29 Traditional Greek Foods You Must Eat in Greece

Call me crazy, but prior to traveling to Greece I had no idea how delicious Greek food would be. But, by the third trip to the Mediterranean country there was a deep love fest forming for the tasty traditional Greek cuisne. My days (and nights) were filled with dishes of moussaka, tzatziki and frappes.

My stomach couldn’t have been happier with Greek food.

29 Traditional Greek Foods You Must Eat While in Greece | Authentic Dishes

Greek food spreads its culinary influence throughout Europe and beyond. It is known as some of the best food in the world! With an age old tradition, Greek cuisine has been greatly influenced by both Eastern and Western cultures. Fresh vegetables, fishes & seafoods play a significant role in the dishes mostly because of its long coastline while meat is treated as less popular, with the exception of lamb.

However, flavors of Greek food changes with season and geography. Here are some of the favorites not to missed when traveling through Greece.

Traditional Greek Foods You Must Eat in Greece

1. Amygdalota

Amygdalota - Greek Almond Cookie
Anne H. Putnam

Amygdalota is gluten-free almond cookie that is wildly popular in Greece and are the perfect match to a warm cup of Greek coffee. Whether it is a family or friends gathering, Amygdalota reflects the images of good times warm relationships. This food may vary a bit in different parts of Greece, but almonds being the dominant ingredient throughout the regions.

Recipe > Almond Cookies by Saveur

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2. Baklava

Traditional Greek Food: Baklava
Catherine Sharman

Baklava is the quintessential Greek food experience. This cuisine mostly contains nuts and butter along with sugar. After baking, sweet syrup is poured over it so that the syrup can be absorbed by the crispy layers of phyllo. It is probably the most popular food item among all Greek desserts. It brings a festive mood in the dining room through its exquisite flavor and flaky crust.

Recipe > Baklava by Michael Symon

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3. Bougatsa

Traditional Dish in Greece Bougatsa

Bougatsa is a kind of sweet pie (less sweet if you consider Greek standard) made of phyllo pastry & semolina custard. This is a kind of food that tastes good in daytime, delicious at late night and best enjoyed with pleasant memories. If you want to eat this pie from roadside food court you will also get a sprinkle of powder sugar and cinnamon on top.

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4. Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes)

Traditional Greek Food: Courgette Balls (kolokithokeftedes)

You are going to want to add this veggie starter to the list of your favorite dishes. This is a very popular Cretan meze, found in most (if not all) Greek restaurants. Your taste buds will be mesmerized by its flavored texture, salty & tasty feta cheese with a bit of fresh mint. The original kolokythokeftedes must be crispy on the outside with a creamy texture on the inside.

Recipe > Courgette Balls by Lemon & Olives

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5. Dolmadakia (Stuffed Grape Leaves)

Traditional Greek Appetizer: Dolmades

This is another sign of the versatile nature of Greek food. Dolmadakia are tiny dolmades that are made of stuffed grape leaves. Inside the leaf you will get meat of ground lamb or beef (sometimes both) and rice stuffing. Traditionally, this dish is served as appetizer with lemon wedges.

Recipe > Dolmades by Tyler Florence

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6. Tomatokeftedes (Santorini Tomato Fritters)

Traditional Greek Food: Santorini Tomato Fritters

Tomaotokeftedes or tomato fritters are traditional meze and main course vegetarian food item in Santorini and Syros. Proper draining of tomato is essential for preparing this delicious food item. These fritters have rough edges with bits of mint, tomato and onion chunks.

Recipe > Tomatokeftedes (Fried Santorini tomato balls / tomato fritters) by My Greek Dish
Read > 18 Bucket List Things to do in Santorini

7. Ellinikos (Greek Coffee)

Greek Coffee in Greece

Ellinikos is still the most favorite style of coffee adopted in Greece. The coffee is served in the traditional long handled coffee copper pot which is known as briki in Greek. There are three different tastes of Ellinikos like Vari Glyko which means strong & almost honey sweet, Metrios meaning medium sweetness and Sketos mening without sugar.

