Take a bite of Malta’s heritage with this tasty local delight (but be warned… it’s calorific!)
An m- what now?
An ‘mqaret’, or sometimes ‘imqaret’, is a traditional Maltese sweet of Arabic origin. A deep-fried pastry slice filled with a spiced-date concoction and served piping hot, the name refers to the Maltese word for ‘diamond’ (maqrut), although these days they are more likely found in a rectangular shape.
Speaking of Maltese, the word itself is pronounced ‘Im-ar-et’, with the accent on the ‘ar’, to signify the silent ‘q’ sound. Pronounce it ‘im-kar-et” and a local will probably have no idea what you are asking them for – and you wouldn’t want that!
Where to try them
The tasty mqaret is second only to pastizzi, in the top 10 local foods that are essential to try during a visit to Malta. That means that they are available to sample from a number of cafés and restaurants on the island, as well as from countless street vendors that set up along the sides of roads all year round and at village festas and events over the summer months.
The original and best place to go for the ultimate mqaret experience has to be ‘il-Gabbana ta’ Bieb il-Belt‘ – a street stall stationed in front of the bridge to Malta’s capital, Valletta. This stall was a landmark destination for decades, although recently it has temporarily been moved to allow for renovation works in the area. In the meantime, we recommend keeping your eyes peeled for street vendors at large events, including feasts, parties, festivals and the summertime Isle of MTV.
Why We Love Mqaret, and you should too
There’s a lot to love about these sweet little cakes. They can be eaten as a hot snack on the go, served as a dessert with a scoop of vanilla ice cream at restaurants, or partnered perfectly with cup of tea or coffee for elevenses.
But most of all, you know you’re in Malta when you take a bite of one of these, wherever you are on the island and whatever you’re doing at the time: they are the taste of Malta. There aren’t many other countries that can make claims like that about a pastry!