Anyone that knows me at all will know how much I love to eat and cook. Traveling to me is about two parts: enjoying the culture (& sights) and enjoying the food. My time in Greece was no different. The only thing was I wish I was there longer to eat more. So here are 10 things you must eat while in Greece!
Tzatziki was served with pretty much every meal we had. It tasted so much better than anything I had before. I’m lactose intolerant, but I couldn’t say no to the tzatziki. It was so good and it was so hard to stop eating it. It went well with everything!
2. Greek Salad and Feta Cheese
You hear Greece and what is the first thing you think of? Greek salad of course! This is served with everything here it seems. Instead of crumbly bites of feta mixed in throughout the salad, there were big slabs of it on top for you to break up. I had so much Greek salad, but I couldn’t stop eating it. All the veggies were fresh and the feta was delicious. Best I’ve ever had. I still dream of that delicious feta. Every place did it just a little bit different, but it was all really good.
Before I went to Greece, my brother told me that he had the best gyros in Athens compared to anywhere else that he has traveled. I feel Budapest has really good gyros so I had really high expectations for the gyros in Greece. I tried two places, and to be honest, it was a bit of a let down. I found the meat to be tough and dry and shaved so small. Maybe it’s only problem when its served on a plate, and not in pita, which I did not try.
I love seafood and I especially love calamari. There is just something about the delicate and crunchy batter around the chewy squid. So good! And served with tzatziki. I was really looking forward to this and looking at the photo again just makes me want to drool. Yum!
5. Roast Lamb
The Greeks do lamb so well. Bone in lamb especially is fall off the fork tender and so delicious. The one I ordered came with a chunky tomato sauce and couscous, but the meat itself was really tender. Definitely must eat. Maybe something about where I was enjoying it too made it extra special.
6. Grilled Seafood (like Octopus)
You’re on an island, surrounded by water. Gotta have some seafood right? Most restaurants have a selection of grilled seafood and while octopus isn’t my favourite thing, getting some type of grilled seafood is a must have.
7. Grilled lamb chops
8. Sea Bream (or any other fresh fish)
Freshly caught and cooked well. How could you ask for more? I really liked how they presented it. It came to the table with head and tail attached and our waiter fileted it at the table. Very impressive show. Even more impressive when I didn’t find a single bone in it afterwards.
Most people associated Greek food for soulvaki. This is of the pork variety. Grilled and seasoned with a variety of spices.
The first time I tried these delicious honey balls was at the Greek festival held in Vancouver every year. I remember my surprise and delight when biting into these sweet doughnuts and the bit of honey in the middle of the balls came oozing out. I was really looking forward to getting these in Greece. Finally, on my last day on Crete I located some in a bakery. They obviously had been sitting on the shelf for awhile as they were not as soft and doughy as I remembered, but the delicate sweetness was exactly how I remembered them. Mmmm….
Bonus: What you must drink!
Ouzo – the quintessential alcohol for Greeks. And if you’re on the island of Crete, you’ll for sure be offered raki to taste. Everywhere we went we had raki – in our rooms, at restaurants, and bars. Everywhere! Tasted kind of like palinka. The first place we stayed at on Crete gave us a plastic bottle of raki to take home with us and took us a long time to get through it (in fact, I think some of it still remains in my boyfriend’s fridge). The local beers: Fix, Alfa and Mythos are nothing to write home about. Worth a try, but not really my favourite.
There are so many other amazing dishes I didn’t get to try or I did and just didn’t include in this list.What are some of your favorite Greek foods and drinks? Have I missed anything quintessentially Greek?