Recipe > Greek Coffee (Ellinikos Kafes)

8. Greek Fava Dip (Yellow Split Pea Puree)

Traditional Greek Dish: Fave Yellow Split Pea Dip

This mouthwatering vegetable dish, made with yellow split peas, is mostly popular on the Greek island of Santorini, however, remains dominant in terms of popularity all across Greece. It is creamy with spectacular taste—great starter for winter days. Enjoy this Fava dish as an appetizer or dip with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Recipe > Authentic Greek Fava recipe (Yellow Split Peas Puree)

9. Feta Me Meli

Traditional Greek Food: Saganki Cheese

Another Greek food dish that can be tasted as dessert or an entrée. Feta is wrapped in filo pastry before oven baked and honey is drizzled over it. The optimum balance between salty feta and sweet honey creates a mesmerizing taste.

Recipe > Phyllo-wrapped Feta Cheese Appetizer with Honey and Sesame Seeds

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10. Frappe

Traditional Greek Drink: frappe in central Greece

Frappe is an iced coffee drink that makes your hot summer days comfortable. Two main components of Frappe are water and instant coffee granules. Once mixed it becomes addictive, delicious and frothy. With such a strong appeal it’s a perfect pick-me-up drink without extra calories.

Recipe > New York Times Recipe: Greek Frappé
Read > The Art of the Greek Frappe

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11. Galaktoboureko

Traditional Greek Food: Galaktoboureko in Greece
garrett zeiglar

Galaktoboureko is a great Greek dessert with crispy perfection. Take a mouthful bite of Galaktoboureko and let your mouth be filled with its juices. This age old Greek dessert is made of crispy phyllo sprinkled with melted butter. Greeks use the most creamy custard & scented syrup to increase the taste of this food by many folds.

Recipe > Traditional Greek Galaktoboureko recipe (Greek Custard Pie with Syrup)


12. Greek Salad (Choriatiki)

Greek Salad with Feta in Greece

Greek salad is a must have for Greeks with almost every meal. Choriatiki are made of tomatoes, olives, cucumber and a large piece of feta cheese and served undressed. Dressing is left at person’s choice hence all restaurants serve vinegar, salt, pepper and olive oil with the salad. With the tradition of being a starter, Greek salad can also be a great side dish.

Recipe > Bon Appetit Greek Salad

13. Gyros

Best Traditional Greek Food: Gyro in Greece

Gyros are an economical meal choice and so yummy! When the meat is roasted vertically and turning on the spit it is known as Gyro. Wait, it is not done yet. Slices of gyro are then placed in pita with various taste enhancers including sauce, onions, lettuce, tomatoes and potato chips.

Recipe > Gyro Meat with Tzatziki Sauce by Alton Brown

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14. Halvas

Best Traditional Greek Food: Halvas Dessert in Greece

You will be surprised by the deliciousness of such humble food especially when you are looking for a no dairy, no butter and an egg free dessert. Halva is a great combo of four ingredients: oil, semolina, sugar and water. You will be mesmerized by the taste of these four ingredients when combined. In simple words, halva is semolina pudding which is sweetened by syrup and studded with nuts.

Recipe > Halva (A Greek Sweet Using Semolina)

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15. Kataifi

Traditional Greek Food: Kandaifi in Greece

This is one of the most popular Greek desserts made with a special type of pastry called Kataifi. When rolled up the pastry resembles shredded wheat. A delectable nutty center is rolled inside crisp, thread like strands of pastry, baked, and then soaked in sweet syrup. The pastry is full of strand so there is always a chance to get messy when you eat this. So don’t try too much to pull them or cut them.

Recipe > Kataïfi: Almond & Walnut Pastry in Syrup

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16. Keftethes (Meatballs)

Traditional Greek Meatballs in Greece

Give this juicy and crispy Greek meatball a try and bring a delicious twist to your plate. Keftethes is mainly a Greek appetizer dish served with creamy sauce and pita bread. However, this item can also be eaten as a full meal with basmati rice and Greek feta salad.

