5 Things to Taste in Malta

Maltese cuisine is very similar to other Mediterranean cuisines and is a result of the long relationship between the locals and the many civilisations who occupied the Maltese Islands throughout history. Traditional Maltese food is very rustic and relies on local produce such as honey, tomatoes and olives, it also varies according to the season. Wondering what typical foods you can taste in Malta? Here's a list of some of our favourite local items...

1. Pastizzi
Pastizzi are the most popular savoury snack in Malta amongst the locals. They look a bit like small croissants and are traditionally made of flaky pastry and are filled with ricotta cheese or mushy peas, however nowadays one can find them filled with a variety of ingredients.

If you would like to try the best pastizzi in Malta we suggest visiting Crystal Palace in Rabat, known amongst the locals as Tas-Serkin (the owner's nickname). This shop is popular, not just because they serve the best pastizzi, but also because it is open almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

2. Rabbit Stew
Rabbit stew became a popular meal in Malta because the meat was relatively affordable during the Middle Ages. In fact, rabbits and hares were hunted in large quantities until the Knights of St. John banned the hunting of these animals. The ban was lifted in the late 18th century, and the dish became popular again. Today, rabbit stew is considered to be the national dish of Malta.

The locals call this meal a "fenkata" coming from the Maltese word for rabbit, "fenek". For the Maltese, a fenkata is considered more than a meal - it is a social activity. This "activity" generally consists of two courses - the first dish would be a huge bowl of spaghetti tossed in rabbit ragu, wine, and herbs; the second dish, would be the main dish of the meal, and would consist of the actual rabbit meat slow cooked in red wine and garlic and is served with peas, fries and lots of Maltese bread to mop up the juices.

If you would like to try a traditional fenkata we suggest visiting one of the bars in Mgarr Malta. United Bar is known to be one of the best ones.

3. Hobz biz-Zejt
Literally translated into English, this dish is bread with oil. The dish consists of slices of Maltese bread or a ftira, spread with the juice of fresh tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil. People often add other ingredients to the mix, such as tuna or sardines, olives, capers, gbejna (traditional Maltese cheese), chopped onions and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

4. Imqaret
Imqaret are a local sweet, they are diamond shaped pastries that are filled with dates and then deep fried. Some vendors also add flavours of aniseed and bay leaf into the recipe to give it a different touch. These are most commonly sold in the traditional village feasts and by street vendors.

If you would like to taste some imqaret, we suggest visiting one of the street vendors outside the main gate of Valletta.

5. Cisk & Kinnie
Cisk (pronounced chisk), is an award winning beer that is brewed and produced locally. It is a golden-coloured, bottom-fermented lager that is said to have a distinctive taste with an alcohol content of 4.2%.

If beer is not your thing, then why not try out Kinnie? Kinnie is a non-alcoholic local soft drink that is made from bitter oranges and aromatic herbs. The best way to drink it is when it is served very cold on a nice, sunny, Maltese day. 

Want to know more about local cuisine? Click here to drop us a line. 


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