While authentic ingredients and dishes remain popular, Greek street food is being influenced by the economic crisis and new immigrants. The result is an interesting and delicious mix of traditional and new flavors. CNN’s John Malathronas travelled to Athens to learn about and sample the country’s most popular foods.
People want value for their money in tough economic times, and street food’s low cost has made it successful. Vendors are experimenting with traditional street foods to make them more appealing. For example, koulouri, a baked dough ring with sesame, is now being sold with a number of new fillings.
The migrant crisis has also influenced cuisine. Takeaway restaurants selling foreign foods like falafel and gourmet hot dogs are becoming increasingly popular in Athens.
Traditional Greek street food is also gaining in popularity. The Greek classic souvlaki is on the rise again, as are loukoumades, fried dough balls with honey and cinnamon, and bougatsa, filo pastry with custard and cinnamon that comes from Thessaloniki.
The staples of the Greek diet remain constant. These include fruit, olives, dried meats, nuts, and of course olive oil – Greece is the world’s third top producer. One signature oil is agourelaio, a bitter oil made from unripe olives which is used for salads and grilled fish. Honey is another essential. In Greece, it’s made from thyme, pine, or blossoms, depending on where beehives are placed.