Måltid i Stockholm – Grekiska Kolgrillsbaren

I walked around the food court looking for something cheap and good, and spied the longest queue I could find. It wasn’t hard, there was a clear winner, with all sorts of clients standing queuing up for it and if there is anything I know about finding good food its this axiom – go where the queue is. I didn’t even know what I was eating, except that there was a long queue. Only when I looked up did I figure out that it was Greek.

The demographics of Stockholm have a unique group of immigrants found less often in other parts of Europe – Greeks. Many are higher educated individuals who arrive in Sweden (thanks to the freedom of movement guaranteed by being part of the European Union) who arrive here to find work and better their lives.

It stands to reason then, that delicious Greek food would be found in Stockholm before long. The most well known perhaps is the chain Grekiska Kolgrillsbaren. Set up in 1999 by a trio of Greek brothers, Grekiska Kolgrillsbaren has grown into a franchise with 27 outlets all around Sweden.

Greek cuisine takes from both the Mediterranean culture which tends to be more herb-inspired, seafood-based and refreshing, as well as the northern European cuisine that tends to be more potato and meat-based, heavier and filling. Most of these cuisines take from the environment where the people live. Being located at the Meditterranean and also inspired by the inland cultures of the Baltics, Greek food has both characteristics. I think this Greek TV series on the Journey of Greek Food is quite amazing.

It came to my turn to order, “what do you want?”

“Eh, eh…” I didn’t actually take a look, at the menu, so I ordered what the guy in front of my ordered and the only dish I could pronounce, “eh… Gyros with rice.”

Gyros is inspired by the Turkish Doner Kebab and is made of meat cooked over a spit fire and usually served with a flatbread and a dollop of tzatziki sauce (a yogurt based dip sauce). The middle eastern comparison would be shawarma. The dish was created by the Turks at the time of the Ottoman empire and made its way down to Athens by migrants from Anatolia and the Middle East at the end of World War II.

It didn’t take long before a big plate of meat burying rice underneath was served up, a plate that was larger than the sizer of my face. Eating the meat reminded me of eating a shawarma or the kebab pizza, meat with a rich sauce sprayed over it, a sourish tzatziki sauce to cut the richness and a side of pickled chili (not forgetting some vegetables for colour). It was modern Greek food, not the stereotypical version but Greek nonetheless.

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