What’s the food like in Poland?
Food in Poland is all about delicious regional dishes and traditional specialities. For family recipes that date back centuries, visit mountain villages like Zakopane. In the cities, old favourites are given a modern twist, and quick bites are popular. Head to Kraków to find streetside cafés serving up excellent-value treats made with local ingredients.
With so much to see and do in Poland, you’re sure to build up an appetite. Here are our top five dishes to try during your trip.
The national dish of Poland, you’ll find bigos in nearly every local restaurant, either as a starter or a main course. Often translated as ‘hunter’s stew’, it’s a flavoursome mix of pickled cabbage, tomatoes and tender chunks of meat like pork, rabbit and venison – plus the key ingredient, Polish spicy sausage.
One of the most famous Polish cheeses, oscypek is known for its smoky, salty taste. It was invented in the Podhale region in the 14th century, and is made with the fresh milk of local mountain sheep. Look out for it in Zakopane’s traditional restaurants or at cheese carts along the main street. It’s especially good when grilled like halloumi or served on toast and topped with tangy cranberry sauce.
You can grab a portion of pierogi as a quick snack or light bite from most restaurants in Poland. This dumpling-style treat is made with noodle dough, like a cross between ravioli and dim sum. They were traditionally filled with mashed potato but nowadays you’ll find a whole menu of flavours to choose from – from cheese and meat varieties served with crispy onions and soured cream, to sweet ones stuffed with forest fruits.
Zapiekanka is a great on-the-go option. This open baguette is typically covered in pizza-style toppings like sautéed mushrooms and cheese, and then toasted. But these days, varieties like Hawaiian or Greek-style, with feta cheese and olives, are popular too. In Kraków, zapiekanka is a cheap street-food staple, and you can get them to take away at most streetside cafés and restaurants just off the main square.
Found in the highlands of the Podhale region where they originated, these traditional potato cakes are made with boiled potatoes, flour, water and salt. The ingredients are mashed together and flattened into a disk, which is then baked on a griddle so it’s crispy on the outside and soft in the middle. You can eat moskole plain, but they’re even more delicious served with a creamy mushroom sauce, garlic butter or soft sheep’s cheese.
Feeling hungry? Tuck into these favourites on a city break to Kraków or head to the hills in Zakopane. You can also combine the city lights and the Polish countryside on a multi-destination holiday to Poland.
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