I’ve never really eaten much Greek food. All I ever knew about it was: it had strange names, gyros were really good, and I liked Greek salad. I’m currently in Greece visiting the Greek islands, and on this trip I was determined to dig into the local food. So far all my meals have involved traditional Greek food in a revolving door of new dishes. My thoughts? Greek food is delicious. There’s a lot of variety, many robust flavors, and tons of cheese and meat. Additionally, I always thought of the Italians as masters of doing stuff with eggplant, but the Greeks do just as delicious of a job. After doing some really “hard” research, here are some of my favorite dishes:
This eggplant, cheese, and meat dish is by far my favorite Greek dish. I love eggplant (it’s one of my favorite foods), and this is the best. (I also like the stuffed eggplant.) The meat and eggplant are cooked under flavorful cheese with just the right amount of tomato sauce. In many ways it reminds of eggplant Parmesan but a lot less saucy.
I always thought Greek salad was an American invention in the same way Chinese food is Americanized with crab rangoons and sesame chicken. Turns out I was wrong. Of course, though, in Greece it’s different. There’s no lettuce, a lot more tomatoes, and a big block of feta cheese on top. It’s not what I get back home; it’s way better. I tend to have it a lot for lunch.
This is the complete package: meat, rice, and salad. You get a full meal with this, and the portions are quite big — no need for an appetizer! Souvlaki is what we Americans call a kebab, skewers of meat and vegetables grilled to perfection. It’s simply delicious. I love grilled food. There’s nothing better than the mix of grilled tomatoes and chicken in your mouth.
There’s not much to say about this dish. It’s a big block of cheese fried to heart-clogging goodness. Make sure you eat it right away before the cheese gets hard.
Stuffed Vine Leaves
Usually made of grape leaves stuffed with rice and meat, these are a great appetizer. Small finger-sized portions make them easy to eat, the meat is very juicy, and the sauce (don’t know what it is) adds a lot of flavor to it. It’s a very traditional dish around Greece and Turkey. They’re everywhere. They’re a great snack food too!
Lamb on the bone, this dish is succulent and savory. The lamb is mouthwatering. It’s said that this dish comes from bandits who used to steal lambs and cook them in sealed pits to avoid being seen. Cooking any meat this way keeps the flavors in and makes the meat mouthwatering. There’s also a lot of garlic and lemon with this dish.
These wraps are a late-night snack staple for me. For only about three euros, I dig into these every night on my way home from a night out. They are deliciously unhealthy… especially when they put French fries in them too! A cheap and quick meal, it’s like they were created for the budget traveler!
Now this is just a small (emphasis on small) selection of Greek food. It’s just what I’ve tried and liked. There’s a lot more out there I have yet to try, though I’m going to make a great effort to! If you can’t make it to Greece to have these dishes, try them at your local Greek place. Your stomach will thank you. After writing this article, I’ve gotten hungry myself, and luckily, it’s dinner time here. I’m off to try more delicious food. Suggestions are welcome.