Malta is in the Mediterranean Sea, and its cuisine is one of the most exciting and diverse in the region. Maltese cuisine is a mix of the cuisines of its many conquerors, from the Arab and Ottoman Empires to the Romans and the British. The traditional Maltese dishes are a reflection of this rich and varied history, and they are worth trying.
Here’s an introduction to Maltese cuisine and some of its traditional dishes that everyone must try.
Maltese cuisine is a blend of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern flavours, with influences from French, Spanish, and Italian cooking styles. The cuisine uses fresh ingredients and local spices, such as bay leaves, oregano, marjoram, and fennel. The cuisine also includes a wide variety of seafood, including fish, crayfish, octopus, and squid.
The cuisine is also known for its type of pastries called “ftira”, usually served as a snack or lunch. The traditional Maltese dishes are usually served with a side of “kapunata”, a stew made with tomatoes, onions, garlic, and capers.
The cuisine is also known for its unique style of pizza, which is made with a thin crust and topped with various ingredients, such as tomato sauce, anchovies, olives, and cheese. The pizza is usually served with a side of “ġbejniet”, which are small cheese pies.
Finally, the cuisine is also known for its desserts, usually made with honey, nuts, and fruits. Popular desserts include “biskuttini tar-rożż” which are small almond cakes; “qagħaq tal-għasel”, which are honey rings; and “figolli”, which are almond-filled pastries.
The traditional Maltese dishes reflect the archipelago’s unique history and cultural influences.
Here are some of the must-try traditional Maltese dishes:
The Big Three
The “three big dishes” of Maltese cuisine are the “Fenkata”, the “Fenkata tal-Laham”, and the “Qagħaq tal-Għasel”. The “Fenkata” is a traditional dish made with rabbit and potatoes, and the “Fenkata tal-Laham” is a stew made with lamb and potatoes. The “Qagħaq tal-Għasel” is a traditional honey ring.
Stuffat tal-Fenek is a traditional rabbit stew made with tomatoes, garlic, onions, and bay leaves. The stew is usually served with potatoes, rice, or spaghetti.
Ġbejniet are a traditional Maltese cheese pie made with sheep’s milk cheese. The pies are usually served as a snack or with lunch.
Imqaret is a traditional Maltese dessert with dates, cinnamon, and honey. The dessert is usually served after dinner.
Rabbit Qassatat is a traditional Maltese dish with rabbit, onions, garlic, and potatoes. The dish is usually served with a side of spaghetti or rice.
Lampuki Pie is a traditional Maltese dish made with fish and potatoes. The pie is usually served with a side of vegetables or salad.
Kannoli is a traditional Maltese dessert made with ricotta cheese, sugar, and cinnamon. The dessert is usually served after dinner.
The History of Maltese Cuisine
Maltese cuisine has a long and exciting history that dates back to the island’s first settlers. The first settlers on the island were the Phoenicians, who introduced olive oil and various spices. Later, the Romans brought their culinary traditions to the island, including fresh vegetables, fruits, herbs, and spices.
Later, the Arabs brought their culinary traditions, such as the use of dates and honey and the idea of slow-cooked stews. The French and the Spanish also brought their culinary influences to the island, including bread, pastries, and desserts. Finally, the British brought their culinary influences, such as tea and the traditional Sunday roast.
These culinary influences have blended to form the unique and diverse Maltese cuisine we know today.
Where to Find the Best Traditional Maltese Food
If you want to experience traditional Maltese food, then Malta is the place to go. The island is home to various restaurants and cafes serving traditional Maltese cuisine. Some of the best
places to find traditional Maltese food include “Ta’ Marija” in Valletta, “L-Ahwa” in Mdina, and “Ta’ Leli” in St. Julian’s.
In addition to restaurants and cafes, a variety of food markets and street vendors serve traditional Maltese dishes. These vendors usually serve traditional dishes such as the “Fenkata”, the “Fenkata tal-Laham”, and the “Qagħaq tal-Għasel”.
Finally, the cuisine is also a popular part of the island’s culture and tradition. The traditional Maltese dishes are often served at weddings, and other special occasions and are a source of pride for many islanders.
If you’re looking for a unique culinary experience, you must visit Malta and try its traditional Maltese dishes. You won’t be disappointed! So, what are you waiting for? Come and taste the traditional magic of Maltese cuisine!