Updated 07 June 2022
Arab News

Internet drools as McDonald’s adds halloumi fries to its menu

Internet drools as McDonald’s adds halloumi fries to its menu

DUBAI: The internet collectively drooled on Monday as McDonald’s announced it will be serving halloumi fries in the UK this summer in an apparent bid to diversify its menu and attract more customers in the highly competitive fast food market.

The global fast food giant this week revealed its new Taste of Italy menu, inspired by Mediterranean cuisine, particularly the flavors of Spain and Italy — but Arab fans may recognize halloumi as a staple of Levantine cuisine. Although the semi-hard cheese itself is traditional Cypriot fare, it is so common in Turkey and Lebanon, among other regional cuisines, it is now seen as a Middle Eastern staple by many.

As a result of their shared history, there are a lot of similarities between Mediterranean and Levantine cultures. One way in which the regions share resemblance to one another is through their cuisines. Read on for six Levantine, Greek and Cypriot dishes that are very similar.

  • Halloumi

    Hailing from Cyprus, the dish consists of a semi-soft unripened cheese made from a mixture of goat’s and sheep’s milk, and sometimes also cow’s milk.


  • Moussaka

    Popular in Greece and Cyprus, the dish, which is also popular in the Levant, is made with layers of eggplants and, in some cases, thinly sliced potatoes.


  • Koupepia/ dolma

    Also known as the Cypriot version of dolma, the stuffed vine leaves dish originated in the Middle East and was brought to Cyprus by Greek immigrants hundreds of years ago.


  • Loukoumades/ loqaimat

    This sweet, fried dough dessert is known as loqaimat in the Middle East. The honey dumplings are sometimes garnished with sesame or black seeds.


  • Koupes/ kibbeh

    Known as kibbeh in the Arab world, koupes is a street food found in Cyprus that is stuffed with ground meat, lots of onion, parsley and spices. 


  • Baklava

    The sticky, nut-filled pastry is one of the most popular desserts in the Arab world, Greek, Cyprus and Turkey.