14 Nov 10 Traditional Maltese Dishes
You cannot leave Malta before tasting some of the island’s traditional dishes. Here is a list of 10 dishes that you will surely hear of when asking about the country’s cuisine.
- Aljotta: A traditional fish broth made with tomatoes, mint, and a meaty white fish. Generally eaten as the first course of a Maltese meal.Since eating meat during Lent was not permitted, Aljotta was very popular during Lent for the Maltese, being a very religious country. This soup calls for the whole ﬁsh—head and tail included—in order to develop the best ﬂavor possible. It is essentially an adaptation of France’s bouillabaisse, which of course reflects Malta’s history and culture having been invaded by the French in 1798.
- Bigilla: A puree of mashed brown beans with seasoning, served as a dip with water biscuits “Galletti” as an appetizer.
- Braġjoli: Translated as “Beef Olive”, Braġjoli are very thin slices of meat filled with chopped garlic, parsley, bacon, and hard boiled eggs, served in a tomato sauce.
- Fenek: Rabbit (fenek) is regarded as Malta’s national dish. Country landlords often breed them themselves.Generally either fried in olive oil with capers and tomatoes, or steamed in red wine sauce with garlic and bay leaves. Also, a very popular variation served in Malta is the spaghetti with rabbit sauce. No matter which you choose – a full-bodied red wine will always go well with it.
- Ġbejna: Creamy Gozitan sheep’s cheese, eaten fresh with bread or galletti or used as ravioli filling.
- Ħobż biż-żejt: Literally translated as “Bread with Oil”, it is made using Maltese Bread (Ħobża tal-Malti) which is a crusty sourdough bread, usually baked in wood ovens.
Although it can be eaten as accompaniment to food and with a variety of fillings, the typical and favourite way to eat it is as Ħobż biż-żejt, comprised of tomato paste, onions, parsley, canned tuna, olives and capers, and of course finished off with some olive oil.
- Imqaret: Date filled pastries often served with ice cream as a dessert. Local tip – You can buy the best fried imqaret just before entering Valletta.
- Pastizzi: Possibly the most prominent of Maltese cuisine, these small savory pastries are usually filled with ricotta cheese ‘Pastizzi tal-irkotta’ or mushy peas ‘Pastizzi tal-pizelli’. Found all over Malta in pastizzerias and cafeterias, served as breakfast and snacks alike.Pastizzi are usually diamond-shaped or round-shaped and made with a pastry very much like the Greek phyllo pastry (although there is also a puff pastry version). The pastry is folded in different ways according to the filling. They are typically baked on metal trays in electric or gas ovens in a pastizzeria, usually family-owned and passed down generations.
- Qara’ Baghli: Marrows stuffed with minced meat or corned beef cooked in the oven.
- Timpana: Macaroni with minced meat, covered in flaky pastry and béchamel sauce. The filling may also include cheese and hard-boiled eggs.
You can find this dish in all typical pastizzerias while you’re buying some pastizzi and like the latter, while buying timpana you won’t break the bank!
While you’ll find some of these dishes all over the island, others may be a bit more difficult to find since surprisingly enough there aren’t many Maltese restaurants on the island. However, our front desk team will be happy to help you locate the finest local cuisine nearby.
For more information on Maltese Specialities you can also visit http://www.malta.com/en/dining/maltese-specialities