A holiday to North Cyprus can be rewarding in may ways, for excellent weather and abundant sunshine, good hotels, plenty of places to see, castles, pretty harbours, ancient towns but also for the good food.
North Cyprus has a cuisine very similar to the Turkish cuisine but with some additional vegetables or dishes which have arrived with the traders over the centuries, like kolokas and molohiya and have become traditional. The use of herbs and spices is slightly different too. Otherwise they are very close.
Restaurants from other cultures are steadily appearing, Chinese, Indian and Thai restaurants. But, while these are all very appealing, if you like that kind of food, they provide the opportunity for the locals to sample these different cuisines. When you arrive as a visitor it is a rare opportunity to explore the traditional North Cyprus restaurants and their own cuisine. All these other cuisines you will find at home anyway.
Traditionally there are lots of starters or mezes involved. These can be almost anything but there are some standards that always appear, beetroot, white cheeses, mixed salad, Russian salad, humus, yoghurt and cagic, a yoghurt, cucumber and garlic mix.
For the main course in the meat section, lamb klefitico is a great favourite. The lamb is wrapped and cooked in the oven very slowly often with potatoes. It is very similar to the Greek Cypriot dish of the same name. Mousaka, on the other hand, can be and often is very different from the Greek version. The traditional Greek dish has a base of minced lamb or beef with aubergine, topped with potatoes and bechamel sauce. Here, mousaka may or may not have potatoes and does not always have the béchamel sauce. Sometimes it can be largely potatoes. No two restaurants seem to serve the same recipe. There are some very traditional dishes to select from including kolokas and chicken and molohiya and chicken as well as Imam beyilde, an aubergine shoe filled with tomatoes, onions and sometimes minced lamb.
Most menus also list a number of fish dishes so there is always a good a good choice for all tastes.