared filling and tie the ends with a thick string. Put all the stuffed intestines into a large cooking pot. Fill with cold water just to cover all. Add 2 teaspoons of salt. Bring to boil and simmer 30-45 minutes. In the middle of the cooking time, make holes on each intestine with a skewer, so that all the air escapes. When cooked, take them out of the water and drain. Keep 3/4 litre of the hot cooking water separately. The rest can be used in making soups or in cooking. Then fry the bumbars (intestines) until brown all over, without damaging them. After frying, take them out and serve warm.

Foodie > Recipes - Mezze


Crushed green olives in marinate. One of the favourite Turkish Cypriot appetizers. To make chakistes, pick some green olives early in winter, best in October. Try to select the large ones.


  • Large green olives

  • Water

  • Salt

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 egg

  • Garlic cloves -crushed

  • Lemon juice

  • Coriander -crushed


Recipes for Meze in North Cyprus

Preparation. Wash olives well and dry in the sun then split them with a flat stone or a hammer. Place them into a bucket and cover them with salted water to preserve them. Leave for six days, changing the water every day. To make sure the water has got the correct quantity of salt, put a fresh egg in it. If the egg floats, with part of it coming out of water, then it's just fine. Add the juice of three lemons and pour half a cup of olive oil on the surface.

They're ready to eat after one month.

Serving. Get enough quantity out of the jar and wash under cold water to remove salt. Mix some olive oil with lemon juice, crushed coriander and some crushed garlic. Pour the mixture over the green olives and serve.



Yogurt, cucumber & mint dip. Preparation time: 10 minutes + chilling. Serves: 4. `Cacik' in Turkey, or `Tzatziki' in Greece, is one of the best known appetisers in either cuisine. Extremely refreshing and fragrant because of the aroma of the mint, it's served with kebabs; fried slices of courgettes and aubergines; roast chicken, lamb or with meze. Deliciously thick, creamy yogurt, made from sheep's milk accounts for the wonderful texture and flavour of the dish.


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon wine vinegar

  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed

  • 175 g (6 oz) natural yogurt

  • 5 cm (2-inch) piece of cucumber, diced finely or grated coarsely

  • 3-4 fresh mint leaves, chopped finely, or 1/2 teaspoon dried mint

  • salt

Lightly beat the oil, vinegar and garlic with a fork in a bowl; add the yogurt and beat until smooth and well amalgamated. Add the cucumber, salt and the chopped mint and mix well. Serve chilled.

Halloumi (Hellim) cheese

Hellim cheese, or Halloumi, as it's also known, is the most unique of the Cypriot delicacies. It is full fat soft cheese made of whole goat's milk, salt and a hint of mint. You can buy packaged halloumi at a local Middle Eastern grocery. Serving suggestions: Dice into small cubes for salads or serve with biscuits, cucumber or melon. It also makes a superb side dish, as well as fried or grilled topping.

Grilled Halloumi

Ingredients: 1 halloumi (hellim) cheese -cut into thick slices.
Preparation: Sliced halloumis can be cooked under a hot oven, grill or on charcoal until it starts to melt and gets slightly brown. Or it can alternatively be fried in hot oil or butter. Serve with a slice of lemon.


Halloumi & Tomato Sauce

This rich tomato sauce with cubes of fried Cypriot cheese goes great with penne or other short pasta with a good chewy bite. It's slightly sweet, flavored with cinnamon and mint, and just a little spicy.

  • 2 x 1/2lb packages Halloumi

  • Olive oil, for deep frying

  • 2 - 3 Tbsp. olive oil

  • 2 Bay leaves

  • 3 inches Cinnamon stick, broken into 2 or 3 pieces

  • 2 tsp. Cumin seeds

  • 2 large Onions, sliced

  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced

  • 2 Serrano cillies, minced

  • 1/2 lb. Mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 quart Tomatoes, coarsely chopped

  • 1 1/2 tsp. Ground cumin seed

  • 1 Tbsp. Oregano, dry

  • 1 Tbsp. Mint leaves, dry

  • 1 small can Tomato paste

  • 1 Cup Water

  • 1/2 - 1 tsp. Sugar

  • Salt, to taste

  • Black pepper, to taste

Preparation: Cut halloumi into 1/2 inch cubes. Deep fry in olive oil until golden and lightly browned on edges, much as one treats Paneer. Do this in batches, so that the cubes can be kept from clumping together. Drain on paper towels and put aside. This can be done ahead of time; just refrigerate halloumi in paper towels inside a container until ready to use. Heat 2 or 3 Tbsp. of olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add bay leaves, cinnamon, and cumin seeds; fry 30 seconds. Add onions and stir-fry with the spices. After two or three minutes add garlic and chile, and continue stir-frying a few more minutes. Add mushrooms; fry a few minutes, until they change color. Add tomatoes, stir in ground cumin, oregano, and mint. Simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add tomato paste, stir well to dissolve paste. Gently stir in fried halloumi cubes and simmer 15 more minutes, stirring occasionally and adding the water as needed for the desired consistency. Add sugar, salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.



