What to eat in Poland? typical dishes, tips and curiosities about Polish cuisine

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Lluis Enric Mayans

wikipedia.org, lonelyplanet.com

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Polish cuisine is extremely varied and it is difficult to trace its origins with certainty. The modern kuchnia polska is in fact the result of the numerous influences from the populations that have occupied the area over the centuries, leaving their imprint on culinary fashion: in fact, among all, the suggestions of German, Italian, Jewish and French cuisine can be noted.

Carbohydrates and meats (pork, poultry and game) are the main ingredients of the dishes, accompanied by mushrooms, herbs and products from the country's vast forests. There is no shortage of freshwater fish and fruit on the menus, while soups and broths are also very popular.

But what are the 10 most typical dishes of Polish cuisine? Let's find out, along with the tastiest sweets and drinks most consumed by the locals.


  1. 10 Typical Polish dishes
  2. Typical sweets of Poland
  3. Drinks and liqueurs: what people drink in Poland
  4. Tips and trivia: where to eat and what to avoid
  5. User questions and comments

10 Typical Polish dishes

1 - Pierogi

When it comes to traditional Polish dishes, one can only start with the famous pierogi. These crescent-shaped ravioli stuffed with cheese, cabbage, cheese or meat, they are a real pleasure for the palate and are appreciated by both locals and tourists. Steamed or in a pan, typically served with toasted bacon and onion, butter or sour cream.

La sweet version has instead a filling consisting of fruit and sugar and can be accompanied by melted butter to give life to an irresistible temptation.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 3,00 / € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: flour, eggs, potatoes, ricotta, meat, cheese

2 - Bigos

Another famous Polish typical dish is bigos: one stew with meat, sauerkraut, cabbage and spices. This hearty dish can be prepared with additional ingredients in addition to the basic ones, such as prunes, mushrooms, bacon, onion, sausage and tomato.

A kind of calorie-rich Polish stew which is well suited to withstand the harsh winters of the country. Super greedy, it is without a doubt one of the most popular specialties and to be tested personally, if you venture into an exploration of Poland.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 7,00 / € 8,00
  • Main ingredients: sauerkraut, meat, spices

3 - Zapiekanka

What do you eat as a snack in Poland? A zapiekanka! Typical of Polish street food, the zapiekanka is one sort of open and seasoned baguette with cheese, tomato, sautéed mushrooms and often ketchup or mayonnaise.

Il cost of this dish is very low but the energy it offers is really a lot. This sort of large bruschetta is then toasted until the cheese melts, making it one perfect snack at any time of day or night.

  • Recommended to: every hour, as a snack
  • Average cost: around € 2,00
  • Main ingredients: bread, cheese, ketchup, mushrooms, tomato

4 - Zurek

On the tables of Poland there is one thing that never fails: soups. There are many variations, each with unique ingredients. The zurek is there exceptional Polish soup, made of fermented rye flour, legumes, potatoes, hard-boiled eggs, mushrooms, onions, bacon and sausage.

What makes zurek even more typical is the fact that it usually comes served inside a loaf of bread without crumb: a truly original presentation. Born as dish to celebrate Easter, today it is consumed for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

  • Recommended to: breakfast lunch dinner
  • Average cost: around € 3,00 / € 4,00
  • Main ingredients: rye flour, potatoes, meat, eggs

5 - Chlodnik

Soups in Poland also have their summer version. To represent them one above all: the chlodnik. A cold soup with an unmistakable shocking pink color, given to her by one of its main ingredients, beets. Along with radishes, cucumbers, yogurt and hard-boiled eggs, beets give this signature dish a truly unique flavor.

To be consumed strictly fresh, is a riot of color and taste. Hard-boiled eggs are usually used as a garnish, and stand out against the purplish tint of this original soup.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 4,00 / € 5,00
  • Main ingredients: radishes, beets, cucumbers, yogurt

6 - Kiełbasa

The kielbasa is one of the staple foods of Polish cuisine. It's about a sausage stuffed, available in different versions and interpretations. Kielbasa means sausage in Polish, and is one of the excellences of these areas.

