Although we’re a tiny little island, it’s fair to say that we’ve got pretty huge appetites! The Maltese have come up with many delicious and traditional recipes over the years, featuring different ingredients and meat or fish which have become typically associated with our nation. One of these is most definitely rabbit. Our team at Charles Grech Bistro have looked into why this national Maltese dish is so well loved by locals and foreign visitors alike.
How Did Rabbit Become the National Maltese dish?
The history of what is now known as stuffat tal-fenek (or a fenkata) is a bit muddled; there are a fair few explanations or theories as to how rabbit became so popular. Perhaps the most believable account is that the Maltese began cooking it as a protest against hunting restrictions imposed by the Knights of St. John – only a privileged few were exempt from these regulations. After this law was lifted during the late 18th century, rabbits became domesticated and the meal soared in popularity.
Rabbit Foodie Facts
Rabbit meat is a good alternative to pork or beef if you’re looking for something that’s different in both flavour and texture. Many say the taste is quite similar to that of chicken, yet there is a more piquant and sharper tang when compared to the latter. High in protein and relatively low in saturated fat, rabbit makes for quite a nutritious meal. It’s also a great source of Vitamin B12 and B3, both key nutrients in boosting metabolism and converting carbs into energy. Typically, rabbit in Malta is cooked in garlic and red wine. It’s seasoned with pepper, thyme and usually a few bay leaves as an added touch.
Have you ever tried our popular national Maltese dish here at Charles Grech Bistro? If not, don’t delay and make your way over to our restaurant in Sliema right now. We have two ravishing rabbit starters on our menu: Rabbit Bellies Maltese Style, and Pan-Fried Rabbit Liver. To complete the experience, pair it with a full-bodied glass of red – simply irresistible!