What to eat in Malta?
Updated: Jul 25
Malta - the small island in the mediterranean sea which offers not only breathtaking landscapes and charming cities but also delicious food that you should try when visiting! Even though Maltese cuisine has little Italian, Arabic, and British influences it has to offer plenty of traditional and local dishes which are typical only for this little island. Read the article and learn about various appetizing Maltese cuisine!
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Also known as Rabbit Stew is Malta’s national dish and a must-try for people visiting the island. Very traditional and among Maltese people usually eaten during special family occasions. Meat which is the base of the dish should simmer for a long time in a rich wine and tomato sauce. Usually, Stuffat tal-Fenek is served with roast potatoes and crusty bread. Rabbit meat is very popular in Malta and is a common component of plenty of dishes.
Very popular snack food which you can buy in almost every bakery shop (pastizzeria) in Malta. Traditional crispy savory pastry usually has inside either ricotta filling or peas puree. Diamond or round-shaped pastizzi are delicious snacks that everyone should try while visiting Malta.
Next to the pastizzi, the most famous salted snack in Malta is qassatat. It’s similar to the first one, but the cake is not so crispy but softer, and the inside is full of stuffing. The most popular qassatat is with salted ricotta or ricotta and spinach. A very filling snack which you can buy in bakeries, coffee shops, and little street markets with food.
Ftira is Malta's pride sourdough bread which was in the year 2020 added to UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage List. The preparation of this food is a very traditional procedure and it's a very important part of Maltese culture. Ring-shaped bread has a crispy crust and soft texture. It’s usually served as a sandwich with sardines, tuna, fresh tomato, olive oil, onion, capers, and olives. In Gozo, it’s often eaten baked with melted mozzarella on top.
This dish has a visible Italian influence. The main base is pasta (penne) baked with meat and tomato sauce. But Timpana is not just simply pasta from the oven. It’s also covered with a delicious pastry layer which makes it more like a tart. Usually, the portions in the restaurants are very generous so be sure that you’re really hungry before trying Timpana!
Very traditional soup made from the smallest fishes in Malta such as sprats or sardines with a little lemony and herbal savor. The soup is cooked with whole fish - head and tail included to extract the best flavor possible. Aljotta soup is one of the most common and signature Maltese dishes.
Another very famous soup, usually eaten in the winter because of its filling and nutritional ingredients. Full of vegetables such as cauliflower, potatoes, garlic, onion, tomato, and carrots. It’s often served with an egg and gbejna cheese on the top.
A small round cheese is traditionally made from sheep milk. Very common as an extra ingredient in plenty of Maltese dishes. Can be served in various ways - for example with herbs or deep fried. Often restaurants offer gbejniet (plural) as a tasty appetizer so be sure to try it at least once!
Kwareżimal is a sweet Maltese biscuit, traditionally baked during Lent but now it's easy to find all year long. Its rich flavor of orange rind and ground almonds gives it a very special taste which is liked by many.
Sweet honey rings are typical for the Christmas period but easy to find all year round. Their main ingredient is not honey but treacle which gives qaghaq tal-ghasel a sweet and interesting taste. Also, the addition of the spices like cacao, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves develop a rich flavor. One important ingredient is also orange juice and orange zest.
A tart is full of almonds, chocolate, and orange. Torta tal-marmurat is a delicious sweet tart with a base of butter sweet pastry and dark chocolate filling with a generous portion of almonds and aromatic orange. It sounds very sweet and very good, doesn’t it?
Diamond-shaped pastry sweets with a filling of sugary dates with a mix of spices and citrus. This very popular deep-fried dessert is sold in little food markets and stalls. Often in restaurants’ dessert menus are served with ice cream. It’s impossible to not see how the imqaret are being freshly prepared in street markets. It’s a must-try!
Sometimes so-called “national soft drink” by Maltese. Very popular carbonated drink brewed from bitter-sweet oranges chinotto and with the addition of a secret combination of herbs. The brown color makes it look similar to coke, but the taste is very different - less sweet more bitter. Can be drunk straight or mixed with alcohol to prepare a nice cocktail.
Golden lager beer which tastes perfectly during the hot summer. Well-balanced with bitterness gives a very enjoyable taste. Cisk is a very popular beer in Malta and is very easy to find in every bar or market. If you like trying local beers you should definitely try Cisk!
Wine and liqueurs
Malta also offers a great selection of local wines - white and red, which are a great companion to some of the traditional Maltese dishes included in this article. Also after the meal, it’s worth trying some traditional a bit stronger alcohol like liqueurs made from herbs or fruits. One of the most interesting is made from prickly pear. It’s worth trying!
Even though Malta is such a small country it is full of various delicious flavors. We hope this article inspired you, even more, to travel to this delicious island! In the meantime, you can read an article about the capital of Malta - Valletta. We also have other places for you to visit, such as Split, Mykonos, and Cagliari. Do not forget to follow us @thewalkingparrot to be always updated on the new releases.