In North cyprus, you'll find mostly Turkish cuisine. In the Republic, Greek 






In history, the Turks led a nomadic life, dependent on agriculture and on the breeding of domestic animals. Turks were the first to make Yogurt.  At the time, Turks had devised numerous methods to preserve their food for their long journeys.


A country of south west Asia and south east Europe between the Mediterranean and the Black seas. The region was dominated by many ancient civilizations and peoples, among them the Hittites (1800 B.C.), the Greeks (8th century B.C.), and the Persians (6th century B.C.), and in A.D. 395 it became part of the Byzantine Empire. The area was conquered by the Ottoman Turks between the 13th and 15th centuries and remained the core of the Ottoman Empire for more than 600 years. Its modern history dates to the rise of the Young Turks (after 1908) and the collapse of the empire in 1918. Under the leadership of Kemal Atatürk, a republic was proclaimed in 1923.


Early Turks cultivated wheat and used it liberally, in several types of leavened and unleavened breads either baked in clay ovens, fried on a griddle, or buried in embers. Stuffing not only pastry, but also all kinds of vegetables was common practice, and still is, as evidenced bv dozens of different types of "dolma".


Skewering meat as well as other ways of grilling, later known as varieties of kebab, and dairy products, such as cheeses and yogurt, were convenient staples of the Turks.


The Turkish Cuisine has the privilege of being at the cross-roads of the Far-East and the Mediterranean, which mirrors a long history of Turkish migration from  Central Asia to Europe . This made the Turkish Cuisine rich with almost infinite variety which led to a Cuisine that is open to improvisation through development of regional styles, while retaining its deep roots.


Turkish kitchen reached its best during the Ottoman dynasty.  Ottoman Turks had been cooking many different fresh vegetables using exotic herbs and spices for many decades. The richness of Turkish cooking originates from Ottoman Sultans. During their reign, many of the chefs were trying to create a new dish and taste to please the Sultan in order to receive praise and reward. This movement created a large variety of dish offerings from meat to many fresh vegetables. Most beef dishes were cooked on open flame generally named " kebabs". Besides meat and vegetables, they also excelled in baking by creating different types of bread for different occasions and dishes.


The foundation of Turkish cuisine is based on grains (rice and wheat) and vegetables. Turkey dishes are supposed to bring out the flavor of the main ingredient rather than hiding it under sauces or spices.


Kebabs are dishes of plain or marinated meat either stewed or grilled. Lamb is the basic meat of Turkish kitchen. Pieces of lamb threaded on a skewer and grilled over charcoal form the famous Shish Kebab. Doner Kebab is a roll of lamb on a vertical skewer turning parallel to a hot grill. Turkish Kuftes (meatballs) are in all shapes and sizes mixed with spices and onions and are grilled, fired or baked. Soups are are generally based on meat stock and served at the start of the meal.


For dessert,  there's Asure, a pudding of cereal grains, sugar and raisins, dried fruits stewed into compotes, apricots topped with fresh cream , Baklava and Kadayif , Revani - semolina sweet,  small sweet cakes , and Lokma .

Among the national drinks , Turkish coffe, tea, ayran (yogurt drink) and sahleb should be mentioned.





Cyprus is the 3rd largest Island in the Mediterranean and is 65 km away from Turkey`s southern coast. Other neighbouring countries are Syria, Lebanon, Israel, Egypt and Greece. Since the division of Cyprus in 1974 the Turkish Cypriots have lived in the northern part of the island while Greek Cypriots live in the south. Traditionally the birthplace of the ancient goddess of love Aphrodite, Cyprus's modern history has, in contrast, been dominated by enmity between its Greek and Turkish inhabitants.


The island was settled by Phoenicians c. 800 B.C. and thereafter fell successively to the Assyrians, Egyptians, Persians, Macedonian Greeks, Egyptians again, and finally Romans (58 B.C.). The Byzantines controlled it from A.D. 395 until 1191, when it was captured by Richard I of England during the Third Crusade. Venice annexed it in 1489, Turkey conquered it in 1571, and Great Britain proclaimed its sovereignty in 1914. Cyprus became independent in 1960, but large-scale fighting between Greek and Turkish Cypriots led to the installment of a UN peacekeeping force in 1965. In 1974 Turkey invaded Cyprus and established a separate Turkish state in the northern part.


Various empires, invasions, foreign settlers and traders over the past 3,000 years influenced Cyprus by diffrent cultures and cuisines , bringing their recipes and intoruced them to Cypriot cooking .  But. with little variations from their originals, Cypriots have developed quite tasty dishes.  Molohiya ’ for example , Arab in origin, has developed completely and some dishes even vary from region to region in name, preparation and taste.


In North (turkish) cyprus, you'll find mostly Turkish cuisine. In the Republic, Greek .


Greek Cypriot cuisine derives from Greece mainland and its associated islands. Given the geography and history of Greece, this style of cookery has influences from Italian, the Balkan and Middle Eastern cuisine.


The Turkish Cypriot Cuisine is also famous for its kebab dishes and starters called mezze’s.  Daily fresh meat, fish, vegetables and fruit used in the Turkish Cypriot cuisine . Turkish Cypriots are also very fond of lemon juice as a flavouring and fresh lemon juice or the sliced fruit are invariably served with each meal, together with slices of radish and brown bread.


One of the most common ways of cooking in Cyprus is YACHNI, aka in tomato sauce. All types of vegetables with or withour meat can be cooked in this way, on a low heat for a long time to ensure that the juices are gradually reduced to a thick sauce.


Aubergine is the prince of vegetables in North Cyprus as well as in Turkey. It can be prepared and cooked in tens different ways. With herbs, used on their own or with meat, cooked in butter , cooked in olive oil and served cold, used as a stuffing or stuffed , included in salads and more.


The sweet cuisine includes  lokum, lokrna and arni. Lokum is Turkish Delight, and is famous throughout the world. Lokrna are little balls of paste made from flour, sugar, and yeast, fried and then dipped in syrup. Arni is made of fried flaky pastry filled with jellied cream. 



Cypriot, Turkish and Greek - Chapter II



Recipes Index