Greece is definitely a foodie’s paradise. Whether you are craving fresh vegetables, delicious meats or fresh fish, in Greece you can have it all and you can have it now for cheap. In Greece, food is just as it should be. No pretentious food styling and no weird ingredients in places they do not belong.
Your meal is simple and delicious with fresh olive oil and tasty vegetables. Meals are shared and sometimes they look messy, but they taste yummy and they make your tummy happy. Here is a list of all those things you should definitely try when visiting Greece and don’t forget to share your food and enjoy your company.
1. Greek salad
No one can deny it. The Greek salad is the queen of it all, whether you are having fish, meat or ladera, a Greek salad belongs at every table and on every menu. The ingredients are simple: tomatoes, cucumber, a little bit of green pepper, some red onions and of course feta cheese, with olive oil and oregano of top. If you are vegan, you can still enjoy this great place, just ask for an aggourontomata instead and the feta will be gone.
This meat on a stick has become the center of many name battles between the north and the south of Greece. Northerners call it souvlaki and southerners call it kalamaki. It comes in two options, chicken or pork, and it is served with some grilled bread. Simplicity at its best.
As a Greek myself, I scream out loud that gyros are the best and healthiest fast food option in the world. It is cheap, it is fast and inside a sandwich, you get all the taste and all the nutrients you need. The pork or chicken meat has been turning around all day, only to end up on your pita, paired with onion, tomatoes, tzatziki and some fried potatoes. Now, this is what I call a full meal, with vegetables and everything!
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4. Koulouri thessalonikis
This thin bread circle sprinkled with sesame is the ultimate breakfast and midday snack for the majority of the Greek people. You can find it everywhere, in bakeries or in street vendors or inside your salad in fancy restaurants. This is the ultimate street food snack to pair with a takeaway iced coffee on the way to the museum.
Loukoumades is the sort of easy and cheap dessert your grandma would make on a relaxed summer afternoon. They are deep-fried golden dough balls, served with honey and cinnamon. Late trends also pair them with chocolate. You can find them in cafes and dessert shops, all around Greece.
Gemista is what is known as a fridge food in Greece. This means that it is the kind of food that tastes as good or even better when left in the fridge for a day. Gemista is basically tomatoes and peppers stuffed with rice mixed in vegetables or minced meat that is then left in the oven till everything gets nice and yummy. This is the best food to enjoy cold after a long day at the beach with some feta.
7. Kolokythakia tiganita or fried zucchini
This is probably one of my favorite mezedes to accompany any lunch or dinner with. The zucchini slices are lightly breaded and then fried. This is probably my favorite substitute to fries. Sweet and crunchy, paired with tzatziki, this side becomes the perfect accompaniment to any other dish.
8. Spanakopita or any other pita
Spanakopita (spinach pie), tyropita (cheesepie), prasopita (leek pie), and kreatopita (minced meat pie) are the kind of dish that can be used in any meal of the day. You can have it for breakfast, lunch or dinner, cold with yogurt or fresh out of the oven or carry it around during the day as a snack. Basically, thin crunchy layers of outer dough cover a tasty mixture in the middle that can range from leek and cheese to minced meat and aubergines. The best pitas are the homemade ones, but you can definitely try all different kinds of pitas in restaurants and bakeries all around Greece.
This is another kind of dish that is definitely a full meal by itself. Fried vegetables on the bottom (potato, zucchini, and aubergines), then some minced meat on top, then some bechamel (cream), because we are above all European, and then some cheese on top. Mousaka is heavy and delicious and will keep your belly full for hours after you consume it. Yum, yum!
This is probably my favorite healthy dish in the Greek cuisine. Assorted greens are collected in the countryside, cleaned, boiled and then served with lemon and olive oil. You can have them as a salad on your table or just eat them with some feta and bread for a great healthy dinner. They are fresh and yummy and you can find them in any local tavern. The greens vary according to the season but their lemon zesty taste will have you craving more and more.
Greece: A foodie's paradise
Greeks love to eat together. They love their food and it is the center of every social activity and family gathering. The different sorts of recipes and tastes vary from region to region, but the fact is that in this beautiful sunny country you will never be disappointed with the food.
However you have to try and eat like the locals. Don’t stick to the main dish, but order two or three different dishes and a salad to get a glimpse of everything the kitchen has to offer. Also, there is another tiny local’s secret: If the restaurant has meal photos on the menu and English signs stuck all over the place it is probably a tourist trap. Don’t be scared to go out of your way and try everything there is to try. Your taste buds will thank you later.
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