9 Traditional Greek Foods You Must Eat in Greece

One of our main goals while visiting a new country or destination is to try out their local cuisines and to get a taste and flavour of the place. Greece is one such country which has a rich variety of tasty and unique delicacies that everyone should try during their Greece vacation. A summer in Greece is not complete without tasting the local cuisine.

You can visit some of the many taverns on the island or buy fresh fish from local fishermen and cook it at home. Overall, Greece generally is famous for its amazing food and so is Crete. In Crete try some of the tasty Cretan Cheeses, Kalitsounia (a proper cheesy delight) and Dakos, (made from chunks of rusk, ripe tomatoes, sheep's cheese and lashings of Greek olive oil), among many others.

Greek food is a contemporary explosion of flavoursGreek food is a contemporary explosion of flavours

Here are the top must-try delicacies in Greece:

1. Moussaka

The Moussaka is an eggplant based dish which is usually served as the main course in Greece. It can often be found in the lunch and dinner menus. The dish is made with a tomato base, a ground meat casserole and the eggplant. Post this it is served with a creamy layer of Bechamel sauce on the top. Moussaka is one of those dishes which has innumerable varieties and variations with which it can be done.

Ideally every greek household has its version of the Moussaka which they would serve for their family and guests. The best place to try these dishes is via a traditional greek restaurant.

2. Gyros

Gyros is one of the most popular dishes in Greece. It is predominantly considered as a street food and can be found frequently in small cafes and shacks across Greece. The Gyros is a handheld Pita bread dish which is usually served with different types of meat. The meats that are usually served in Greece are lamb, chicken, beef or pork.

In some places across Greece and even in other countries, you can also find a vegetarian option of the Gyros being served. The Gyros is also very similar to dishes from the middle east or turkey and there is a great chance that you might have tasted the dish even before your arrival to Greece. The Gyros is also very popular in Greece as it is fast food that can be relished without having to spend too much time at a restaurant.

There are many stores in Greece that sell gyros. There are usually pork and chicken gyros. It is the best calorie option for money, since with less than 3 euros you get a meal that, although not as healthy, can keep you going for many hours as you eat your way through Thessaloniki or major Greek cities.

3. Greek Salad

We all know that you have ordered the ever so famous greek salad from your neighbourhood, but in all honesty, it probably was not prepared as an authentic greek restaurant would. The Horiatiki or the traditional Greek salad is made with the ingredients such as the Tomato, Cucumber, Green Pepper, Red Onion, Kalamata Olives and is usually served with a large brick of Feta cheese on top of the salad.

The Greek salad is then served with a drizzle of olive oil on top of it. The Greek salad is known to be one of the lightest and tastiest salads in the world. The salad is so popular that almost everyone serving international cuisine has its version of it.

4. Saganaki

Saganaki is a cheese-based dish that is had before every meal as a starter. If you are someone who loves cheese, you are going to fall in love with this dish. Saganaki is a fried cheese dish. The name of the dish - Saganaki is derived from the name of the frying pan that is used to fry the cheese.

It can be made with any kind of cheese and not just the greek cheese. It can be made with cheeses like the graviera, kasseri and halloumi as well. The dish is eaten as an appetizer, or as an evening munch or as a tasty snack for a drink. This simple yet versatile dish is a must-try in Greece.

5. Greek Bouyourdi

The Greek Bouyourdi is one of the most popular appetizers in Greek cuisine. This dish can majorly be found in parties and gatherings and makes for a perfect communal food on the plate. The dish is made with a base of tomatoes, feta and chillies like jalapenos. The dish is usually had with bread but is great to be had all by itself.

Once the ingredients are added it is baked in an oven to make it all toasty and smokey. This elevated the taste to a whole new level. While the main base of the dish is tomatoes, you can see a lot of people customize the dish with bell peppers, onions and lots of Feta.

6. Tzatziki

Tzatziki is the Greek variation of a dish found all over the Ottoman Empire, Iran, the Caucasus and Northern India. The Greek dip, like its Balkan, Turkish, Iranian and Iraqi brethren is yogurt, garlic and cucumber based. The Levantine variety called tarator is made from tahini, walnuts, garlic and vinegar.

Greek style tzatziki is a dip made from strained yogurt, shredded and strained cucumber, garlic crushed in salt, olive oil, lemon juice and dill. It is typically served as a side dish or meze to accompany alcoholic drinks. Do not forget to try the Fatourada, a cinnamon liqueur typical of the island.

7. Strapatsada

The cuisine of Corfu is very famous for the numerous and tasty dishes it offers, excellent combination of Greek cuisine and Venetian cuisine. Sample of it are Strapatsada scrambled with tomato, butter and a little brandy. It is served hot. Sofrito is a venetian dish of beef with a sauce of garlic, salt, pepper, white wine and vinegar.

8. Pastitsada

Pastitsada is the most famous dish on the island. It comes from the Venetian Spezzatino. Kumquat is the fruit of a Japanese tree similar to lemon and is very popular in Corfu.

9. Soutzoukakia me Hilopitakia

One of the other famous main course dishes in Greece are the Soutzoukakia me Hilopitakia. The dish has a base of egg pasta which is then served with meatballs and tomato sauce. It is sort of like the Greek version of spaghetti and meatballs. The pasta that is used for this dish is not always the same.

This is yet another dish where there are multiple variations of the same dish. It is a very popular dish that is served for either lunch or dinner and is also loved by the kids.

Before leaving, make sure you have tried the ladopaksimadia, a kind of toast, and to buy seeds of siempreviva, a yellow flower that only grows on the island and stays fresh for a long time after cutting it.

These are just some of the unique and tasty dishes that one can get to experience in the country of Greece.

Kalyan Panja