HummusTurkish Humus is sharply appetising; it can be served with fresh bread or pitta bread to be dipped in, or as a sauce with fried fish or kebabs. It will enliven the table when served along with a vegetable casserole or as part of a meze. Humus can be stored in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Don't use canned chick-peas to make Humus as they're not successful. Preparation time: Soaking overnight + 1 hour cooking + 15 minutes. Serves 4-6.


  • 175 g (6 oz.) chick-peas, picked clean and soaked overnight

  • 2 cloves of garlic, chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tahini paste (optional, but add more oil if not used)

  • Juice of 1 and a half lemons

  • 1 and a half teaspoons ground cumin

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 300 ml (1/2 pint) chick-pea cooking liquid

  • Salt and black pepper

  • 1 or 2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil

  • A little cayenne pepper or paprika

Preparation: Rinse the chick-peas. Cover with plenty of water in a large pan, bring to the boil and skim until clear. Cover and cook until soft: in a pressure cooker they will take 15-20 minutes; otherwise a little over 1 hour, according to their age. Strain the chick-peas, reserving the cooking liquid. divide all the ingredients in two and place the first batch in a food processor or liquidiser; blend until grainy and of a runny consistency. If too dry, add more liquid and then adjust the seasoning and blend it in briefly. Make the second batch in the same fashion. Pour on to a flat platter, and sprinkle the oil and the cayenne pepper or paprika decoratively on top before serving.


Tahin Salatasi (Tahini dip)

Extremely appetising and refreshing, this can be served with hot pitta or bread to be dipped in. It's a very Cypriot dish which is also offered along with kebabs, or with mezze. Preparation time: 10 minutes. Serves: 4.

  • 5 tablespoons Tahini paste

  • 150 ml (1/4 pint) warm water

  • 1-2 cloves of garlic

  • 6 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • Salt to taste

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • A few black olives

Preparation: Combine in a blender the tahini, water, garlic and salt and blend. Slowly add the lemon and oil, alternating them, while the blades are in motion, until the mixture looks creamy in colour and texture. Adjust the seasoning and serve in a bowl with the parsley and olives sprinkled on top.

Foodie > Recipes - Pasta & Rice

Firin Makarnasi (Baked Macaroni)


  • 900 gr macaroni

  • 100 gr butter

  • 200 gr onion -finely chopped

  • 650 gr minced beef

  • 900 gr riped tomatoes -peeled and finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste

  • ½ tablespoon cinnamon

  • 1 tablespoon sugar

  • Pinch of nutmeg (optional)

  • Seasoning

  • 100 gr halloumi cheese

For the sauce

  • 50 gr butter

  • 50 gr flour

  • 600 ml milk

  • 3 eggs -well beaten

  • Seasoning

  • Oven temperature: 200C, gas mark 6

Recipes for Pasta & Rice in North Cyprus

Preparation: In a frying pan heat 50 gr of the butter and fry the onions for about 5 minutes until they are soft, add the minced meat, all the spices, salt and pepper and fry gently for 10 minutes stirring all the time. Then add the skinned and finely chopped (or grated) tomatoes, together with the tomato paste and sugar. Cook gently for a further 10-15 minutes. To make the sauce melt the butter in a medium saucepan and add the flour. Cook the roux gently for 2-3 minutes. Take the pan off the heat and add the milk a little at a time, beating all the time. Replace on the heat and bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Add 1 tablespoon of the hot sauce into the well beaten eggs and pour the beaten eggs into the sauce. Cook the sauce 4-5 minutes, stirring all the time without boiling. Cook the macaroni in plenty of boiling salted water, until soft but firm. Drain well. Heat the rest of the butter and pour over the macaroni. Into a well greased baking tray, put half of the cooked macaroni, sprinkle with cheese, then spread the minced meat sauce on top, into which 2 tablespoons white sauce is added and well mixed. Top it up with the rest of the macaroni, sprinkle more cheese over and cover with the white sauce. Put the rest of the cheese on the top and bake in a moderately hot oven until brown and crusty on the top. Serves 8-10.


