One of my favorite things to do when I travel is to eat out of my comfort zone and try local foods. In my opinion, one culture’s authentic cuisine is not only its pride, but its heart and soul, and I love seeking to experience it.
Greece is a place where I did do exactly this, but… let me tell you something: Feta, Greek Yogurt, Gyros, Souvlaki, Lamb… everything you find in an American grocery store or a Greek-American restaurant is just not the same when you come to Greece. Its everything we love about all those things (because in America they really are great!) but in Greece its like to the n’th degree. So, in this post, you will recognize most of what I list as the 5 “must have’s”, but its just because I want your taste buds to explode just like mine did. The ordinary is extraordinary. I apologize for not having the exact restaurant names we went to, but what i’m going to list is things you can basically find anywhere. Yamas!
(1.) Frappé coffee – a Greek foam-covered iced coffee drink made from instant coffee. It was accidentally invented by a Nescafe representative named Dimitris Vakondios in 1957 in the city of Thessaloniki! I always ordered mine half milk and very sweet, but you can really have it in any way. We noticed that Frappe was drank at any and all times of the day. Here we were at a lively square surrounded by outdoor patio restaurants and everyone was just enjoying an evening frappe before a (normal) late dinner. And many even had it again after! By the end of my trip, I was definitely hooked.
(2.) Gyros! Greek gyros are just amazing. We got these in Monastiraki, and they come topped with fresh french fries, greek yogurt, and the most tender lamb. And at 2 euros?! I mean come on. Gyro pictured below (upper right):
(3.) Greek Yogurt- if you’re like me and love the consistency (and health benefits!) of greek yogurt, you’ll think you died and went to heaven. Its just so much fresher, richer, thicker, and yummier than what we get in the USA. A lot of dishes actually came with tzatziki and greek yogurt on the side – so I had it basically with breakfast, lunch, and dinner! Here’s some greek froyo topped with fresh strawberries to make your tastebuds even waterier than they already are:
(4). Lamb/meat/souvlaki – i’m a carnivore, and this is just self explanatory. Its tender, its juicy, its marinated in the most wonderful mediterranean spices. And it goes great with a tall glass of fix (my favorite Greek beer).
(5.) Greek salads/feta cheese – while my friend died over the olives, my favorite part of the greek salad was the feta cheese. Its to die for. My mouth waters every time I think about it. Its so buttery and rich (unlike the drier feta we get in the USA) and usually comes in thicker chunks or even a huge square drizzled in olive oil… this is enough reason to make me want to go back. It absolutely melts in your mouth. (In the back is Moussaka, a flaky layered eggplant, potato, and meat dish – also extremely tasty!)