The kiełbasa is available in many variations: smoked or fresh, made with pork, beef, chicken, turkey or lamb. Each region of the country has its own typical kielbasa, all different but all united in short by being a typical Polish dish to lick your mustache.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: € 2,00 / € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: stuffed meat, spices

7 - Barszcz

Barszcz is a red beet broth (yes, the red color often comes back on the Polish table) that is served hot with gnocchi or tortellini. In addition to being an excellent broth to use as a first course, it is also a perfect hot drink to accompany sausages or grilled meat.

It is widespread in many eastern countries and is rich in vegetables, such as beets and celery, aromatic herbs such as bay leaves and marjoram. The secret to keeping the broth bright red is thevinegar added during the boiling of the water along with beets and spices. It is also used to put some cooking cream in the broth thus obtained, before serving it together with the ravioli. Another explosion of color on the table.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 4,00 / € 6,00
  • Main ingredients: beets, vinegar, spices

8 - Gołąbki

Golabki is very common in Polish cuisine, and consists of blanched cabbage leaves wrapped around ground beef or pork prepared with rice, barley and chopped onion. It is essentially about vegetable rolls, made tasty by the mix of cereals and meats that enclose.

They are about the size of a fist, and they are often seen on Christmas tables in Poland or on the occasion of important family ceremonies. Succulent and rich in all the main nutrients: proteins, carbohydrates and fibers are not lacking in these little treasures with a unique taste.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 5,00 / € 7,00
  • Main ingredients: beef or pork, cabbage, cereals

9 - Placki ziemniaczane

This dish has an unpronounceable name but a very simple essence: in fact, they are potato pancakes, enriched with onion, flour, chives and eggs. To the dough, consisting of the listed ingredients, is given the shape of a small pancake which is then fried in boiling oil.

These already delicious pancakes are then covered with meat sauce or with different tasty sauces based on mushrooms or vegetables. To be consumed strictly hot.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 2,00 / € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: potatoes, onion, flour

10 - Mizeria

If you feel like afresh and light but tasty salad, choose the mizeria. A name that recalls the tradition of poor cuisine, for a dish that gives great satisfaction to the palate.

E' used as a refreshing side dish for main dishes and is prepared with sliced ​​or grated cucumbers, onion, sour cream, salt and pepper and a drizzle of lemon juice. Some also add dill, chives, mint or parsley. IS' one of the most popular salads in Poland.

  • Recommended to: Lunch Dinner
  • Average cost: around € 4,00
  • Main ingredients: cucumbers, sour cream, onion, salt and pepper

Typical sweets of Poland

In the menu of this country with a rich culinary panorama there is certainly no shortage of desserts. Also fruit of foreign influences that have merged over time with local traditions, Polish sweets have character and personality, and manage to combine distant roots with innovation and experimentation.

there confectionery preparations symbol of festivities and consumed on special occasions throughout the year, as well as sweet snacks commonly sold on premises all over Poland. Cheesecakes, donuts, gingerbread: Poland has a confectionery tradition to be tasted.

1 - Paczki

The paczki is there Polish donut par excellence, and also one of the most common sweet snacks that can be found on the roads of Poland. It is essentially the Polish version of donuts!

Round and fluffy, the paczki can be stuffed with different types of filling, for example strawberry or rose preserves, liqueur, sweet ricotta, pudding or chocolate. They succeed in short, to satisfy all tastes. The donuts are fried in hot oil and served covered with powdered sugar or cocoa.

  • Average cost: around € 1,00 / € 2,00
  • Main ingredients: flour, ricotta, chocolate, fruit preserves

2 - Piernik

The piernik is a famous spicy dessert with an intense and very characteristic taste. It is a cake made of wheat flour, rye flour, sugar, eggs, milk, and honey. L'dough flavored with different spices like cinnamon, ginger, cardamom and anise it takes on a very particular flavor.

A kind of Polish gingerbread in conclusion, prepared for the Christmas period. The preparation of piernik is not the simplest, and requires some cooking experience. The final result, however, is certainly noteworthy.