Bulgur Pilavi (Cracked wheat pilaf)

The delectable taste of this Cypriot dish is quite surprising and far from bland although its ingredients may seem humble at first. It can be served with bumbar, fried fish, squid or a meat casserole. Serve fresh yogurt with it. Serves 4-6. Time: 30 minutes


  • 125 ml (4 fl oz) olive or groundnut oil

  • 1 medium-size onion -sliced very finely

  • 25 gr (1 oz) vermicelli

  • 250 gr (8 oz) bulghur (cracked wheat) -picked clean

  • 300 ml (½ pint) chicken (or vegetable) stock

  • Salt and pepper

Preparation: Heat the oil and saute the onion until it glistens; add the vermicelli, breaking it with your hands. Continue to saute together for 4-5 minutes until it all looks pale golden. Place the bulghur in a fine sieve, wash it briefly under running water and add it to the saucepan. Add the chicken stock and season, but do not add salt if your stock was made from a stock cube; mix well. Cover the pan and simmer very gently for 6-7 minutes at most, until the mixture is dry. Cover with tea towel, place the lid tightly on top and let it stand for 10 minutes before serving. (On uncovering the saucepan you will find its aroma is quite overpowering.) The bulgur pilavi will keep quite hot and fresh, if covered like this, for about one hour and it keeps its texture if reheated with 2-3 tablespoons of water the next day.


Nohutlu Pilav (Rice Pilaff with Chick Peas)


  • 150 gr chick peas -soaked overnight

  • 200 gr rice -washed and drained

  • 60 gr butter

  • 1/2 litre (500 ml) chicken broth

Preparation: Wash and drain the rice. Put the chick peas into a large saucepan and cover them with water, add some salt, bring to the boil, then cover and simmer 1-2 hours until they are soft enough. After draining them, melt the butter in a medium size saucepan, and then add the rice and fry for a minute. Add in the cooked chick peas and mix. Pour in the hot broth, bring to the boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes, until all the water is absorbed and the grains are soft. Serve hot. Serves 4-6.

Foodie > Recipes - Salads

Çoban Salatasi (Peasant-style salad)

This is one of the most popular salads in North Cyprus. Light, refreshing and easy to make, it makes a perfect lunch under an olive tree by the sea.


  • 375 gr (12 oz) large tomatoes -washed and dried

  • ½ onion -sliced finely

  • ½ green pepper -sliced thinly

  • 10 cm (4-inch) piece of cucumber -peeled and sliced

  • 6-8 black or green olives

  • 125 gr (4 oz) halloumi cheese -diced

  • A pinch of dried oregano

  • 5 tablespoons good quality olive oil

  • Salt

Salads in North Cyprus

Preparation: Quarter the tomatoes; slice them in thin segments if too large. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and toss them gently. Serve fresh bread with it, to dip the juices in typical Cypriot fashion. Serves 4.


Fasulye Piyaz (Haricot bean salad)

This is one of the most common of the Turkish dishes, often served as a main dish, accompanied by mezze like Hummus, or as a side dish accompanying a main meal, in order to add variety. Preparation and cooking time: Soaking overnight + 55 minutes. Serves 4.


  • 175 g (6 oz) haricot or cannellini beans, picked clean

For the dressing

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil

  • ½ a lemon

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

  • Salt and black pepper

For garnish

  • Black olives

  • Hard-boiled eggs, peeled, and quartered lengthways

Preparation: Soak the beans overnight. Rinse them and cover with plenty of water in a pan; bring to the boil, skim and add some salt. (This will make them firm, which is desirable for this dish). Boil them for 10 minutes, cover and cook until soft, which will take 40-50 minutes according to their age and quality. If they are not to be eaten immediately, very slightly undercook them and let them stay in their liquid. They will go on cooking anyway. Drain them just before they are to be served and place in a bowl with 2-3 tablespoons of their liquid. Beat the dressing ingredients lightly, add to the beans and toss gently. Empty on to a flat platter and garnish with olives and eggs.


Börülce Salatasi (Black-eyed bean salad)

This Cypriot dish is excellent as a substantial salad or as a main course, but be lavish with some aromatic olive oil and fresh lemon juice for authenticity. These are touches of glorification in this otherwise humble dish, which can be served hot or at room temperature. Black-eyed beans do not need soaking and cook quickly.


