Greek Snacks You Need to Try at Least Once

Homemade spanakopita
Homemade spanakopita | © lisa hill / Flickr
Ethel Dilouambaka

Greek food is known the world over for being healthy and delicious. And if you ever get a chance to visit Greece, you will have a wonderful time enjoying hearty and satisfying dishes. But sometimes, when you are in a hurry or cannot properly sit down to have a meal, you will find a variety of snacks readily available that deserve to become staples. Here are some Greek treats you should try at least once.

Pasteli

One of the oldest Greek snacks consumed since ancient times is pasteli, a delicious honey and sesame seed bar that many Greeks around the globe still eat today. In Greece, pasteli usually has a flat, rectangular shape and is made with honey and sesame seeds, though homemade versions can include other nuts. With high nutritional value, pasteli is available virtually anywhere from small kiosks to supermarkets and delicatessen shops and is a perfect alternative to energy bars.

Pasteli bars (1. sesame seeds, 2. almonds, 3. pistachios)

Loukoumades

Savory pies

Don’t expect actual pies, but rather, flaky, phyllo-dough rolls or triangles filled with either cheese (tiropita), cooked spinach (spanakopita), a mixture of cooked spinach and cheese (spanakopita me tiri) or even meat fillings (kreatopita). These small snacks make for an ideal appetizer or little bite to enjoy when you are hungry but can’t sit down for a proper meal. These pites (plural of pita) are available in bakeries and small coffee shops and convenience stores as well.

Homemade tiropita

Baklava

Ah, the infamous baklava, shared with their Turkish neighbors, is probably one of the most famous sweets known beyond the Greek and Turkish borders. This decadent pastry dipped in honey or syrup and containing nuts, be it pistachios or walnuts, is best savored with a cup of coffee or tea but is great for a sweet breakfast or afternoon treat.

Bougatsa

If you don’t know how delicious bougatsa is, you will want to try it on your next visit. This sweet snack is made with phyllo sheets filled with a creamy custard filling. It is usually eaten warm with powdered sugar and cinnamon sprinkled on top and is available in bakeries and coffee shops. If you ever want to try the real deal, head to Thessaloniki, where this delicious pastry originated.

Bougatsa

Koulouri

A breakfast staple for the busy employee on the go, koulouri is a simple sesame bread ring sold on street corners by street vendors or in bakeries. You will find the plain variety or one stuffed with some cream cheese, tahini or chocolate spread for the sweet tooth out there. Koulouri is best enjoyed in the mornings when it is usually fresh.

Peinirli

Brought to mainland Greece in the 1920s by Pontus Greek refugees from Asia Minor and the Black Sea region, peinirli is very similar to the Turkish pide (peynir means cheese in Turkish). This boat-shaped bread usually contains a cheese filling and includes other toppings, such as tomatoes, peppers, eggs, minced meat, ham or even bacon. Fair warning: this hearty snack is very filling.

A Turkish pide, very similar to the Greek peinirli
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