When visiting Crete, there is a wide range of traditional foods you should try in order to experience the island’s unique culinary culture. Here are some traditional Cretan dishes you might want to sample:
- Dakos: This dish features dried barley rusk topped with ripe tomatoes, feta cheese, olives, and drizzled with olive oil. It’s a simple yet flavorful appetizer or snack.
- Kalitsounia: These are small, sweet or savory pastries filled with various ingredients such as cheese, herbs, or sweet cheese with honey. They can be baked or fried and are a delightful treat.
3. Souvlaki: Though not exclusive to Crete, souvlaki is popular throughout Greece. It consists of skewered and grilled meat, usually pork, chicken, or lamb. It is often served with pita bread, tzatziki sauce, and a side salad.
4. Gamopilafo: This is a traditional Cretan wedding dish made with rice, slow-cooked with meat broth and often combined with lamb or chicken. It’s a hearty and flavorful rice dish.
5. Sarikopitakia: These are small, cigar-shaped pastries filled with cheese or sweet fillings like honey and walnuts. They are crispy and delicious and are often served as a dessert or snack.
6. Stuffed Vegetables (Gemista): Gemista is a dish where vegetables such as tomatoes, peppers, or zucchini are hollowed out and filled with a mixture of rice, herbs, and sometimes minced meat. They are then baked until tender and served as a satisfying vegetarian dish.
7. Apaki: Apaki is a traditional Cretan smoked pork dish. The meat is marinated in a mixture of vinegar, spices, and herbs, and then smoked. It has a distinct smoky flavor and is often served with salad or potatoes.
8. Bougatsa: Bougatsa is a popular Greek pastry that can be found in various regions, including Crete. It is made with layers of filo pastry filled with sweet semolina cream or savory cheese. It’s commonly enjoyed for breakfast or as a dessert.
9. Kalamarakia Tiganita: This dish consists of deep-fried squid rings. The squid is coated in a light batter and served with lemon wedges and tzatziki sauce. It’s a delicious seafood option commonly found in seaside taverns.
10. Askordoulakous: These are wild Cretan asparagus shoots that grow in the mountains. They are typically boiled, served as a salad, or sautéed with olive oil and lemon juice. It’s a seasonal delicacy worth trying if you visit Crete during the right time of the year.
Remember, these are just a few examples of the traditional foods you can try in Crete. The island has a rich culinary heritage, so make sure to explore local taverns and restaurants to discover more authentic Cretan dishes during your visit.