The famous Cypriot Sausage

No visit to NCY can be complete for non-vegetarians without trying this traditional feast.

Seftali (shef-ta-lee)is a type of crépinette, a sausage without skin, that uses caul fat, or omentum, the membrane that surrounds the stomach of a lamb, to wrap the ingredients together.

The filling is made from lamb shoulder or leg, mixed with finely chopped onion and parsley, seasoned with salt and pepper.

Rolled into small balls, the filling is wrapped in the caul fat and then placed on skewers and grilled or charcoaled until golden brown.

By the time it is cooked and served, the outer layer of fat is melted away and reduced to a thin golden-brown layer.

Seftali is commonly served in Cypriot pitta bread with salad, and sometimes topped with Cacik, a Turkish appetiser or sauce made from yogurt, cucumber, olive oil and mint.  

For those curious about the name, there are two theories as to how this local favourite acquired its name:

The Turkish word şeftali, which means peach, a reference to its texture or pinky complexion when cooked.

Another popular urban explanation is that a Turkish Cypriot street vendor called Ali invented the recipe, and foreigners who tasted this delight quickly dubbed him “Şef Ali” (Chef Ali) and his sausage became known as Şef Ali Kebab, which Turkish Cypriots later shortened to “Şeftali Kebab”.

One of the most popular kebab dishes, Seftali should definitely be on your must-taste list of traditional Cypriot dishes when visiting!