  • Average cost: around € 2,50 / € 3,00
  • Main ingredients: wheat flour, rye, sugar, eggs, spices

3 - Sernik

A cheesecake, with a base of biscuits (like digestive or ladyfingers) covered with jelly. The sernik is one of the most popular sweets in Poland.

Il its main ingredient is sweet ricotta, and within the Polish borders many different types of sernik can be found, differing in taste, composition and preparation methods. The cheesecake can be for example uncooked or baked in the oven and then freely decorated on the surface with fruit, chocolate or jelly.

  • Average cost: around € 4,00
  • Main ingredients: ricotta, biscuits, fruit

4 - Babka

This typical Easter cake, also known as baba, has the classic shape of a donut, a leavened dough with a hole in the center. A tall and soft dessert, traditionally prepared to celebrate Easter. While simple as composition base, it is then garnished with cocoa, almonds, candied fruit or icing. One of the versions also requires white or dark chocolate in the dough, melted in a bain-marie.

The sweet owes its name to grandmothers: babka means little grandmother in Ukrainian, Russian and other Eastern languages. It is widespread in many Eastern European countries and in Poland in particular it has found its best expression.

  • Average cost: around € 3,00 / € 4,00
  • Main ingredients: flour, potato starch, yeast, butter, sour cream, sugar

Drinks and liqueurs: what people drink in Poland

What do you drink in Poland? To throw down all the mouthwatering traditional Polish dishes, they serve equally distinctive drinks. No, vodka is not the only drink consumed in Poland, although it is widespread and its presence is constant. Given the country's often cool temperatures, hot drinks are very popular or that somehow manage to warm the heart and stomach in the harsh Polish winters.

1 - Tea and infusions: the kompot

Well yes, let's start with a much softer and non-alcoholic drink than vodka and talk about tea. In Polish homes, a teapot or kettle is never missing, and it is it is common practice to warm up by drinking regenerating drinks, like a nice boiling tea or fruit infusions, often during meals.

Every family in Poland has for example the his personal recipe for an excellent kompot, a drink made from boiled fruit. There are those who do it with fresh or dried apples, with blueberries or plums or with cherries and spices. A kind of non-alcoholic punch that warms the bones and quenches thirst.

  • Average cost: around € 2,00
  • Main ingredients: water, fruit, spices

2 - Vodka

Impossible not to mention it: vodka in Poland, as in many other eastern countries, it is particularly widespread, a tradition to drink it in company, during family reunions or with friends. Among the most popular are the Belvedere, the Chopin, the Luksusowa, the Goldwasser, the Biala Dama. There Zubrowka is instead drunk with a little apple or pear juice or accompanied by a cucumber.

The commonly called cocktail is ubiquitous in recent times in Polish pubs Wściekły Pies. This unusual drink is cheap as well as unusual in composition. The basic ingredient is obviously the vodka which is then mixed with raspberry juice and a few drops of Tabasco. A drink for the strongest, of palate and stomach. In addition to vodka, beer and wine are in any case commonly consumed also in Poland, which boasts not disappointing wine and brewery productions.

  • Average cost: around € 1,00 / € 2,00
  • Main ingredients: alcohol

3 - Nalewka

From the union of alcohol and softer and sweeter ingredients, drinks such as la nalewka, an alcoholic extract of fruit, flowers, roots or herbs. The alcohol percentage of nalewka is generally at least 40/50% thus configuring itself as a fairly strong drink.

E' often homemade in the traditional way. In its dry version, nalewka goes well with meat-based meals, while the sweeter version serves as a dessert liqueur.

  • Average cost: around € 2,00 / € 2,50
  • Main ingredients: alcohol, fruit, spices

Tips and trivia: where to eat and what to avoid

Polish cuisine can be very different to an Italian palate from what you are used to and even a little heavy, due to the particularly consistent and caloric dishes. Quality restaurants and clubs are scattered throughout Poland, but if you want to opt for fast street food this country offers good opportunities, offering excellent street food.

Also, they are numerous markets of organic products or stalls where they sell ready-made food prepared in a homemade way. In short, wherever you are in Poland, the golden rule is only one: to taste! You will certainly not regret your adventure through new flavors and on your return you will have something very tasty to tell.

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