Sun, sea… and street food; not only are they the perfect ingredients for a vacation, but they’re also what we’re known for here in Greece.
In a country where food is a way of life, many who visit are inspired by the abundance of fresh street food, bursting with flavor. From olives to gyro, and cheese pies to calamari – there’s something for everyone.
So, when it comes to Greek food, here’s what you need to know:
Greek food – a quick overview
Inspired by both eastern and western influences, Greek cuisine is known for using local fresh ingredients. Whether street food or home-cooked delights, dishes tend to be simple and stripped back, cooked low and slow in traditional clay ovens to infuse all those natural flavors.
In a country with great weather and access to plenty of land and sea, Greek cuisine optimizes local produce to its best. As such; olives, cheese, yogurt, wheat, honey, lemon, nuts, and spices often feature in its famous street food.
Best places for street food
The best way to experience Greek street food is to go local. Many recipes or cooking methods are passed down from generation to generation, for an authentic taste.
From neighborhood markets to vendors on street corners and popular guided street food tours, there’s plenty of opportunities to experience the some 100,000 restaurants, cafes, and bars the country has to offer.
While you’ll be able to find street food just about anywhere you visit, some of the top destinations include:
Athens: the capital is home to some of the best street food you’ll find. From hot dogs to deep-fried fish bites and everyone’s favorite – koulouri. Weave in and out of its bustling streets, you never know what you might find.
Heraklion, Crete: As the largest of the islands, it’s no surprise that Crete provides lots of fresh produce, making it a foodies-favorite destination. Take a walk around its port is the perfect base for fresh seafood and other street food surprised. And be sure to time your visit with the local street food festival while you’re at it!
Chios: It may be off-the-beaten-track, but this island is a food lover’s paradise, flowing with citrus groves and fresh fruit and vegetables at every turn. It’s also the only place in the world that produces Mastic – an ingredient often used in herbal infusions.
Kalamata: Home to the famous Kalamata olive. But, there’s much more to this region when it comes to finger-licking street food. Go to the Polyphemos market for a smorgasbord of locally grown delights, including the largest tomatoes, onions, and watermelons you might ever see!
Favorite street food dishes
There’s plenty of Greek street food dishes to add to your dining bucket list. It goes without saying that pork gyros are a staple, served in fresh flatbread a bit like a taco, with lashings of lemon to bring out all those flavors.
With a love of all things pastry, Greek bakeries are some of the best places to sample food.
Try local favorite bougasta – a naughty (but nice) creamy custard semolina filled pastry that knocks you off your feet! Or perhaps you’re more of a savory type, in which case opt for a boureki – a heavenly halloumi, feta and mint parcel.
Walking down the promenade is a popular pastime, with plenty of food vendors serving up local flavors. Sometimes the simple dishes are the best ones; try freshly carved watermelon, or BBQ grilled corn-on-the-cob, or even a bag of perfectly roasted chestnuts. It’s the ultimate way to blend in!