Greece is a country with extensive coastlines, beautiful beaches, and numerous islands for aquatic activity lovers. However, it is also a country with a distinct culture and a cuisine that has much more to offer than simply its beaches.
The Greek civilisation is an ancient civilisation, which means that it is very cultured, and has had a huge role in shaping the arts, literature, and philosophy of our modern civilisations. The cuisine of the country is very much the same and reflects its old roots, but at the same time has started blending in foreign influences to meet the new trends. This makes it very interesting to try and is very appealing to most tourists.
The cuisine has borrowed a lot in recent times from the neighbouring countries like Turkey and Italy, and you will find many similar dishes as well. The traditional food in Greece is Mediterranean, with a lot of vegetables and herbs in the food. It uses a lot of the local food, has grains in it, and is very filling and healthy.
Seafood is also very popular. Also, since the country has a large number of poultry and dairy stock, there are a lot of chicken, beef, pork, and especially lamb dishes. The locals use a lot of olive oil, as it a local product, as well as lemon and tomatoes. Bread and wine is almost a necessity in all meals.
You will find Greek food in Greece to be very different from Greek food at any Greek restaurant you visit in your own country. This is because Greek restaurants abroad cater to the tastes of that locality, and do not really reflect the cuisine in its original form. For example, while you may think that Gyros are a very popular food in Greece; you will be surprised to find out that this is not true. Most Greeks think of this as junk food and do not eat it.
In Greece, popular fast food items include Gyros, which is meat in pita bread. Soulaki is grilled meat served on a skewer, and Greek dips like Tzatziki and Skordhalia are also popular.
For restaurant meals, try grilled octopus, which is quite popular and easily available, as well as achinosalata, which are sea-urchin eggs. Greek salads are very healthy and go well with all meals. These are usually heavily filled with tomatoes, feta cheese, and olives. Another dish to try is Moussaka, which has eggplant as its main ingredient. Grilled lamb chops are also very popular, as are fried potatoes (which are often listed as chips in menus). Dessert is Baklava, which is made of very thin pastry layers, and is an import of Turkey.
While in Greece, make sure you take in the local wine. Greece is a country that has been producing wine for many centuries, and most of these are not available in the international market, so you can only try them in Greece. You should also try local liquor like Ouzo, Raki, and Tsikoudia. Local beer brands include Mythos and Alpha, and are pretty good.
A non-alcoholic beverage to try is coffee. This is an important part of the local culture, and you will find cafes all over the country. It is lighter than Turkish coffee but is still thicker and stronger than what most tourists are used to.