Recipe > Margaret’s Keftedes (Greek Meatballs)

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17. Loukoumades

Loukoumades (Greek Donuts) in Greece

Loukoumades are little bite-sized golden puffs of fried dough that are sprinkled with sweet syrup, walnuts and cinnamon. With crispy outside and fluffy inside this Greek donut will give you absolute deliciousness.

Recipe > Loukoumades at All Recipes

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18. Moussaka

Eggplant Moussaka at Skites in Greece

A legendary, traditional dish that is creamy and juicy. Moussaka is served in almost all tavernas in Greece. In the big family gathering this dish is prepared by Greek homemakers. In Moussaka, tomato sauce is used to cook minced beef which is subsequently layered with sweet eggplants and creamy béchamel sauce. This irresistible cuisine is filling so you don’t need too many side dishes.

Recipe > Bobby Flay’s Moussaka

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19. Pasteli

Pasteli sesame seed candy in Greece
Eliza Adam

Pasteli is a Greek cusine made of mainly two components; honey and sesame seeds. These pasteli are known as the original power bars in Greece. In additions to honey and sesame different nuts like walnuts, almonds or pistachios are used to bring more variety. Pasteli fits very well as an accompaniment to tea. It can also be eaten as candy or lunchtime snack and energy booster.

Recipe > Pasteli at Epicurious

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20. Pastitsio

Best Dish in Greece: greek pastitsio

Pastitsio is a baked pasta dish including ground beef and béchamel sauce. This mouthwatering food is something you can enjoy in every season. The food in Greece is served with mixed green salad dressed with wine vinegar and virgin olive oil.

Recipe > Nikki’s Perfect Pastitsio

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21. Retsina Wine

Retsina wine in Greece
steve wilde

An age old wine bearing all rituals and cultures of ancient Greece for more than 2000 years. The unique test of this wine is believed to have originated from sealing wine vessels with Pine resin. Pine resin prevents air from entering into the bottle while infusing the wine with resin aroma. This wine matches superbly with dishes containing mint, rosemary and dill.

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22. Revani

Traditional Greek Food: Revani Dessert in Greece

Revani is a very popular dessert which is nutty and grainy with some lemony flavor. This moist cake is sweetened by simple syrup flavored with orange zest. This is not an overly sweet desserts and it is indeed a delightful addition to any dining table.

Recipe > Really Rich Revani Cake

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 23. Saganaki – Fried Cheese

Best Greek Dish: Greek Saganaki Fried Cheese

This is the food that holds the attention of all cheese lovers. Sagnaki is mostly an appetizer that is prepared in two-handled small frying pan. This beloved traditional Greek food is prepared in less than 10 minutes while using only two ingredients—flour & cheese. Sagnaki refers to many dishes (which are mostly appetizers) like Shrimp Sagnaki, Mussels Sagnaki etc. However, the most famed one is this Cheese Saganaki.

Recipe > Greek Saganaki: Emeril Lagasse

. . .

24. Souvlaki

Greek Souvlaki in Greece

Souvlaki is a very popular Greek food available in street side restaurants. The dish is well cooked with seasoned meat and then flavored with tzatziki sauce. In Greek language Souvlaki stands for ‘meat-on-a-skewer. Most Greek people call any type of pita wrapped meat a Souvlaki. However, they somehow distinguish the name by the meat that is used. As for instance, Souvlaki with pork skewers or Souvlaki with chicken Gyros.

Recipe > Lamb Souvlaki with Yogurt-Garlic Sauce

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25. Spanikopita

Spanikopita - Traditional Greek Food
vegan feast catering

Spanikopita or otherwise known as Greek spinach pie is a traditional yet delicious recipe. With its versatility the dish matches with every time of the day. Be it dinner, as a snack or starter Spanikopita will definitely satisfy your taste buds. Feta cheese, butter, olive oil all are mixed and baked until golden crispy perfection.

Recipe > Spanikopita (Spinach Triangles or Pie)

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26. Tiropita

Tiropita, otherwise known as ‘Greek cheese pie’, is traditionally popular throughout Greece and can be eaten as a starter or a mid-day snack. This feta cheese food comes into different shapes & sizes. When it is rolled into individual triangular servings that’s when it is called Tiropita. The main ingredient used in this recipe is various types of cheese (feta cheese mostly). Melted butter and olive oil are also used while preparing this mouthwatering dish.

