GREEK STREET FOOD

souvlaki... a Greek delicacy of 6000 year old history


The word souvlaki is a diminutive of the Greek souvla (spit), itself borrowed from the Latin word subula. But the origins of souvlaki date back to ancient Greece. It was known with the name obeliskos (dim. of obelos –spit), mentioned by among others in the works of Aristophanes, Xenophon, Aristotle etc.

A meat and bread recipe which resembles the way pita souvlaki is served today with pita bread was also attested by Athenaeus in his “Deipnosophistae” and called the plate kandaulos. The skewered kebab-like recipe existed as a favourite in ancient Greece during Archaic times, as the earliest references are attested in Homer. However, excavations held in Akrotiri on the Greek island of Santorini by professor Christos G. Doumas, unearthed stone sets of barbecues for skewers (Greek: krateutai) used before the 17th century BC. Even later on, during the Byzantine era, references survive describing street vendors selling souvlakia with pita in Constantinople.
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