  • 250 gr (8 oz) black-eyed beans -picked clean and washed

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 375 gr (12 oz) courgettes (zucchini)

  • Salt

  • For the dressing

  • At least 3 tablespoons olive oil per person

  • 1 lemon -quartered

  • Salt and black pepper

Preparation: In a medium saucepan, cover the beans with water, boil for three minutes and drain, discarding the water. Cover with fresh water, add the 2 tablespoons lemon juice (to prevent their discolouring during cooking) and salt. Cover and simmer for 25 minutes. Cut the courgettes in 5 cm (2-inch) pieces and then quarter them lengthways. Add them to the pan and cook for 5-7 more minutes. Do not strain. Serve in individual soup plates, allowing 2-3 pieces of courgette per person with some of the cooking liquid as well; pour plenty of olive oil on top, season and offer the lemon quarters to be squeezed according to individual preferences although the more lemon juice the better! Serves 4-6.


Ahtapot Salatasi (Octopus Salad)


  • One 300 gr octopus -cleaned, washed and cut into large pieces

  • 1 and ½ litre water

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 100-150 gr onion -finely chopped

  • 250 gr ripe tomatoes -peeled and cut into small pieces

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 2 spring onions -finely chopped

  • 90 gr green cocktail olives -cut through the middle

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Seasoning

Preparation: Put the water and the salt into a large saucepan and place the pan on high heat. Bring up to boil and add the cut octopus. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the octopus is soft. Drain well. Into a large salad bowl put the drained octopus, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped parsley and the green olives and mix well. To make the sauce, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour the sauce over the salad and mix well. Serve with fresh bread and butter

Foodie > Recipes - Seafood

Raki Soslu Levrek (Fried Fish in Raki Sauce)


  • 1 kg fish of choice

  • 250 ml oil

  • flour

  • salt

  • lemon

  • parsley

Preparation: Clean and wash fish. Salt fish and rest for 10 minutes. Flour fish and fry in hot oil until golden brown. Remove and place on absorbent paper. Arrange fish on a serving platter. Place lemon wedges around fish and decorate with parsley.

Ahtapot Salatasi (Octopus Salad)

Recipes for Seafood in North Cyprus


  • One 300 gr octopus -cleaned, washed and cut into large pieces

  • 1 and ½ litre water

  • 1 tablespoon salt

  • 100-150 gr onion -finely chopped

  • 250 gr ripe tomatoes -peeled and cut into small pieces

  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • 2 spring onions -finely chopped

  • 90 gr green cocktail olives -cut through the middle

  • 2 tablespoons capers

  • 4 tablespoons lemon juice

  • ½ tablespoons sugar

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • Seasoning

Preparation: Put the water and the salt into a large saucepan and place the pan on high heat. Bring up to boil and add the cut octopus. Cook for 40-50 minutes or until the octopus is soft. Drain well. Into a large salad bowl put the drained octopus, chopped tomatoes, chopped onion, chopped parsley and the green olives and mix well. To make the sauce, mix the olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper in a separate bowl. Pour the sauce over the salad and mix well. Serve with fresh bread and butter.


Sipya (Cuttlefish cooked with its ink)


  • 1 kg cuttlefish -eyes, beaks and guts removed; several ink sacks reserved for cooking

  • 2 medium onions -finely chopped

  • 3-4 garlic cloves -crushed

  • 60 ml (4 tablespoons) olive oil

  • ¼ litre dry white wine

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes -coarsely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon brandy

  • ½ tablespoon starch

  • Pinch of cayenne pepper

  • Seasoning

Preparation: Put the olive oil into a large saucepan and place the pan on high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the chopped onions until soft. Add the crushed garlic and fry few more minutes. Then add the cuttlefish and cook them 20-25 minutes on low heat. Add the wine, chopped tomatoes and pinch of cayenne pepper, cover and cook 30 more minutes. Dissolve the starch with little water in a small bowl, add the ink sacks and pour all into the saucepan together with the brandy. Season well, cover the saucepan with the lid and cook for 45 minutes or until they are very tender. Serve hot.

Foodie > Recipes - Soups

Tarhana (Crushed wheat soup)

Tarhana is made locally by the villagers. It's a mixture of crushed wheat and yogurt, first cooked then in small biscuit forms dried in the sun for four to five days. These dried pieces are then placed in airtight bags to be used in cold winter days. It's also sold in the grocery shops. Serves 4-6.