Recipe > Tiropita (Greek Savory Cheese Pie)

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27. Tzatziki

Tzatziki - Traditional Greek Food

Tzatziki is one of the classic Greek sauces or appetizers with as many varieties as there are cooks who prepare it. Basically, this spectacular food item is made of thick strained yogurt, garlic, olive oil as well as fresh dill. Although it’s a combination of various ingredients but it is simple to prepare and is able to rock any get together.

Recipe > World’s Best Tzatziki

28. Yiaourti Me Meli

Yiaourti Me Meli literally means yogurt with honey. This is simple filler which is rich in protein with creamy sweet flavor. You can have this food in breakfast dishes or as a dessert. Yiaourti Me Meli is a healthy combo of Greek yogurt, honey and walnuts. The subtle sour taste of yogurt, the sweetness of thyme or wildflower honey, the depth & complexity of walnuts—altogether it is a food from heaven!

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29. Yemista

Stuffed Tomatoes in Greece

Yemista is a traditional recipe for Greek stuffed tomatoes that comes with vibrant colors and juicy flavors. Instead of tomatoes other vegetables are also used and baked until it turns to brownish color. The stuffing can either be with rice and various herbs or it may contain minced meat. There are countless variations of Yemista and you are allowed to experiment with different types of herbs & spices.

Recipe > Yemista (Greek Stuffed Tomatoes and Peppers)

Are your taste buds salivating yet? If you’re ready to indulge in traditional Greek cuisine an easy way to do so is to take a food tour. For a mouth watering example read about taking a food tour in Chania, Crete here.

What is your favorite Greek foods, dishes or cuisine?


Santorini Bucket List: 18 Things To Do
See the Mount Athos Byzantine Monasteries in Greece
Take a 4×4 Jeep Adventure Through Central Greece
See a Movie at an Open Air Cinema in Santorini
Eat a Greek Salad in Greece
5 Greek Islands You Should Definitely Explore This Year
Have a Romantic Sunset Dinner Overlooking the Santorini Caldera

Helpful Resources

Cookbook: Easy Greek Traditional Recipes
Cookbook: The Foods of the Greek Islands

2018-12-22T18:31:59+00:00June 17th, 2016|Categories: Europe, FOOD, Greece, TRAVEL|Tags: , |


  1. […] The second largest Greek island, you can find peace and beauty in Crete, via its ancient attractions and pretty villages. There are also plenty of activities to do together, like trekking the incredible landscape, heading out in the Mediterranean in a kayak or simply indulging in tasty Greek foods! […]

  2. […] what’s it to be — tranquil escape, eating delectable Greek food or an adventure experience? Either way, you’re sure to be mesmerised by the beauty of the Greek […]

  3. Xplorato June 20, 2016 at 3:16 am - Reply

    yummy yummy yummy i want them all i want to sit there and eat one after the other lol 😀 tasty read

  4. Vassilis June 24, 2016 at 7:41 am - Reply

    It’s truly amazing that so many amazing foods exist in Greece.
    Not only is this place magical ,with friendly people,but also it has so many delicious traditional dishes which take your breath away.
    I’ll make sure I’ll taste them all again when I will be able to do so.

  5. Vidya June 27, 2016 at 12:05 am - Reply

    Just Yuummmmm! Now I can’t wait to go. Have you forgotten about Tirokroketes, one of the best Greek food. But I liked these too. I am hungry & just wish to to finish all this one by one. Nice article.

  6. Stephanie Be June 28, 2016 at 9:59 am - Reply

    I could eat this every day and be perfectly happy! It all looks so incredible.

  7. Luminita July 3, 2016 at 12:15 pm - Reply

    I used to find pastelis in local sumpermarkets, just they weren’t called that way. Delicious! Now I know they’re original from Greece.

