The three most delicious Maltese dishes you need to try

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This is a guest post by Ellen Wise PR

Looking forward to a trip to Malta? You’re sure to be curious about the local cuisine. Maltese food is hearty and rustic, offering an eclectic fusion of Mediterranean and Levantine flavours.
Here are three of the country’s tastiest traditional dishes you have to sample along the way.

Stuffat tal-fenek (rabbit stew)
This comforting stew is Malta’s national dish. Rabbits were not indigenous to Malta but the Phoenicians introduced them around 3600 years ago to provide the island with fresh meat. The rabbit population thrived which made the meat cheap, easy to source and incredibly popular.

However, during the 250-year era in which the medieval Knights of St John presided over Malta, restrictions were placed on the hunting of rabbits for fear of their extinction. Hunting and eating rabbit became a symbol of resistance, and despite bans on hunting having long been lifted, rabbit stew remains a key aspect of Maltese identity today. The ingredients, flavours and cooking methods for rabbit stew vary across different regions of Malta, but it’s common to marinate the meat in wine and herbs before cooking it slowly on a low heat until it becomes tender.

Photo source: Food & Wine

Torta tal-lampuki pie (fish pie)
Lampuki, also known as dolphinfish, mahi-mahi or dorado fish, have a meaty texture much like swordfish. They’re found throughout the Mediterranean and have been fished in Malta for centuries. Lampuki pie is a brilliant symbol of Maltese history because its flavour profile incorporates the various cultures that have shaped the country. The Knights of St John originated from France, Italy and Spain and bought each of these country’s cooking styles with them. The close proximity of the Levant and northern Africa has provided Malta with a variety of exotic spices.
Plus, the British Empire’s influence brought British cooking methods and traditions. Savoury, pastry-wrapped pies are decidedly British, but rich Levantine flavours of mint, lemon peel and raisins combined with Mediterranean olives, tomatoes and capers make Lampuki pie an exotic and wholly unique dish.

Photo source: Malta Today

Imqaret (date-filled pastries)
Imqaret are tasty diamond-shaped pastries filled with a date paste that is flavoured with citrus, cloves, aniseed, cinnamon and vanilla. They’re deep fried to ensure the pastry shell is golden in colour and deliciously crisp. You’ll find Imqaret all over Malta, but they are perhaps best known in the capital of Valletta where you can buy them from a wealth of bakeries and street vendors.
Many people choose Valletta as the base for their Maltese holiday since it is home to lots of historical and cultural attractions including St John’s Co-Cathedral and Grandmaster’s Palace. Imqaret make for a wonderful pick-me-up during a busy day of sightseeing.
Alternatively, try pastizzi, filo pastries filled with spiced peas or ricotta, for a savoury alternative.

Photo source: Air Malta

These three dishes are just the beginning of Maltese cuisine. You’ll discover a huge variety of rustic and uniquely flavoured dishes when you visit the island so be sure to travel as widely as possible to sample them all.

This is a guest post; Pastabites is not the author of this post.

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