Greek cuisine is famous all over the world and there is a reason for that. Scientists support that the Mediterranean diet is one of the most healthy. Especially the Greek diet and the diet from Creta – a Greek island – are ranked in No 1 as the most healthy, beating Japanese which is also competitive due to its richness in fish. Their religion has helped a great deal in that direction. The Greeks are Christian Orthodox and according to their religion, they are obliged to stay away from meat, dairy, and anything that comes from animals except honey for many days throughout the year. In fact, those who follow the church’s demands regarding diet are 49% vegan. Right! For almost half a year Greeks follow a vegan diet without realizing the great effects this has on their health since it allows them to detox and clean their gut. The good thing is that apart from healthy it is super delicious. So what should you taste when you visit its beautiful islands? Most of the stuff below, you will see in the menus of most Greek restaurants when you visit the place.
Let’s see what each dish is all about.
Tzatziki is an appetizer and it is usually served with roasted meat to make it less ”heavy.” It is practically greek yogurt with olive oil, cucumber, and garlic. Locals are crazy about it and tourists love it. If you are not familiar with garlic you can ask the chef to prepare a more ”light” edition for you.
Chiriatiki is the traditional Greek salad which means ”villager’s salad.” It is perfect for the warm Greek summers and goes well with most Greek food. The basis is tomatoes and together with that locals put cucumber, green pepper, onion, olives, and feta cheese. On the top origanum adds extra flavor to the dish which also includes olive oil and vinegar.
- Pita gyros and souvlaki
This is the most common street food everyone eats. Souvlaki is basically small pieces of pork or chicken roasted on the barbeque on a stick. Pita gyros on the other hand is a complete meal although, in many cases, you may need two to get full. In this case, a pita-bread is wrapped around chopped pork or chicken, the so-called gyros with tomatoes, onion, tzatziki, and fried potatoes. Instead of gyros, you can put souvlaki inside your pita bread. The same dish is served in Turkey without the fried potatoes and the pork since Muslims avoid the consumption of this meat. Both versions are delicious. Pita-gyros reminds the Mexican tacos, with the only difference that it is not that spicy.
Gemista is the Greek word to describe the word ”stuffed.” Tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, onions, potatoes, and courgettes are being stuffed with rice and herbs. In the restaurants you will only find stuffed tomatoes and peppers, however, the original dish includes all kinds of delicacies and vegetables. The idea is that the chef will take the inner part of vegetables and use a part of this part to create a delicious sauce that he then mixes with the rice and the herbs and puts it back to stuff the vegetables. The food is prepared in the oven and is accompanied by potatoes.
- Moussaka and Pastichio
Mouzaka is a dish that reminds us of the English Shepard’s pie. On the bottom, you have a layer of potatoes or eggplants. Over these, there is mashed meat and on the top bechamel. A similar dish you may find in the restaurants is pastichio. Pastichio is similar to moussaka with the difference that instead of eggplants and potatoes you have pasta. They are both cooked in the oven and even though the ingredients are very similar the result is quite different.
- Greek yogurt with honey and nuts
Greeks eat a lot of yogurts which is a perfect probiotic. However, yogurt is a bit sour, so they prefer to combine it with other stuff like fruits and nuts. The combination will be either yogurt with honey and nuts or yogurt with chopped fruits. The second option is usually consumed as breakfast while the first one plays the role of the desert.
Baklava is a delicious pie with nuts and sugar-syrup. The particular dessert is served in many countries of the East part of the Mediterranean Sea like Egypt, Cyprus, and Turkey. The countries in this area share similar nutritious habits. Some recipes that have proven a big success managed to survive in the local cuisine for centuries and are here to serve your taste.
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