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Lahmacun. Once eaten, never forgotten. The subject of countless questions from tourists: “Those flat pieces of dough, covered in meat…like small pizzas only so much nicer…we had them in Cyprus (or Syria, or Lebanon, or Egypt, or Dubai, or Kuwait, or…) I’ve never forgotten them. What were they called?

Sir, madam, they were called Lahmacun. And you don’t need to go back to Cyprus to eat them again (though we’d love to see you if you’re thinking about where your next holiday should be), because you can get them here, from us.

The name comes from the Arabic, where it is known as بعجين‎‎, lam bi-ʿajīn, (meat with dough). It’s often called “Armenian Pizza” because of its popularity in that country, though it has been around for thousands of years and the “pizza” tag is comparatively recent. What you get is a thin oval flat bread (okay, it can sometimes be round, but oval is more common) with a topping of minced meat. The meat may be either lamb or beef – which is chosen depends to a great extent on tradition and the tradition will be rooted in the history of the place it comes from.

Lamb is immensely popular in dry lands where the meagre scrubland is more suited to raising sheep than beef cattle. If you have ever wondered about the popularity of lamb in the Middle east, than that is the answer – though of course the Christian symbolism of the Lamb of God has been responsible for the rise in the popularity of lamb in the Orthodox Christian cultures of the east.

Generally speaking, beef cattle need more water and better grassland – and there’s a “though” once again, because, surprising as it may seem, the largely desert country of Saudi Arabia has stretches of rich grassland in the west where beef is raised and arid Oman has far more irrigated and fertile land than may be imagined by those who have not been there.

The meat is minced and mixed with onions, tomatoes, parsley and other herbs (salt and pepper, of course; cinnamon, certainly, in Cyprus; there can also be paprika, cumin, cayenne pepper and others) before being baked.

You can eat it flat as it is (which, we’ll be frank, is how we prefer it) or wrap it around vegetables.

Of course, if you order our pita breads you can make something very like Lahmacun at home, and our page on pita breads tells you how to use them to make a sort of pizza that will be far better than anything the pizzeria is likely to deliver. But Lahmacun, “Armenian pizza” or not, is not quite a pizza and the crust is thinner than a pita, so we do recommend giving it a try. As the tourist conversation already quoted will tell you, they’re distinctly moreish.

Company Info

Contact Person: Nikos Andrea
Mailing Address: Koniele Trading LTD,
Evagorou 6, Dromolaxia, Cyprus 7020
Call/Text: 00 357 97 884776
Company Reg. No: HE343968