  • 1 litre chicken / vegetable broth

  • 200 gr diced Cypriot halloumi cheese

  • 400 gr tarhana

  • 30 gr butter

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • Seasoning

Recipes for Soups in North Cyprus

Preparation: Soak the tarhana in cold water for about an hour. Drain well then put in a pan together with the chicken broth. Simmer gently for an hour, stirring occasionally. While the soup is cooking, put the butter in a medium size frying pan and place the pan on heat. Once the butter is hot, fry the diced halloumi pieces until golden brown on both sides. Just before serving add the fried halloumi, lemon juice and the seasoning. Mix well and serve hot.

Yayla Çorbasi (Soup of the Pastures)


  • Yayla Çorbasi (Soup of the Pastures) 4 cups of chicken/vegetable stock

  • 2 tablespoons rice -washed and drained

  • 1 cup natural full-fat yogurt

  • 1 dessertspoon flour

  • 1 teaspoon butter

  • 1 teaspoon dried mint leaves

Preparation: Bring the salted stock and rice to the boil, then simmer until it is cooked. Remove from the heat. In a bowl, stir the flour into the yogurt and mix until smooth. Slowly whisk one cup of hot stock into the yogurt one spoonful at a time to prevent curdling. Add the yogurt mixture to the stock and rice. Stir and reheat gently until the soup has just thickened. Add salt to taste. Top the soup with a knob of butter. Sprinkle with dried mint leaves and serve. Serves 4.

Hummus Soup

Hummus lovers: this ones's for you! This hummus soup is warming, rich and
creamy. It's super easy to make and makes the perfect quick meal.Gluten free, vegan, serves 2 people.



  • 1 can chickpeas

  • 1/2 large onion (around 80g)

  • 1 small carrot (around 50g)

  • 4 medium garlic cloves

  • 1 Tsp cumin

  • 2 1/2 cup vegetable broth

  • 3 Tbsp Tahini

  • 1 1/2 Tbsp lemon juice

  • salt and pepper​

Hummus Soup

to serve

  • Harissa paste

  • cherry tomatoes

  • coriander and parsley

  • sesame seeds

  • drizzle of olive oil


Preparation: Preheat oven to 200C. Place garlic cloves on a baking tray and roast for 10-15 minutes until slightly golden and soft. Add onions to a pot and sautèe until they are slightly browned and fragrant. Add carrots, chickpeas and cumin too and cook for a few more minutes. Peel the roasted garlic cloves, chop off the hard ends and stir into the onion-carrotchickpea mixture. Add the vegetable broth and let simmer for about 10 minutes until the carrots are soft. Mix in the Tahini and lemon juice and blend either in a high speed blender or with an immersion blender to reach a silky smooth consistency. Season with salt and pepper, blend again and divide between two bowls. Garnish with toppings and serve with your favourite bread. You can make a bigger batch of course by adjusting the ingredients to your desired amount.

Foodie > Recipes - Vegetarian

Yalanci Dolma (Stuffed Vine Leaves)


  • 25 vine leaves

  • one and a half cups of onions, finely chopped

  • one cup of spring onions, finely chopped

  • 1 cup of olive oil

  • 1 cup of rice

  • Salt and pepper

  • Juice of 2 lemons

  • Half a cup of dill, finely chopped

  • quarter cup of fresh mint, finely chopped

Prepraration: Blanch the vine leaves, drain and allow to cool. Mix all the ingredients except the lemons and wrap in the vine leaves, forming them into roll shapes.

Recipes for Vegetarian  in North Cyprus

Place some of the vine leaves on the bottom of the pan, then place the rolls in outward radiating circles, evenly spaced and close to one another. Gently place a plate that's not too heavy on top of the vine leaves so that they don't break open during cooking Add the lemon juice and enough water to cover the rolls. Boil gently until the water had been absorbed and rice cooked. Allow to cool then arrange on a plate, garnished with slices of lemon. Serves 4-5.

Çiçek Dolmasi (Stuffed Marrow Flowers)


  • 1 bunch marrow flowers with stems and pistils removed.

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 75-100 ml water

For the stuffing

  • 150 gr rice -washed and drained

  • 1 small onion -finely chopped

  • 2 medium tomatoes -peeled and finely chopped

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • Seasoning

  • 10-15 leaves of fresh mint -washed and roughly chopped

Prepraration: ; Wash and dry them the flowers by gently pressing onto a towel. Mix the stuffing ingredients together except the cooking oil and stuff the flowers carefully by using a small teaspoon. When doing this take care not to tear the flowers, and also fill only 3/4 so that when cooking the rice has enough space to expand. After stuffing, fold the flower petals in without breaking them. Into a small saucepan, put one tablespoon of cooking oil and place the pan on low heat. Place each flower into the saucepan by standing them next to each other. Pour 100 ml of water into the pan and bring gently to boil. Cover the saucepan and cook gently on low heat another 20 minutes until all the water has absorbed and the rice is cooked. Serve hot or cold. Serves 4.


