A taste of traditional Maltese cuisine

Posted on Tuesday, 6th May 2014

Malta is a hugely popular Mediterranean island with a beautiful climate, as well as pretty beaches and the friendliest of people. The Maltese definitely have a lust for life and this is reflected in their eclectic mix of dishes.

Malta attracts approximately 1.5 million visitors every year, which is a lot considering the island’s small size; the population is only 370,000. The island is an inexpensive holiday option and its popularity has grown in recent years, partly due to the many last minute holidays to Malta deals available.

The climate is conducive to outdoor activities and the beaches are a part of daily life while the restaurants with open air garden terraces are ubiquitous. If you’re a lover of long leisurely dinners with the friendliest of locals then you have picked the right destination.

Image of Maltese fruit market by John Haslam, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Image of Maltese fruit market by John Haslam, shared under a Creative Commons Licence

Influences on Maltese cuisine

The island of Malta has been occupied by many different nationalities over the years and their cuisine includes a number of influences. The island itself is located close to Italy, Sicily and Africa and these nationalities play a big influence in the Maltese cuisine. Malta is located on an important trade route and other influences over the years have included the Spanish, French and Middle East.

The freshest seafood dishes

Fish and seafood plays heavily in Maltese cuisine, as you would expect from a small island. Traditional favorites include Lampuki Pie, which is a fish pie and Aljotta, which is a delicious fish soup. The fish used in the dishes will depend on the season but you can expect stone fish, grouper and red mullet throughout the year as well as swordfish and tuna dishes.

You can also expect plenty of dishes featuring mussels, prawns and octopus. The bonus of living on such a small island is that you can expect the freshest of ingredients when ordering seafood dishes.

Rustic food

The Maltese love stuffed food and the stewed rabbit marinated in wine and herbs should be tried at least once. Stuffed chicken on seasonal vegetables such as onions and potatoes is another excellent dish throughout the year. The Maltese will stuff practically anything if they get the chance and most restaurants will serve stuffed octopus and squid with the spiciest of tomato sauces. The mouth-watering bragoli is another authentic dish featuring mince parcels, breadcrumbs, garlic, parsley and chopped eggs wrapped in beef slices.

The sweetest desserts

On this island you will find plenty of sweet options such as the deep-fried pastry filled with dates called imqaret as well as the ubiquitous kannoli – a tube of fried pastry stuffed with ricotta.

The Maltese love their cakes and most restaurants will have a fully stocked sweet trolley featuring almond macaroons and treacle rings. Malta is well known for its fruit and you can expect to find locally produced apricots, melons and peaches within many of the cakes and pastries.

As Malta caters to tourists from all over the world you’ll find a diversity of restaurants but try some of the local cuisine for a real taste of the island.

Note: Blog post written Laura Gavin.

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