Malta’s Street Food scene is pumped! And when we say pumped, we mean it! The huge increase in interest of food trucks, street vendors and quick-fix lunch grabs has boomed in recent years and thanks to the cosmopolitan way of life on our islands, it’s so easy to find tasty treats from around the world.
If you’re spending a few days in Malta and Gozo you’ll notice a variety of cuisines that have piqued in popularity including Japanese, Mexican, Brazilian, Hungarian, Philippine, Hawaiian and many others that have made it to the international hall of fame alongside the longstanding British, Italian and American favourites on the islands.
But if you want to use up all that belly-space for traditional Maltese eats, you’ve got to try the local street food to get a real taste of the island. And the best part is they’re ultra tasty and pretty darn cheap too!
Maltese and Carbs: the Local Street Food you Have to Try in Malta
Carbs and Malta are somewhat synonymous. The island’s obsession with pizza and pasta is clearly due to our neighbouring Italians whose food influence has shaped Malta’s kitchen greatly, but our obsession with bread, baked and fried doughs is all on us – we’re suckers for a carby treat and once you taste these 6 nation-wide favourites you’ll totally understand why.
Ftira in Bugibba
Grab a Ftira biz-Zejt from a local bar or snack shop in Bugibba as you journey towards the Northern parts of the island. You can sit down and eat your ftira with a side of crisps but the best way to enjoy this beast is on the water’s edge with a blissful view before you.
Look for a ftira that is soft to the touch and wrapped in cling film – there will be many options available, some of the best include the tuna variety or the ham and cheese ftira.
This will set you back anywhere from €2.50 – €4.00, depending on the size and filling choice.
Doughnut in Mellieha
Once you’ve devoured your ftira and made your way up to Mellieha beach, you might think you need to wait till your food’s been digested – but you’re on holiday, living large is what it’s all about – so might as well get a jam doughnut from the street vendor up the road.
You’ll hear him shout out Doughnuts friski – which means fresh doughnuts – and boy are they fresh! Perfectly fried, covered in granulated sugar and filled with jam in the centre. Good thing Mellieha Bay is pretty much knee-height halfway up the shore!
A doughnut will cost you about €1.50 – €2.00 depending on the vendor.
Spinach & Tuna Pie in Victoria, Gozo
So you’ve had your morning swim, it’s early afternoon and you want an adventure. Catch the bus toward Cirkewwa or get in your rental car and drive right onto the Gozo Channel as it ferries you along to the greener sister island.
Gozo is full of hidden treasures including Ta’ Pinu Cathedral, Ramla l-Hamra Bay and Spinach and Tuna Pies. Look out for the village pjazza and more specifically the crowd of old men sitting around a table playing cards and drinking tea (read: beer) – these are the spots you should head to for a Spinach and Tuna Pie and hey, you’re on holiday, get yourself a Cisk while you’re at it too!
Total damage here including the Cisk around €5 to €7 – give or take.
There are some things you just have to do when you’re visiting Malta and one of those things includes understanding and accepting that you’re about to eat even more carbs! So why not combine that with some must-see cities and villages to get the historic aspect of the culture too.
Sfineg in Qormi
Qormi is not the hottest tourist spot on the island, but it is where you will find the best bread with so many of the island’s bakers hailing from, residing in and setting up shop within the proud village of Qormi.
But apart from the bread you will notice a colourful van in the centre with an orange font reading BIGILLA on the back of it. If you see this van stop whatever you’re doing and chase it down, you’ll be delighted to learn that this van not only serves a warm, freshly made bowl of bigilla (bean dip) but also the very-hard-to-find, sfineg. Fried dough stuffed with anchovies and delicious in every sense of the word.
Sfineg usually cost somewhere between €1 to €2 each and the bigilla comes in 3 generous sizes that vary in price.
Pastizzi in Mdina
This is a combo kind of meal that you’re going to have to celebrate in all its glory. Pastizzi will never be enjoyed to their full potential if they are not accompanied by a te fit-tazza. Let’s translate. Pastizzi are made with thin layers of pastry stacked ontop of each other with a layer of lard in between each one. They are then filled with their specific fillings, ricotta cheese (rikotta), sauteed peas (pizelli), spinach and anchovy (incova) or chicken (tigieg) and folded up according to their respective fillings.
They’re then baked and served up piping hot and packed with flavour. That greasy vibe is only counteracted with a hot cup of tea, Malta-style. Loose tea leaves are steeped in boiling water and served in a clear glass that is then topped with evaporated or fresh milk and the choice of sugar if desired. Visit Is-Serkin for the best pastizzi in Malta, order 1 pizelli, 1 rikotta u te. Enjoy these in the snack bar, get another for that Instagram shot and make your way into Mdina.
This will set you back a frightening €3 for the lot. Great, right?
Qassata in Birgu
Birgu is a great place to visit during your stay in Malta. The rich history is moving and the views are beyond incredible. And the perfect snack to accompany you? An Qassata of course with a bottle fo Kinnie to swish it all away!
Choose between Rikotta, Pizelli or Incova Qassata and wander through the wondrous city of Birgu, the prettiest of the Three Cities and perhaps a great location to stop if that pea pie didn’t quite hit the spot!
Your Qassata and Kinnie combo will cost approximately €4 – €5.
Malta’s Street Food to the Rescue
There’s no possible way you can go hungry on the islands of Malta and Gozo. We’ve got enough going on to suit any palette and surprise even the least adventurous of eaters. With great spots scattered all over the islands and a big food culture to give you a true taste of Maltese life, you’ll never adventure on an empty stomach on this sunny land.
Make sure you always remember to save enough space for your traditional lunches and dinners in some of Malta’s finest places, from Michelin rated restaurants to the traditional eateries that will take you on a nostalgic trip to Malta’s past life. For recommendations, check out our guide here: best restaurants in Malta.