What’s Souvlaki is another short story of which I have started writing small anecdotes from our trips. As I mentioned before, on our first trip to Greece, my husband Steve and I knew next to nothing about the country. We definitely did not know the customs, culture, food, or language.
We were staying on the island of Milos and had been enjoying exploring this wonderful paradise. It was October, 2018 and Milos was not as touristy as other islands at that time. We felt like we had the place to ourselves as there were few tourists the entire time we were on the island. Although it was a foreign country to us, we felt comfortable everywhere we went.
After a full day of roaming, we were starving so we walked the short distance to Pollonia, a small village near our hotel. It was a beautiful night with stars shining above and a cool breeze blowing. The village was winding down for the season, few stores were open and not many people were around. We were enjoying the relaxed vibes of the Greek way of life.
Arriving in the village we walked past the restaurants and tavernas. The quiet sounds of the small village gave the atmosphere a relaxing vibe. We loved the delicious aroma of Greek spices that lingered in the air as we walked past tavernas. We agreed on a taverna along the seaside. A gentleman greeted us and led us to a table along the water. He chatted with us and informed us the taverna was a family business with his mother as the cook! We were also excited that he spoke English. Although we soon learned that many people in Greece speak English along with their native Greek. The table along the water was a bonus as we could hear the sea ripple in the breeze.
While the waiter grabbed our drinks, we looked over the menu. Even though I had done a little research, we had no idea what many of the Greek dishes were. The friendly waiter returned and willingly and descriptively answered our questions. Totally killing the pronunciation, my husband asked, “Can you tell me what’s Soulvlaki?” The waiter smiled and informed him it was pieces of chicken marinated in spices and grilled on a skewer, he also added it was very tasty. My husband replied, “Oh, it’s like a kebab”. The waiter appeared offended and a bit taken aback. He firmly corrected my husband and said passionately, “No, not a Kebab. Not at all a Kebab! You want a kebab, you go to a different country. It’s Souvlaki, better than a kebab.”
With that affirmation I ordered the Souvlaki. Steve, not surprisingly, ordered the shrimp. Not quite sure of what Greek marinaded chicken would taste like, I was excited to find out. To my delight, it was the best flavored grilled chicken I have ever tasted, the fries and pita bread were also delicious. These perfectly grilled tender chicken pieces were flavored with lemon and spices.
To this day, even though I have had Souvlaki many times, I think back to my first Souvlaki in Milos. I still remember it as the best I have ever eaten. By the way, neither my husband or I have ever compared souvlaki to a kebab again!!