Greece is known for many things, including its beautiful beaches, its ties to classic mythology, and its ancient philosophers. One thing that is particularly distinctive about Greece is the food. If you’re planning a trip to visit Greece, it’s hard not to look forward to the various flavors that find their home in classic Greek cuisine. As a tourist, what are some of the main items you should try to get a taste of as you explore Athens and Theva? Have a quick look at some of the most popular Greek dishes.
This baked, eggplant-based dish usually incorporates tomatoes, minced lamb, and a white sauce. The version of Greek moussaka that you know today was created in the 1920s and included onions, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper in addition to the aforementioned core ingredients. Other variations often include zucchini, mushrooms, potato, and breadcrumbs.
Chances are, you don’t need to go on a Mediterranean cruise in order to try this classic Greek dish, but it is certainly best enjoyed authentically. Souvlaki is a type of Greek fast food made with meat (and occasionally vegetables) that have been grilled on a skewer. This dish is usually eaten straight off of the skewer, although not always. One variation, called “souvlaki-pita,” is best known in other parts of the world as a “Gyro.”
This dish is a Greek twist on what is typically thought of as a classic Italian dish: Meatballs. The meatballs in soutzoukakia Smyrneika are actually oblong, rather than completely round. Seasoned with cumin, garlic, and a tomato sauce, it is generally served with pilaf or mashed potatoes. This dish is actually not native to Greece, but rather it was brought there by refugees from Asia Minor during the Greek Genocide.
In this traditional Greek dish, an eggplant is first baked until soft before being filled with a tomato-based meat sauce, a white sauce, and cheese, and then put back into the oven until golden brown. The name “papoutsakia” means “little shoes” because the eggplants can sometimes look like tiny footwear.
This dip is commonly paired with pita and other appetizers. It combines strained yogurt, cucumber, garlic, fresh dill, and olive oil to make a tasty topping for bread and several dishes. While it is easy to make at home, there’s nothing like tzatziki that is made in its country of origin.
This dish is not recognized as immediately around the world as the others in this list are, but perhaps that is one reason to make it part of your Greek cuisine bucket list. Fasolada is a hearty soup made of white beans, celery, onions, carrots, and crushed tomato. Typically, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves are used for flavoring.
This incredibly simple appetizer requires only two ingredients: flour and cheese. Thinly cut slices of cheese are coated in flour and fried at high temperatures until a golden crust forms around the edge. Often, restaurants will prepare saganaki by actually setting the cheese on fire. This can make for a spectacular show before you sit down to your meal.
Another dish that features cheese, tiropita is also called “greek cheese pie.” This breakfast food is relatively simple, being made with crumbles of feta and two other yellow cheeses that have been wrapped up in phyllo pastry. These are then brushed with olive oil or butter and baked until they are crispy and golden. Some versions also incorporate chicken into the mix, if you are looking for a little protein.
There are so many flavorful foods that Greece has to offer, with a unique blend of spices, herbs, and oils. Greek cuisine is one of the most popular types around the world and has a distinctive flavor palette. The best way to enjoy any food is authentically, and there is no better place to find authentic Greek food than the Hellenic Republic itself.