  8. Professional Essays July 19, 2016 at 10:05 pm - Reply

    Wow ! Very informative indeed. I find it very helpful and relevant. Love your post. 🙂

  9. Greek Tours July 21, 2016 at 5:03 am - Reply

    Hi Annette , impressive list , you show many delicious greek dishes . I can add just .Paputsakia (eggplants shoes), Octopus with pasta (ohtapodi me kofto makaronaki ) , Octopus in vinegar.You must to know that in Greece fishes dishes are most than common .

  10. wtglimo August 14, 2016 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    I like this blog. thanks for the blog. it was very informative and the pictures are captured very beautifully.

  11. hawelicanada November 4, 2016 at 3:55 am - Reply

    Yummy!! I plan to visit Greece next year. Hope to taste this delicious greek foods.

  12. 19 Great Food Travel Bloggers to Give You a Taste for Travel February 1, 2017 at 8:46 am - Reply

    […] culture give you a window straight to the heart of many countries. Our favourite is the list of traditional foods to try in Greece, which will get your mouth watering in readiness for your next […]

  13. European City Breaks for your Bucket List March 2, 2017 at 6:08 pm - Reply

    […] Exarcheia, and Psirri, among others. This place will also never disappoint when it comes to food. Greek cuisine is known not only for being delicious, but also for being healthy. Of course, your visit would not […]

  14. Jessica Bain ? March 16, 2017 at 4:25 pm - Reply

    That shit looks good lol?

    • ibby July 2, 2018 at 3:16 am - Reply

      jessica that is not good language there could be kids on this website and u are shereing this toxic behaver but i cant lie that shit dose look good…………. ferther more can i have ur bbm babes

  15. Santorini, Greece Bucket List | thegoodthingscomin April 3, 2017 at 7:42 pm - Reply

    […] More Greek food to make you hungry. […]

  16. Sueda April 13, 2017 at 8:40 am - Reply

    Bu liste sanki biraz TÜRKİYE’YE gidince yemeniz gerekenler listesi gibi olmuş.Ne birazı bayaa öyle olmuş.

  17. Caalar May 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

    Same Turkish foods with different names but you shouldn’t change the names which are accepted Turkish by UNESCO. Like It is Turkish coffee and since it has no difference with it changing its name iz not nice. Same as Cacık(Tzatziki in Greek) At least you should point that it is an share food With Turks. Thanks…

    • Caalar May 15, 2017 at 1:22 pm - Reply

      is* shared**

    • Jim July 23, 2017 at 10:05 pm - Reply

      Cacik is not the same with Tzatziki. Cacik often has sumac and it’s more watery. Tzatziki is thicker and never has sumak friend. Only the name is similar:)

      • Bahaettin August 27, 2017 at 7:16 am - Reply

        Well I have never heard that you put sumac in cacik,
        Where ever you go in turkey it has always cucumber, garlic , mint and olive oil and sometimes served with a slice of lemon on the side. You should do your research better my friend

  18. Sasu Consulting May 17, 2017 at 7:28 am - Reply

    It all looks so delicious! Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful pictures and recipes.

  19. […] Before Our Trip, I found this article, among others. I’m rpoud to say I’ve been able to try almost everything, and this explains what some of these foods are if you’re interested. https://bucketlistjourney.net/2016/06/traditional-greek-foods-you-must-eat-in-greece/ […]

  20. Joanne McDaniel June 29, 2017 at 1:44 am - Reply

    Thank you for sharing all of the amazing, traditional foods one visiting Greece must try. Mediterranean food is packed full of bold flavors, fresh ingredients, and exciting new tastes. It would be a waste not to try them all (if possible) while in the heart of Mediterranean culture. That said, there is hope for those that simply cannot make it out to Greece anytime soon. In fact, many restaurants are serving up replicas of some of the very dishes you describe and they taste just as good. If you can’t plan a trip to Greece to try their delicious cuisine, at least try to visit a local Mediterranean cafe and see what they have to offer. If anything, it will make you want to start saving to visit Greece to try the real thing!

    • Annette White June 30, 2017 at 10:59 am - Reply

      I bet there are plenty of restaurants not in Greece that have very traditional Greek food. You just have to find the right ones!

