8 Greek Foods Worth Travelling For

As last week’s post about the best foods to eat in Australia was so well-received, I thought I’d publish another post all about the Greek foods that are worth travelling for. Why Greece? Well, I always travel with food in mind and although I’m not looking to splash out on a long-haul holiday this year, I’ve been considering travelling to Italy because I thought that, while I’m there, I could even catch a ferry to Greece or see if I could find a cheap flight over there and that way, I get to cross two countries off my travel bucket list!

As a keen carnivore, Greek foods really appeal to me because they are often rich in meat and seafood, not to mention cheese and olive oil – another of my favourite things! However, I feel like there’s much more to this mouthwatering Mediterranean cuisine that meets the eye, and so I decided to speak to some of my fellow travel bloggers to find out what foods they enjoy eating when they visit Greece.

Based on these conversations, and some of my own personal recommendations, I’ve put together a list of eight traditional Greek foods worth trying if you ever visit Greece.  I will be expanding on this list after I’ve been to Greece for myself. Enjoy!

8 traditional, authentic Greek foods, including healthy dishes and vegetarian options. From meze and gyros to souvlaki and fava, there's something to suit all tastes. #greece #greekfood #meze #gyros #souvlaki #fava #foodtravel #culinarytravel

1. Moussaka

“One of my favorite Greek foods is Moussaka. It’s a traditional dish made with eggplant, potatoes, minced beef and a delicious milk-based sauce on top, called bechamel. You can find moussaka everywhere in Greece, as it is a very popular dish. Apart from my grandmother’s moussaka, I really enjoyed the one I had at the Meteora Taverna in Kalambaka. This family-run taverna makes many homemade traditional Greek dishes apart from its great moussaka.”

— Chrisoula Manika, Travel Passionate

A traditional Greek moussaka - one of the best foods to try when visiting Greece

2. Olive oil

“Olive oil is typical for Greece and on Crete, they take it seriously. It’s very common for families to have their own olive tree garden the product is a core ingredient in many dishes. But you don’t use olive oil just as an add-on. Nope, on Crete, you can go olive oil tasting and then you simply have some bread – or better, rusk – with olive oil. The rusk itself doesn’t taste like much, but that’s the point. It’s merely the vessel for the olive oil, of which you’ll be surprised how many different tastes there are.”

— Sofie Couwenbergh, Wonderful Wanderings

Tubs of fresh green and Kalamata olives in Chania, Greece

3. Fresh seafood

Greece is known for many different food items but one of my favorites has to be the seafood. The country and islands are surrounded by water so it’s only natural that they would become experts at cooking seafood. We had plenty of great seafood all around the mainland but my vote for the best place to try Greek seafood has to be at Psaraki on Santorini. It’s a traditional Greek restaurant at the southern tip of Santorini and it’s worth the drive. The food is so unbelievably fresh, you have to assume it was caught the same hour you made your order. It’s also a perfectly placed restaurant because it’s not in a busy area of the island and it overlooks a bit of a harbour – it makes for a very excellent dinner!”
– Liliane Fawzy, My Toronto My World
A platter of fresh shrimp and mussels on a bed of rice - a traditional Greek dish

4. Loukoumades

“Did you know that Greece has its own kind of doughnuts? Loukoumades are one of the best and most popular Greek sweets you can try in Greece. Loukoumades, or honey puffs as they are affectionately known, are deep-fried balls of dough drizzled with honey and sprinkled with cinnamon. One plate of these fresh, fried balls of goodness is never enough and you will find yourself ordering another plate while licking the honey from your fingers. Our favourite place to savour these sweet treats is at Lukumades in Athens. This modern shop serves up all kinds of loukoumades, from the traditional honey drizzled kind to their more modernvariations, including chocolate praline filled puffs and Yaya’s favourite, bougatsa ice-cream topped loukoumades.”

— Kate Parnell, Wanderlust Chronicles

Loukoumades, a traditional Greek food

5. Fava

“When I visited Greece for the first time last year, I was blown away by Greek food. Everything was so fresh, and light and delicious! The souvlaki, the meatballs, the grilled fish, olive oil on everything – I was in heaven.
But, what surprised many people was what became my favourite dish – fava. Fava is a staple on nearly every dinner table and it’s a simple dish – a split pea puree covered in olive oil, a generous squeeze of lemon, and sprinkled with capers and onions. That’s it – so simple, but so full of flavor. Spread it over fresh bread and it’s the perfect snack or appetiser. I would compare fava to hummus, but I might actually prefer the taste of fava. A huge statement, I know.  When you’re in Greece, make sure to start your meal with some fava. I promise you’ll love it!”

— Nathan Aguilera, Foodie Flashpacker

Fava, a traditional Greek foods

6) Saganaki

If you are, like me, a turophile (a cheese fancier – LOL!) then you simply must try one of the best cheeses on this planet. I’m talking about Saganaki. Saganaki is a fried cheese dish that is prepared in a frying pan – not deep fried – and served hot, with a slice of lemon on the side. That’s it. Squeeze that lemon all over the cheese, cut off a slice, and go to cheesy heaven.

The unique thing about saganaki is that it’s often made from sheep or goats milk and even though it’s fried, it doesn’t melt. The cheese merely softens and heats through; each mouthful that follows is a salty blast of slightly chewy deliciousness. You can find Saganaki in pretty much every restaurant and taverna in Greece, as it’s a common appetizer.

The Greek word Saganaki actually means frying pan; and the aki stands for the size of the pan, which means small. This means that there a few Saganaki dishes available but if you ask for saganaki cheese, they will know exactly what you are talking about and promptly bring you this unforgettable dish. Enjoy!

