10 Foods In Malta You Need To Eat…Or At Least Try

Maltese foods
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Lampuki Pie.
Helwa tat-Tork.
Hobz biz-zejt.
Stuffat tal-Fenek.
Widow's Soup.

Maltese were one of the firsts in the world to taste chocolates.

At first glance, it seems challenging to identify Maltese cuisine. With fresh seafood draped in rouge tomato sauce, velvety risottos, and even Roman pizza, is it masking itself as Italian food’s English half brother? When food reflects upon the heart of a culture, however, one can only fathom the multi-layers of Maltese cuisine. After all, its history comes as sordid and multicultural as one can imagine.

Maltese food
Photo: Wendy Hung

Having been ruled by the Romans, the Knights, the French, then the English; Maltese cuisine is also heavily influenced by its geographical location. Both Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flairs have heavily impacted traditional Maltese dishes. Since most of its food source needed to be imported from early on, in addition to its significant position between trade routes; Maltese cuisine has always been an adaptation of various European and North African flavors.

The Knights, who arrive from various European countries, ruled Malta before Napoleon’s French occupation. Hence, aljotta, the Maltese fish soup with herbs and tomatoes, is similar to the French bouillabaisse. Due to Knights’ connection to the wealthy, they brought chocolates to Malta who were one of the firsts in the world to taste the famous treat. It’s no mistake that Malta’s national dish is stuffat tal fenek, or rabbit stew, which was also brought to the island by the Knights.

Due to its proximity to North Africa, one might be surprised to find out that pork plays a popular role in Maltese cuisine. Since Muslims don’t eat pork, this might have been the Maltese’s way of defining its national identity, leaning toward Christianity rather than Arab culture. Often on the menu, you’ll see: pork sausages, grilled pork, and kawlata – pork and vegetable soup.

Maltese cuisine
Photo: Wendy Hung

Prior to its independence in 1964, Malta was a British colony. Hence, its cuisine incorporated British condiments and products: English mustard, HP Sauce, Worcestershire sauce…just to name a few. For example, aljoli is a Maltese paste to eat with crackers or bread. The dish originally derived from Britain except for the replacement of egg with herbs, olives, anchovies, and olive oil.

Wendy Hung


As the founder of Jetset Times, Wendy is an avid traveler and fluent in five languages. When she's not traveling, Wendy calls Paris and Taipei home. Her favorite countries so far from her travels have been: Bhutan, Iran, and Russia because they were all so different! St. Bart's was pretty amazing too (wink)!

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