greece greek food terms

Ever walk into a Greek restaurant and the only things you’re familiar with are the fries and maybe the gyro? (Btw, according to Greeks, it’s pronounced YEE-rro with a rolling “r.”) If so, you’ll want to know some basic Greek food terms. But first, let’s quickly cover a bit of background on Greece.

Greece (a.k.a. Hellas) has the longest coastline of all European countries and has over 6,000 islands, of which 166 to 227 are inhabited. Three-quarters of Greece is covered with mountains and hills. The remaining quarter, which contains plains where crops (i.e. corn, cotton, barley, sugar beets, tobacco and wheat) are grown. The main agricultral regions include Macedonia, Thessaly and Thrace.

Greek Cuisine

In ancient times, Greek cuisine was based on a foundation of bread, olive oil and wine. Due to the massive coastal regions, the primary protein was fish rather than red meat or poultry. Contemporary Greek cuisine still heavily uses olive oil as well as fresh fruits, vegetables and fish.

Meals are rarely eaten alone and are views as a social time to be shared with family, friends or colleagues. Greeks often eat lunch around 2pm which is homemade and enjoyed at home. Dinner is traditionally eaten late, after 10pm.

Greek food terms

Expand your international dining vocabulary with these basic food-related words translated from English to Greek.

meat – κρέας (kréas)

  • pork – χοιρινό (choirinó)
  • beef – βοδινό κρέας (vodinó kréas)

poultry – πουλερικά (pouleriká)

  • turkey – γαλοπούλας (galopoúlas)
  • duck – πάπια (pápia)
  • chicken –  κοτόπουλο (kotópoulo)

seafood – θαλασσινά (thalassiná)

  • fish – ψάρι (psári)
  • shrimp – γαρίδα (garída)
  • oyster – στρείδι (streídi)
  • shellfish – οστρακόδερμο (ostrakódermo) 

meatless/no meat – χωρίς κρέας (chorís kréas)

  • vegetables –  λαχανικά (lachaniká)
  • fruits – φρούτα (froúta)
  • eggs – αυγά (avgá)
  • tofu – τόφου (tófou)
  • nuts – καρύδια (karýdia)
  • vegetarian – χορτοφάγος (chortofágos)
  • vegan – χορτοφάγος (chortofágos)

drinks – αναψυκτικά (anapsyktiká)

  • water – νερό (neró)
  • alcohol – αλκοόλ (alkoól)
  • beer – μπύρα (býra)
  • wine – κρασί (krasí)

other eating/dining-related terms

  • yes – nαί (naí)
  • no – όχι (óchi)
  • good – Καλός (kalós)
  • yummy – λαχταριστό (lachtaristó)
  • eat – τρώω (tróo)
  • cook – μάγειρας (mágeiras)
  • I’m hungry – πεινάω (peináo)
  • I’m full – είμαι πλήρης (eímai plíris)
  • more – περισσότερο (perissótero)
  • less – πιο λιγο (pio ligo)
  • only – μόνο (móno)
  • please – σας παρακαλούμε (sas parakaloúme)
  • thank you –  ευχαριστώ (efcharistó)
  • baked – ψημένη (psiméni)
  • fried – τηγανητό (tiganitó)
  • grilled – ψημένο (psiméno)
  • roasted – ψητό (psitó)
  • steamed – στον ατμό (ston atmó)
  • hot – ζεστό (zestó)
  • warm – ζεστός (zestós)
  • cold – κρύο (krýo)
  • bitter – πικρός (pikrós)
  • salty – Αλμυρός (almyrós)
  • spicy – αρωματώδης (aromatódis)
  • sweet – γλυκός (glykós)
  • allergic – αλλεργικός (allergikós)
  • bathroom – τουαλέτα (toualéta)

Watch this video to hear how letters and words sound in Greek.

Greek food to try

  • flaming saganaki – flambéed cheese
  • kaimaki – stretchy Greek ice cream
  • moussaka – Greek beef and eggplant lasagna
  • souvlaki – grilled skewered meats and vegetables

Interested in learning about other cuisines around the world? Discover food terms from other countries here.

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