There is this phenomenon where Americans believe some dish belongs to a foreign cuisine, when in fact the natives don’t eat that at all. For instance, -real- Mexican food does not include the burrito. Authentic Chinese food does not include General Tso’s Chicken, nor even fortune cookies. With that as context, brace yourself for my tale of woe.
I am a bit of a fiend for Greek food, and the prospect of authentic local cuisine was one of the draws of this trip to Corfu. We’ve already had dolmades, saganaki, tzatziki, moussaka, pastitsio, and of course a Greek salad with the most amazing feta cheese I’ve ever encountered. Next on my wish list was lamb gyros with meats thinly sliced right off the skewer.
Imagine my distress to learn that the Greeks don’t really eat lamb gyros. Like, at all. They do mostly pork, some chicken, but no lamb. Say it isn’t so! How can this be?!
The most delightful waiter in the village of Paleokastritsa explained to me that lamb gyros really only came out of the countries with a sizable Muslim population, where pork is haram. That’s where lamb gyros really took root and spread internationally. I decided to try the local pork gyros, and… was very disappointed. Not at all the same. Sigh.
Here’s the kicker. That most delightful waiter, who explained this conundrum to me? He was not Greek at all, but a native German. Globalization, it’s a thing, yo.