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10 Greek Foods That You Must Try

by Kelli Schneider
greek food study abroad greece

Last Updated on June 8, 2015 by

Greek food and drink are a mixture of influences from Europe, the Mediterranean, and Turkey. Here are some of the best Greek foods that everyone must try before leaving Greece. 

1. Freddo Espresso or Freddo Cappucino 

Freddo Espresso (espresso, sugar, frothed milk served over ice) was invented by an Italian and while it has ice and sugar, it tastes like straight espresso. Freddo Cappuccino (espresso with frothy milk also served over ice) was supposedly invented by Venetian monks who added honey and milk to Turkish coffee to make it sweeter. This is a little on the sweeter side than Freddo Espresso. Everyone in Athens is always carrying and sipping one of these constantly. Iced coffee lovers rejoice!  

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2. Dolmades (Grape Leaves)

There are different variations of this dish, but the more common would be vine leaves filled with rice and mincemeat. Occasionally, there will be some kind of sauce on top. They are scrumptious, but a little messy!

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3. Saganaki

Saganaki is a Greek delicacy and is essentially fried cheese. Sometimes they add shrimp or mussels to it. Lemon is usually added during the cooking.   

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4. Moussaka

This is a traditional dish in Greece, but it is also common in the Balkans and other parts of the Mediterranean. It is layered like a lasagna and the dish contains: eggplant, mince meat, cinnamon, onion, tomato purée, mashed potatoes, and a layer of cheese at the top. It is baked inside of a ceramic style pot. It is sweet and tasty!    

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5. Zucchini Croquettes

Basically, these are little fried fritters that are filled with feta cheese and zucchini and they are delicious! I think sometimes there is a dill flavoring because I can always taste it.    

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6. Octopus

Octopus is a Greek delicacy and is on almost every menu. I am very excited to try it and I have tried the squid (stuffed and fried) that is similar but smaller. The octopus is hung out to dry before being prepared. It can be marinated, grilled and also added to pasta dishes. 

7. Greek Salad

Contrary to popular belief, not all salad contains lettuce or leafy greens. Greek salad consists of cucumbers, olives, green peppers, tomatoes, onions, and feta. Sometimes it is even just cucumber and tomatoes and feta, but it is amazing either way and extremely healthy. Not to mention that all the vegetables are freshly picked and crisp.   

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8. Souvlaki

This is a traditional and fast food in Greece. It is a sandwich served on pita bread and contains either lamb, pork, or chicken for meat and then has lettuce, tomato, onion, and chips (french fries). The sauce that is put on the sandwich is the famous Tzatziki sauce.         

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9. Baklava

Baklava is a dessert that originates from the time of the Ottoman Empire. It is a doughy and flaky crust on the outside, with nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts or pistachios) and more layers of the flaky dough on the inside. It can have a syrup (sometimes rosewater or honey) drizzled on top. It is the most delicious dessert and Greece is famous for it, even though its origins are in the Ottoman Empire.   

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10. Greek Coffee

Traditional Greek coffee or “Turkish coffee” is more of a way of brewing coffee than it is a specific taste or type of coffee bean. They use a briki (pot) to brew it in, there is foam on top and coffee grounds resting in the bottom of the coffee mug. This coffee is said to be very strong. Coffee was and still is a way for Greeks to relax and socialize among friends and family. 

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