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Shopping and Eating in Malta

Shopping in Malta

To pour some cold water in the years of the shopping: you do not go to Malta to shop. The Maltese themselves travel to Sicily when they need refills in the wardrobe. With the exception of the typical souvenirs, there is little to raise in Malta that you can't get as cheaply at home. Maybe not so strange, since most of the stuff you buy here is imported goods.

Shopping in Malta

The most common items with which tourists travel home include models of armor-clad knights, Maltese boats, door hammers and other brass products. (And if you could imagine your own armor, this is actually the place where you can find it at a great price!)

Maltese lace also has a long tradition. This is made especially on Gozo, but is sold everywhere. Some souvenir shops sell good quality knitwear at very reasonable prices. For example, try Malta Crafts Center in Valletta.

Locally produced glassware is also available at good prices, often in beautiful shades of blue and green. Maltese have also been making jewels for centuries, and the island is still teeming with goldsmiths and silversmiths. Valletta's streets in particular have many such stores.

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There are no major shopping malls in Malta, and the closest you get to a regular shopping street is Triq-ir Republika in Valletta. To experience true Maltese daily shopping, you should try the Sunday markets in Marsaxlokk and Valletta.

The opening hours of the shops are usually from 10am. 0900 to 1900, but most of them stay closed in the afternoon, from 10 am to 1 pm. 1300 to 1600, and on Sundays. And don't forget that for larger purchases you can get a refund of the VAT at the airport upon departure. Not all stores have this scheme, so feel free to ask first, or look for the Tax Free Shopping sign at the entrance.

Eating in Malta

Malta is by no means a gourmet destination, but the food is generally both good and reasonably priced. Maltese food is naturally dominated by the country's island status, and you will find all kinds of seafood on most menus. Not only fish, but also squid, shrimp, lobster and clams.

Malta is naturally inspired by England and Spain in its food path. The proximity to Italy and Sicily has also made its mark, and pasta, pizza and lasagna are common, albeit in slightly local varieties.

All the different nationalities that at one time or another have had dominion over Malta have also left behind some of their food culture. An example is the soup kusksu bil-ful, which was originally a North African couscous, which has gradually been added to pasta, onions and beans and has become a Maltese specialty instead.

Malta's national dish is fenek, which consists of tender rabbit meat fried in olive oil and often served as a pot of vegetables and red wine. Other Maltese specialties include the lasagna-like timpana, the fish soup aljotta and the fish pie lampuki. The image above shows a selection of the cheese Gbejniet (Gbejna). This cheese has its Gozo traditions and is made from goat or sheep milk. The cheese is often served as an accessory for pasta dishes, soups or topping on the pizza.

Restaurant tips for Malta

A good starting point for choosing a restaurant is the Maltese website Restaurants Malta, where the country's restaurants are constantly rated by the site's users according to the criteria of food, service and atmosphere. At the time of writing, the Phoenix Restaurant at Le Meridien Phenicia in Valletta tops the list.

Another place to test is Caffe Cordina, also in the capital Valletta. For almost 200 years they have had the address 244 Republic Street where they serve the most delicious temptations in the form of cakes, coffee and chocolate.

Malta also produces its own wines, mainly based on French or Italian grapes. Meridiana is considered to be the best of these, but try Marsovin or Delicata. There are other wines on sale, but these are often produced more on a hobby basis, and the quality is very variable. Malta's local beer is called Cesk, and is bright and tastes just fine.

 

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