Slang Word “Malaka”

“Visiting Chania, do not forget to try malaka cheese”, advised us a Cretan friend.

He laughed then, looking at our surprised faces.

Yes, “malaka” is a slang word, a dirty one. But sometimes we call our friends that, even as a joke; and no one gets offended”.

It turned out that in translation μαλακός means “soft”, but μαλάκα (also Tiromalama) is well known soft cheese for which Western Crete, especially Chania, are famous. It is made from goat’s and sheep’s milk all year round but even more so during Easter, therefore, for Cretans, Malaka smells of holyday.

Essentially, Malaka is an unripe graviera – tender and really soft. It is good as a stuff for kalitsounia – little cheese pastries, – for saganaki, fried in a pan, as well as for Haniot meat pies and in salads. Chefs often use this cheese instead of mozzarella on pizza, giving the Italian dish a unique Cretan taste.

“In Chania, they love consume graviera before it is ripe and use it in meat pie made from four cheeses and lamb with mint. I like Malaka grilled over charcoal with grilled tomatoes, served on a plate with butter, oregano and hot bread…,” shares one Cretan his taste preferences.

It should be remembered that “malaka” in its slang version is an insult. It expresses disgust towards a dishonest stupid person and can be accompanied by a corresponding gesture – an open palm with outstretched fingers which symbolizes smearing a mix of soft manure and ash on the face.

Since the Middle Ages the word has meant a soft female butt, so tourists should be careful when using unfamiliar word and gestures. The above gesture, which means thank to a driver, can be regarded in Greece as an insult.