Domates Dolmasi (Stuffed Tomatoes)


  • 650 gr minced beef

  • 8 large tomatoes -cut around stems and open the seeds and wash them well

  • 2 medium onions -finely chopped

  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 750 gr ripe tomatoes -skinned and chopped or tinned tomatoes with their juice

  • 2 eggs

  • 3 garlic cloves

  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary

  • 1/8 litre dry white wine

  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil seasoning

Prepraration: Stuffed Tomatoes and Green PeppersHeat the oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped onions until soft. Put the minced meat into a large salad bowl. Add the fried onions with the oil, crushed garlic, two eggs, rosemary, salt and freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Stuff the tomatoes with the meat filling and put the lids on. Arrange them side by side with the caps upwards. Pour in the white wine and add the chopped tomatoes with their juice. Cover and cook 30-40 minutes. Add the freshly chopped basil and serve hot. Serves 4.


Imam Bayildi (The Imam Fainted)

There are many stories about the origin of the name of this dish. Here is one of them... A long time ago a Turkish Imam (Muslim cleric), known for his love of good food, surprised his friends by announcing his engagement to the young daughter of a wealthy olive-oil merchant. The friends did not know about her ability to cook. But they presumed part of her dowry would include olive-oil. They were right. For her father gave the groom twelve jars, each one large enough to hold a person, of the precious oil. After her marriage the bride proved to be an excellent cook and each day prepared a special dish for her epicurean husband. One of them, eggplant cooked in olive-oil, became his favorite. And he ordered that his wife prepare it each night for dinner. This she did for twelve consecutive days. On the thirteenth, however, the dish was missing from the meal. Queried about its absence, the bride replied, "Dear husband, I do not have any more olive-oil. You will have to purchase some more for me." The lmam was so shocked that he fainted. And since that day, according to the story, his favorite dish has been known as "Imam Bayildi" (the Imam Fainted).


  • 2 medium aubergines (eggplants)

  • 2 medium onions, chopped

  • Olive oil

  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed

  • 3 medium tomatoes, peeled and chopped

  • 3 tablespoons chopped parsley

  • Salt and pepper to taste

  • 2 teaspoons sugar

  • 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

Prepraration: Sauté the onions in a little oil. Add the garlic, tomatoes, parsley, salt, and pep per. Cook until mushy. Cut the stem ends from each aubergine.
Make 3 lengthwise slits, almost from end to end. With and hold each slit apart and spoon the onion mixture into each cavity. Arrange aubergines in a baking dish. Sprinkle with sugar, lemon juice, and 1/2 cup oil. Bake, covered, in preheated moderate oven (350°F) for 40 minutes, or until tender. Serve hot. or as they do in Türkiye, cold with yogurt. Serves 4-6

One modification: Instead of making three slits in the aubergine, etc., hollow the aubergines out, but leave a firm outer edge . Take the insides of the aubergines, chop them up, toss them into the pan with the other sautéed ingredients. Sauté the new mixture. Then stuff the aubergines with that mixture. If you want to microwave, I found that 15 to 20 minutes on medium works well . Actually, I microwave for 15 minutes then I baste the eggplants with the liquid at the bottom of the dish. I then cook for the remaining 5 minutes at high. You can tell by looking when the outer edge is done. We slice it for serving.


Menemen (Scrambled eggs with vegetables)


  • 8 eggs -well beaten

  • 2 green peppers -seeded and cut into thin rings

  • 3 small or medium tomatoes -skinned and chopped

  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 30 gr (2 tablespoons) butter

Prepraration: Melt the butter in a large pan. Add the pepper rings and cook them a few minutes. Then add the chopped tomatoes and cook until the juice is reduced to half. Mix in the well beaten eggs and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook the eggs stirring constantly. Serves 4.

Serve at once.




  • 1 kg chicken, jointed or 1 kg lamb breast, cut into pieces

  • 160 g molohiya -soaked overnight in cold water

  • 150 g (2 medium) onions -skinned and chopped

  • 4 garlic cloves -thickly sliced

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste

  • 2 large ripe tomatoes -skinned and chopped

  • 3 tablespoon vegetable oil

  • 3 tablespoon olive oil

  • Juice of a lemon

  • Seasoning

  • 900 ml chicken stock

Prepraration: Heat the oil in a large saucepan and fry the chicken pieces for about 15 minutes until golden brown on both sides. Remove the chicken joints and keep them on one side. Add the chopped onion and the sliced garlic and fry until soft. Return the chicken joints to the pan. Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato paste and the hot chicken stock. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, add pinch of sugar and stir gently for a minute. After washing few times with cold water, drain the Molohiya well and add it to the pan. After adding juice of a lemon, stir well and bring to boil. Then cover the pan with the lid and simmer 1-2 hours, until the vegetables are well cooked. Serves 4.

