Our Everyday Greek: Survival Guide for Greece Travelers: Greek Burger

FILE - A tray of hamburgers. Photo by Parytino, via Wikimedia Commons

Burger lovers can enjoy in Greece home made burgers. They are called μπιφτέκια, have the shape of a burger and they are sometimes stuffed with cheese and vegetables, like tomato and pepper pieces. Small fried meatballs served with French fries are called κεφτεδάκια and are children’s favorite dish. Three more dishes based on minced meat are typical in Greek restaurants. Pastitsio has a layer of pasta covered with minced meat in tomato sauce, topped with béchamel sauce and cooked in the oven. The famous moussaka has an eggplants layer covered with minced meat in tomato sauce, topped with béchamel sauce and cooked in the oven.Μακαρόνιαμεκιμά is the Greek version of spaghetti bolognaise.

IMPORTANT VOCABULARY
Greek word Pronunciation Meaning
Τομπιφτέκι TO biFTEki burger
Μπιφτέκιγεμιστό biFTEkiyemiSTO stuffed burger
Με ME with
Μετυρί ME tiREE with cheese
Τακεφτεδάκια TA kefteDAkia meatballs
Τοπαστίτσιο TO paSTEEtsio pastitsio
Ομουσακάς O moosaKAs moussaka
Οκιμάς O kiMAS ground beef
Μεκιμά ME kiMA ground beef
Ταμακαρόνια TA makaROnia spaghetti
Και KE and
Με πατάτες ME paTAtes with potatoes
Μερύζι ME REEzi with rice
Ένα Ena one
Ημερίδα EE meREEda the portion
Μίαμερίδα MEEa meREEda one portion
Δύομερίδες DEEomeREEdes two portions

ORDERING YOUR MINCED MEAT DISH
This is how you order the dish you prefer.
Θέλω ένα μπιφτέκι με πατάτες και ρύζι.
THElo Ena biFTEki me paTAtes KE REEzi.
I want (I would like) a burger with French fries and rice.

Θέλω ένα μπιφτέκι γεμιστό με τυρί.
THElo Ena biFTEkiyemiSTO ME tiREE.
I want (I would like) a burger stuffed with cheese.

Θέλωκεφτεδάκια.
THElo kefteDAkia.
I want (I would like) some meatballs.

Θέλωμίαμερίδακεφτεδάκια.
THElo MEEa meREEda kefteDAkia.
I want (I would like) a portion of meatballs.

Θέλωδύομερίδεςκεφτεδάκια.
THeloDEEomeREEdeskefteDAkia.
I want (I would like) two portions of meatballs.

Θέλωέναπαστίτσιο.
THElo Ena paSTEEtsio.
I want (I would like) one pastitsio.

Θέλωέναμουσακά.
THElo Ena moosaKA.
I want (I would like) a moussaka.

Θέλωμακαρόνιαμεκιμά.
THElo makaROnia ME kiMA.
I want (I would like) spaghetti bolognaise.

Θέλω μία μερίδα μακαρόνια με κιμά.
THElo MEEa meREEda makaROnia ME kiMA.
I want (I would like) a portion of spaghetti bolognaise.

GREK YOU ALREADY KNOW
Many of our minced meat dishes are of Italian or Turkish origin.
Κεφτές, κεφτεδάκι. When we add the ending -ακι in a noun, it means something small. Turkish kofte has become in Greek κεφτές and κεφτεδάκι.
Μακαρόνια from the word macaroni.
Παστίτσιο from the word pasta.
Πατάτες, like potatoes.
Ρύζι, like rice.

BASIC GRAMMAR
Note that you can either say μίαμερίδα, one portion, or ένα, one (dish).
One: for the feminine grammatical gender nouns we use μία and for neuter and masculine grammatical gender nouns we use ένα:Μίαμερίδα, but έναπαστίτσιο, έναμουσακά, έναμπιφτέκι.
Masculine grammatical gender nouns end in -ς and take the article ο (ομουσακ-άς, οκιμ-άς, οκεφτ-ές), feminine grammatical gender nouns end in -α, -η, and take the article η(ημερίδ-α) and neuter grammatical gender nouns end in -ο, -ι, in the singular number, nominativeand take the article το(τομπιφτέκ-ι, τοπαστίτσι-ο, τορύζ-ι). The plural of the neuter grammatical gender nouns ends in -α: τοκεφτεδάκι / τα κεφτεδάκι-α, τομακαρόνι / τα μακαρόνι-α.

PRONUNCIATION KEY
i (ill), ee (beer), e (ever), o (organ), oo (boot), y (yes), h (helium), th (theory), d (the). The capitalized syllables are accented.