— Megsy, Food Fun Travel

Saganaki, a traditional Greek food of sheep or goat's millk cheese served heated, with a wedge of lemon.

7. Souvlaki 

Souvlaki is my own contribution and although I haven’t been to Greece before, I have been lucky enough to taste authentic souvlaki at the popular Cardiff-based Greek restaurant, The Hellenic Eatery. Last year, I even got to watch Shawna Guinn of Hangfire Smokehouse and Lisandros Hajigeorgis of Meat and Greek make Cypriotic pork souvlaki at Cowbridge Food Festival.

To make the perfect souvlaki, marinate chunks of meat (pork, chicken and lamb work well) in lemon juice, olive oil, fresh oregano, salt and garlic for several hours or ideally overnight, then slide the chunks onto skewers and cook the kebabs over a charcoal grill. Eat it straight from the skewer, or served inside homemade pitta bread. It tastes great with some fresh salad, tzatzkiki and a sprinkling of paprika. Souvlaki is so easy to make, and it would be the ideal party dish for your summer barbecues!

Authentic Greek souvlaki

8. Gyros

Gyros is another personal contribution, but if we’re talking about the best traditional Greek foods, it wouldn’t be right to leave these out.

Gyros are similar to souvlaki, but whereas souvlaki consists of large chunks of meat, the meat used in gyros is slow-cooked on a vertical rotisserie and served in long, thin strips inside a warmed pitta bread. Pork, chicken and lamb are the most popular options, although beef is more common outside Greece. Gyros have also been likened to Turkish doner kebabs and Middle Eastern shawarmas.

Have you ever been to Greece? What are your favourite Greek foods? If you enjoyed this post, pin it below to read later!

8 traditional, authentic Greek foods, including healthy dishes and vegetarian options. From meze and gyros to souvlaki and fava, there's something to suit all tastes. #greece #greekfood #meze #gyros #souvlaki #fava #foodtravel #culinarytravel

8 traditional, authentic Greek foods, including healthy dishes and vegetarian options. From meze and gyros to souvlaki and fava, there's something to suit all tastes. #greece #greekfood #meze #gyros #souvlaki #fava #foodtravel #culinarytravel

This is a collaborative post.

20 Comments

  1. carodweller
    May 3, 2018 / 8:20 pm

    Everything on this looks amazing! I actually have a recipe at home for Moussaka! I have been thinking about creating a vegan version of it in the future! LOVE Greek food!!!

    • May 3, 2018 / 8:24 pm

      I love moussaka. A friend of mine made one once and it took hours, but it was so worth it!

  2. Adriana Martin
    May 4, 2018 / 6:14 am

    You don’t have to convince me one of my dreams is to visit Greece one day. I love the culture, the history and their food. Those loukoumades are a dream!

    • May 4, 2018 / 11:24 am

      I would love to visit Greece – especially to eat all the amazing food 😀

  3. May 4, 2018 / 7:06 pm

    These all look so good! One day I hope visit Greece and try all these yummy foods!

    • May 5, 2018 / 5:55 am

      Me too. I’ve tried a few of these before but they’re bound to taste so much better in Greece!

  4. Maggie Cummins
    May 5, 2018 / 1:16 pm

    Very interesting and informative – I have been to Greece on many occasions and, like you say Kacie, all the food tastes amazingly delicious – I would be obese if I lived there!!!!! Keep your lovely posts coming!

    • May 6, 2018 / 4:39 pm

      Aww thanks Maggie, so nice of you to take the time to comment. I am hoping to go to Greece for the first time soon, maybe this year! Thank you x

  5. May 5, 2018 / 6:39 pm

    Like you, I have a strong focus on trying local food when I travel, in fact it’s sometimes a key reason for visiting the destination! Greek food is one of those real comfort cuisines for me, not least because of their delicious lamb dishes including moussaka and souvlaki! Yum!

    • May 6, 2018 / 4:38 pm

      I love lamb too! Definitely one of my favourite meats. I always think about what I’ll be able to eat when I’m booking a holiday, haha!

  6. May 5, 2018 / 7:16 pm

    I would so love to have an authentic Greek gyro someday!

    • May 6, 2018 / 4:37 pm

      Me too. I made my own healthy version at home recently using turkey mince, but obviously it was far from the real thing! I need to go to Greece!

  7. May 5, 2018 / 11:52 pm

    YUM! Love Greek food so much! One of my favourites is the Corfiot dish, Sofrito! Delicious!

    • May 6, 2018 / 4:36 pm

      I’ve heard of this dish but I haven’t tried myself – yet! Sounds delicious.

  8. May 6, 2018 / 12:47 pm

    I love Greek food and make almost every week, love all the ingredients in the compilation.

    • May 6, 2018 / 4:35 pm

      Me too. I wish I got to it Greek food every week!

  9. louiseloveslondon
    May 7, 2018 / 2:38 pm

    Greek food is the best! I love their little mezze plates, where you can have a taste of everything! I am a carnivore as well – and I love how the Greeks spice up their lamb dishes! Need to go to Greece soon! 😀
    X Louise

    • May 8, 2018 / 10:10 am

      You can’t go wrong with a good mezze! 🙂

  10. May 8, 2018 / 12:17 am

    Moussaka is one of my absolute favourite foods. I have made it a few times myself, but its very time consuming as I seem to remember i had to salt the aubergine and leave it for ages before frying them! Saganaki cheese was also one of my favourites!

    • May 8, 2018 / 10:10 am

      I love moussaka too. I remember my friend made one once and it took hours – but it was worth every minute! 🙂

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