When in Greece, do as the Greeks do, as the old saying goes. All around the Mediterranean there is good food to be had. Amongst the titans of the culinary arts like France and Italy, Greek food isn’t as commonly lauded. But it should be.
With a delicious variety of national dishes, sweet and savory, to choose from you’ll never go hungry. So, with all of that said, here are 10 Greek foods that are very much worth trying when you’re in the land of the Hellenes. Kali oreksi!
Fish Straight from The Sea
This is not a particular meal (there are many varieties that can be cooked in multiple ways), but seafood really doesn’t get much better than this, particularly fish. With vast coastal areas, fishing is a big trade in Greece and the result is a guarantee of excellence whenever you have some fresh fish.
A dip made from fish roe that is as pretty to look at, pink in color, as it is tasty to eat. You can eat it with any sort of bread and is great when combined with a little bit of olive oil or some squeezed lemon. One of many great Greek dips.
A simple classic, that is better here than anywhere else in the world. Combine it with a little bit of olive oil for the ultimate pre-dinner snack that can’t be rivaled anywhere. “Olives, and the oil they produce, are lauded all over the world. Make sure you try them in their home country!”, advises Marcus Hanes, travel blogger at WriteMyx and Next Coursework.
One of the more niche, but still widely admired, Greek dishes, Dolmades are made by taking grape leaves, blanching them, and filling them with some sort of filling, sometimes rice and herbs. They are then boiled and eaten. You can get meat filled ones if you want, and they have a remarkably distinct taste.
One of the tastiest deserts in the world, Baklava is a pastry, a honey delight that will brighten even the gloomiest of days. Probably the most popular Greek desert, Baklava is layered thin pastry with chopped nuts and sugary butter. They are baked and then coated in a sweet honey-like syrup. They can be eaten after a meal or just as a snack.
It’s Greek coffee that comes out of a cute little copper pot with a long handle. What’s not to love? It comes in Vari Glyko (strong and sweet), Metrios (medium sweet) and Sketos (meaning sugarless).
Delicious food at any time, easy and convenient. Gyros have been adopted worldwide as an eternal street food. Meat is roasted on a vertical spit and then sliced off, placed in a warm pita with tzatziki, onions, lettuce and tomatoes. A delicious food after a night out!
A legendary dish that can sometimes seem a bit like a Greek lasagna. It’s traditionally made from minced beef cooked in tomato sauce and layered between eggplants and mixed with bechamel sauce. “Moussaka has a life beyond Greece, but it will always be best when made by the Greeks themselves”, says Iason Wilkes, lifestyle blogger at Brit Student and Australia 2 Write.
Would it be an exaggeration to say you haven’t lived until you’ve had calamari? I don’t think so. Fried squid rings, prepared with garlic, lemon, and olive oil that will leave you desperate for more. Have them by the sea for the ultimate Greek experience.
Saganaki is simply delicious and always prepared best in Greece. Its availability elsewhere is also pretty limited, meaning the price also leaps, so take advantage of being in the motherland. It’s fried cheese that doesn’t lose its shape when heated but turns into a golden, crispy delight. If you like cheese, you will certainly like saganaki, perfectly salty and crunchy.
Greece is known for a few dishes but it’s not ever the first name on the list of destinations for foodies. This ought not be the case when so many of its dishes are so absurdly tasty. Make sure that you give everything a try when you go and don’t leave yourself full of regrets at having missed out.
Katrina Hatchett, a lifestyle blogger at Academic Brits and writer for Origin Writings, is involved in many research projects. She loves to research food and drink to get a better understanding of people all over the world. In her free time she also writes for the PhD Kingdom blog.