  21. Jim July 23, 2017 at 10:04 pm - Reply

    Excellent list. One small note: The pic for keftethes is the one from sountzoukakia (Smyrna meatballs) that are often served with tomato sauce and have this shape.

    • Annette White July 23, 2017 at 10:21 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the heads up!!

    • Zoe May 30, 2018 at 9:22 am - Reply

      And sountzoukakia also contain cumin in large amounts, which regular keftethes don’t. Smyrna meatballs are so incredibly aromatic and full of flavour. Best served with rice and yogurt on the side.

  22. Alexander November 20, 2017 at 11:15 am - Reply

    It’s a good list, but there are a few inaccuracies. Spanikopita is definitely not vegan and not in triangles. Turopitakia are in triangles. They are similar in fillings and taste, but there are differences. Gyros are either chicken or pork. The photo you used appears to be a Döner. And Retsina isn’t something to be drunk with a fine meal. It’s cheap, low grade wine that is usually mixed with lemonade (white soda) or drank on its own for the purpose of getting drunk 🙂

    • Annette White November 25, 2017 at 4:27 pm - Reply

      Thanks for the input!

    • Angela Mavrides January 31, 2018 at 8:20 am - Reply

      Thank you.. yes that is NOT Gyros and Retsina is not an example of good Greek wine,… we produce some amazing wines, its a shame you listed Retsina as an example

  23. Alexander November 20, 2017 at 11:18 am - Reply

    You should also add grilled fresh octopus and kaimaki to your list.

  24. Sepideh December 13, 2017 at 10:19 pm - Reply

    Great that we get to have Persian food for the trip we chose to go on! <3

  25. Bill January 26, 2018 at 12:18 pm - Reply

    All my favorite foods! Don’t forget Soutzoukakia (meatballs baked in tomato sauce). https://www.mediterraneanliving.com/recipe-items/greek-meatballs-with-tomato-sauce-soutzoukakia/

  26. Jule Fest Madmenu | frozen fotos March 7, 2018 at 9:56 am - Reply

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  27. Kay Dee May 3, 2018 at 9:55 am - Reply

    #15 should be Kataifi, not Kantaifi.

  28. […] Greek cuisine is admired by people from all around the world, but some cannot acquire a taste to their flavours. Typical food at this hotel in Santorini would include: salmon, tacos, octopus, sea bream, and plenty more. Ask yourself how willing you are to try these foods before jetting off, instead of worrying when you arrive.    […]

  29. […] masă vei primi apă și noi am comandat vin local la carafă și niște ouzo, de gust. Printre deliciile preferate grecești se regăsesc moussaka, pastitsio, souflaki, gyros, salata grecească, tzatziki, salata de vinete, […]

  30. Maria August 20, 2018 at 6:48 am - Reply

    I think you forgot to put in your list a delicious greek dish. Stuffed courgettes with eggs and lemon sauce. Very greek and very tasty.

  31. Hugo Steere October 14, 2018 at 10:37 am - Reply

    Great list Annette
    Slowly learning how to make them all.
    Here in Corfu potatoes boiled with skins on, till very soft, drained, seasoned and slowly folded into good olive oil with chopped parsley is Heaven on earth. Simple but nothing quite like it! Καλα Σε ευχαριστω πολυ!

  32. Berkay January 14, 2019 at 8:34 am - Reply

    Dear bloggers, travellers. I am from Turkey. I travelled Greece two times. I want to say some of them are Turkish food. First baklavaki is not Greek food. It s from Turkish cuisine. I ate baklavaki in Greece, it was bad. It s BAKLAVA. If you want to eat real baklava you can search ”Gaziantep Baklavası”. Also Ellinikos, it s Turkish Coffee. Fava, Helva (halvas), Kadayıf (kataifi), Lokma (loukmades), Revani, Cacık(Tzatziki). All of them are %100 Turkish food. I don’ want to say they stole them to us. We have same foods. Because Greece is taken by Ottoman Empire. Greece is nearly stay 400 years in Ottoman Empire. I want to write true things. Thanks…

  33. havee February 14, 2019 at 9:48 pm - Reply

    I like the galaktoboureko. Can I prepare it without egg?

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