Restaurants > Restaurants

Foodie > Recipes - Seftali Kebab

Seftali (shef-ta-lee)is a type of crépinette, a sausage without skin, that uses caul fat, or omentum, the membrane that surrounds the stomach of a lamb, to wrap the ingredients together.


The filling is made from lamb shoulder or leg, mixed with finely chopped onion and parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper. Rolled into small balls, the filling is wrapped in the caul fat then placed on skewers and grilled or charcoaled until golden brown. By the time it's cooked and served, the outer layer of fat is melted away and reduced to a thin golden-brown layer.


It's often served in pitta bread with salad, and sometimes topped with Cacik, a Turkish appetiser or sauce made from yogurt, cucumber, olive oil and mint.

Seftali Kebab in North Cyprus

For those curious about the name, there are two theories as to how it came about. The Turkish word şeftali, means peach, a reference to its texture or pinky complexion when cooked. Another popular urban explanation is that a local street vendor called Ali invented the recipe, foreigners who tasted this delight quickly dubbed him “Şef Ali” (Chef Ali) and his sausage became known as Şef Ali Kebab,  later shortened to “Şeftali Kebab”. One of the most popular kebab dishes, Seftali should definitely be on your must-taste list of traditional Cypriot dishes.

Foodie > Recipes - Sunday Lunch

Fancy a Sunday Roast?

A Sunday Roast is a traditional British meal usually served on Sunday, although it can be served any day. The centrepiece of the meal is roasted meat along with roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding, stuffing, gravy, and condiments such as apple sauce for pork, mint sauce for lamb, or redcurrant jelly for turkey. A wide range of vegetables can be served as part of a roast dinner, such as broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, parsnips, or peas, which can be boiled, steamed, or roasted alongside the meat and potatoes. Mashed potatoes are also a frequent accompaniment.  The Sunday Roast is ranked 2nd in a list of things people love about Britain.


It’s often compared to a slightly less grand version of a Christmas dinner. The tradition of a Sunday roast lunch or dinner has been a major influence on food cultures in the English-speaking world including Northern Cyprus.

Sunday Lunch in North Cyprus

Here, Sunday roast normally comprises roast beef, lamb or chicken, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, yorkshire pudding, cauliflower-broccoli cheese, creamed spinach, green beans, carrots, peas, fresh corn, beetroot, or sweet potato. There’s literally dozens and dozens of places you can get Sunday Roast in Northern Cyprus – too many to mention. And they taste great!



The Sunday Roast originated in the UK as a meal to be eaten after church on Sunday. All types of meat and dairy produce are allowed to be eaten on Sundays, unlike Fridays where many Roman Catholics and Anglicans traditionally don’t eat meats, so eat fish instead. It’s traditional for Anglicans and English Catholics to fast before Sunday church service, so the Sunday Roast breaks the fast afterwards. These religious rules created several traditional dishes in the United Kingdom. For example, only eating fish on Friday resulted in a British tradition of 'fish Fridays' which is still common in fish and chip shops and restaurants today, particularly during Lent. To mark the end of not being able to eat meat, the Sunday roast was created as a mark of celebration.


There are 2 historical views on the origins of the Sunday Roast. In the late 1700s, during the industrial revolution in the United Kingdom, families would place a cut of meat into the oven as they got ready for church. They would add vegetables such as potatoes, turnips and parsnips before going to church on Sunday morning. When they returned from church, the dinner was all but ready. The juices from the meat and vegetables were used to make stock or gravy to pour on top of the dinner. Another opinion holds that the Sunday roast dates back to medieval times, when village serfs served the squire for six days a week. Then, on Sunday, after morning church service, they would assemble in a field to practise battle techniques, and were rewarded with spit roasted oxen.

Typical elements

Roast lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, green beans and yorkshire pudding.
Roast beef, roast potatoes, various vegetables and yorkshire pudding.
Typical meats - chicken, lamb, pork, or roast beef, although seasonally duck, goose, gammon, turkey, or other game birds may be used.


