Does a bear...well, you know how the saying goes, and YES, Greece has fast food.
If you seeking the American culture there’s McDonald’s, Starbucks, Domino’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Mrs. Field’s Cookies, and Subway to name a few.
But for authentic Greek fast food, there are the street vendors and local tavernas which offer a selection of souvlaki, fries, salad, pita, and tzatziki.
In America you can think of souvlaki as shishkebab (pieces of pork, chicken, or beef grilled on a stick). These marinated and tender pieces of meat are often used in gyros along with tomatoes, onions, lettuce, tzatziki, garnished with a few fries and wrapped in pita bread. Great for anyone on the go.
Souvlaki can also be called "kalamaki" which means "stick", and in Greece the Gyros sandwich is simply called a "pita".
Like a good Angus beef burger in the states, the gyros sandwich is a very versatile food. Although versatile there are few standard ingredients:
- Tzatziki, and
- A great deal of spices (salt, black and red pepper).
One thing that sets apart an authentic Greek gyros are the french fries which are stuffed right into the sandwich! For vegetarians, just ask them to leave off the meat or replace it with Falafel.
Choose your meat
The "Gyros" meat, with which most Americans are familiar and for which gives the name to the food, consists of minced pork slowly roasted by turning around on a vertical spit (gyros in Greek means "something that goes around").
If you’re an American and looking for that Chicago Gyros for which you are so accustom, don’t plan on getting it in Greece. Greek Street Food vendors use hand-stacked lamb/beef spits, not the processed gyro meat cone.
You may also have your sandwich made with the "souvlaki" meat (without the stick of course) which is made of grilled pork, chicken or beef cubes. In this case you would order your gyro sandwich "me kalamaki".
Paper, no forks
Accepting a gyros sandwich the authentic Greek way means it comes wrapped in a piece of paper. Like in a Chinese restaurant, utensils are for the weak. And like a lobster dinner, grab a handful of napkins - maybe even wear one as a bib. There is a less messy option, you can request that your sandwich be served as a gyros bowl. With the bowl or plate you can use utensils (and less napkins).
Tavernas or Greek Street food vendors that offer gyros and souvlaki are inexpensive. The Tavernas may offer the food as a take-out option. This is a great way to eat outdoors and take in some of the culture passing by.