Malta’s not only about sea and sun. You’re also going to find an eclectic Mediterranean cuisine that gathers the best of Sicily, Italy, England, France, and North Africa. The Maltese take their food very seriously. So unless you go fine-dining you’ll most likely end up with a dish that’s big enough to feed an army. We can safely bet you’ll never go hungry in Malta.
Following an eating spree on the Maltese Islands, we had no problems picking out our top five dishes. Here they are.
What do you fancy? Rabbit in a stew or fried in wine and garlic? Both are equally popular in Malta, and feature at what the locals call the ‘fenkata’ or rabbit party. We suggest you head to one of the no-fuss restaurants in the rural villages of Mġarr or Baħrija for this king of Maltese dishes. They’ll start you off with curried snails plus some spaghetti in a rabbit sauce, followed by the rabbit itself accompanied by fried or roast potatoes. Finished off with peanuts and pieces of ‘ħelwa tat-tork’, a sesame-based dessert. What a meal!
Lampuki Pie (dorado)
You can’t be on an island and not eat fish, whichever way it’s cooked. The Maltese treasure their ‘lampuki’ which we know as mahi-mahi, dolphinfish, or by the Spanish name ‘dorado’. And they love it in a pie. We can guarantee you’ll love it too, so look out for this Maltese delicacy between September and November, when the fish migrate past the islands.
If you’re after a meal that will leave you feeling satisfied for hours, look no further than the stocky ‘timpana’. We’re talking about cooked macaroni tossed in a rich minced-meat sauce containing bacon and sometimes even chopped liver. And since this is not enough to satisfy the Maltese appetite, it comes with the added bonus of a crusty pastry casing.
What the heck is this? ‘Ħobż’ is bread, ‘biż-Żejt’ means with oil. Is this a meal? Well, the Maltese can turn anything into a meal, especially their crusty ‘ħobż tal-Malti’ or ‘ftira’—the polo-shaped bread. Mind you, it’s not just bread with olive oil. That’s just the base. On top of that, there’s tuna, capers, onions, tomatoes, olives, sea salt and pepper. Though you could come across a few other variations. We just love this tuna one with the added mint or basil. And it’s terribly delicious when eaten after a swim in the Mediterranean sea.
We definitely can’t leave without mentioning the famous ‘pastizzi’. As crunchy as ever, these diamond-shaped puff-pastry pockets are filled with either mushy peas or ricotta cheese. They sometimes come rounded, and with different fillings like chicken or even Nutella. But we find that nothing beats the classic ones. Look out for the ‘Pastizzeria’ signs all over the islands and munch away. Watch it though! Eating too many of these may compromise your waistline.