Sunday roasts can be served with a range of boiled, steamed or roasted vegetables. The vegetables served vary seasonally and regionally, but will usually include roast potatoes, roasted in meat dripping or vegetable oil, and gravy made from juices released by the roasting meat, perhaps supplemented by one or more stock cubes, gravy browning/thickening, roux or corn flour.  The potatoes can be cooked around the meat itself, absorbing the juices and fat, but many cooks prefer to cook the potatoes and the Yorkshire pudding in a hotter oven than that used for the joint, and so remove the meat beforehand to rest and settle in a warm place. Other vegetable dishes served with roast dinner can include mashed swede or turnips, roast parsnips, boiled or steamed cabbage, broccoli, green beans, boiled carrots and peas. It’s not uncommon for leftover composite vegetable dishes such as cauliflower cheese and stewed red cabbage, to be served alongside the more usual assortment of plainly-cooked seasonal vegetables.

Beef: Yorkshire pudding, suet pudding, English mustard, horseradish sauce. roast potatoes, vegetables
Pork: crackling, sage-and-onion stuffing, apple sauce or English mustard.
Lamb: mint sauce or jelly or redcurrant jelly.
Chicken: pigs in blankets, sausages or sausage meat, stuffing, bread sauce, apple sauce, cranberry sauce or redcurrant jelly.

Leftover food from the Sunday roast has traditionally formed the basis of meals served on other days of the week. For example, meats might be used for sandwiches. Roast beef can be chopped up with leftover roasted potatoes and additional onion, then fried in a pan with oil and seasonings crispy to make roast beef hash. Lamb can be used as filling for a shepherd's pie, and vegetables can form the basis for bubble and squeak or in Scotland, traditional stovies.

Foodie > Vineyard Hotel

Foodie > Wineries

Vines have been grown and grapes pressed in Cyprus since the Bronze Age. The first commercial wine project in Northern Cyprus was established in 2000 in Geçitköy, west of Lapta, with the aid of an international wine consultant. A variety of wines are today produced by wineries from grapes grown in the vineyards at Geçitköy, Güzelyurt as well as in Ilgaz, set high on the hills of the Five Finger Mountains.

Local farmers also produce wines. Bud breaks occur in early spring with harvest around the beginning of August. Grape vines including Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Chardonnay and Semillon, the reds including Merlot, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Grenache and the whites Chardonnay, Semillon and Chenin Blanc. Visitors are provided with a complete insight and experience of the Cypriot wine culture, from planting to the final production  and can choose from a wide selection of tours, wine education courses, lectures and

Wineries in North Cyprus

more to enhance the whole wine culture experience. Wine tasting events are held throughout the year.

Vineyard & Wine Tasting Tour

A full day, including tour of a vineyard, wine tasting and lunch in avillage up in the mountains. You‘ll see amazing views, hidden places and experience a tour of the islands newest winery followed by lunch and, of course, a glass of wine. Artisan vintners will provide you with a complete insight and experience of wines grown in the mountain vineyard. You’ll have the opportunity to discover 6 (yeh!) unique and distinguished wines, as well as a tour of the complete wine making process.  ​


​Pick up and drop off at hotel

  • Mini mountain jeep tour

  • Tour of vineyard

  • Wine tasting of 6 unique wines

  • Lunch in a local restaurant in the beautiful village of Ilgaz


DURATION   0930-1530

Foodie > Recipes - Zinavia

A pomace brandy produced from distillation of grape pomace plus local dry wines, Zinavia is colourless with a light aroma of raisins.


With an alcohol content of 40 – 95%, it's no surprise Northern Cyprus's national drink is known as ‘firewater’.


Dating to Venetian times in the 14th century it's still made in the same tradition today. Grape pomace (pulp, peel, stalks and seeds) is mixed with high-quality dry wines made from indigenous grape, distilled in a 'kazan' copper pot and mellowed.  


Using different processes to produce distinct qualities and intensities, a very slow process usually lasting eight hours, turns tons of pomace into a highly potent clear liquid.


ZInavia in North Cyprus

Locals drink Zinavia as an aperitif, serve it ice cold in summer, gulp it on cold mornings or enjoy a small measure with meals.

Traditionally, it was also used to treat and sterilise wounds, soothe muscular aches, numb toothaches and clean and disinfect. Villagers still make it at home and it can be seriously strong, so you can buy it from a supermarket or head to the villages for that extra kick. Zivania has varieties with up to 95% alcohol presence, so beware. Turkish Cypriots say, “the best Zinavia is the one that burns well when you set it on fire”. You may want to seek advice on alcohol levels before trying Zinavia - or afterwards if you drink too much!

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