So, you are visiting Poland and you are not sure what to eat. Well, we can guarantee that you won’t go hungry in this beautiful country and there are a few amazing dishes that you should not miss on your trip to Poland.
Visiting a new country can be daunting especially not knowing what the local cuisine is like. There is nothing like getting hungry after a long day of sightseeing and going to bed hungry after choosing the wrong meal.
So here is our ultimate guide to the best traditional Polish food to try on your holiday in Poland. Eating in Poland is a real treat.
- The best Polish foods you can't miss
- Best Polish desserts to try
- Best Polish drinks to try
- More Poland inspiration
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The best Polish foods you can’t miss
Food is one of the biggest reasons to visit a new country. It is a great way to experience the way of life in that country and at times a great way to get to know the locals. Sitting down for a meal is a great way to start the day or end a wonderful day of sightseeing.
After our many trips to Poland we have decided to put together our list of tried and tested best Polish food to try so you can eat your way through Poland with confidence.
Pierogi – most popular and best Polish food to try
Pierogi are one of the most popular traditional Polish foods dish made of unleavened dough filled with various fillings such as mashed potatoes, sauerkraut, meat, cheese, and fruits. They are typically boiled and then fried or served with butter and onions.
They can be served as a main dish or a side dish. Some popular varieties include pierogi ruskie (potato and cheese), pierogi z mięsem (meat), and pierogi z owocami (fruit). Pierogi can be found at most Polish restaurants and are also a popular street food but they are the best Polish food to try.
Żurek, also known as Polish sour soup, is a traditional soup made from fermented rye flour and flavoured with bacon, sausage, and vegetables. It is typically served with boiled potatoes and hard-boiled eggs.
Some variations also include mushrooms or sauerkraut. It is often served as a first course during Easter or Sunday lunch. It is hearty, warming, and full of flavour.
Bigos, also known as Polish hunter’s stew, is a traditional Polish dish made with a combination of sauerkraut, diced meat (such as pork, beef, or sausage), and various vegetables like onions, carrots, and mushrooms.
It is often slow-cooked for several hours, giving it a rich and complex flavour. Bigos is typically served with bread or potatoes and is considered a hearty and comforting meal, perfect for cold winter days. It is considered one of the national dishes of Poland and is one of the best Polish food to try.
Zapiekanka is a popular dish in Poland, especially in Warsaw, similar to a pizza. It is made with a long, thin baguette-like bread that is cut in half and topped with various ingredients such as mushroom, cheese, and ketchup.
It’s often served as a quick snack, street food, or as a light dinner. It’s a simple yet delicious and satisfying dish that is enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.
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Kotlet Schabowy, also known as a breaded pork cutlet, is a popular dish in Poland. It is made by pounding a pork loin or pork chop to a thin cutlet shape, breading it, and then frying it. It is often served with potatoes and a side of vegetables or salad.
It is a classic and traditional dish that is enjoyed by many in Poland and is considered one of the must-try dishes while visiting the country. One of the best ways to sample this dish is on a food tour in Krakow with Viator.
Kielbasa, also known as Polish sausage, is a traditional-smoked pork sausage dish from Poland. It is made from pork, beef, or a combination of both, and is often flavoured with garlic and marjoram.
Kielbasa can be served cooked over an open fire or smoked and is often served as a main course with sauerkraut, potatoes, or bread. It can also be sliced and used as a topping for sandwiches or pizzas.
Other popular ways to serve Polish kielbasa include grilling it and serving it with mustard and horseradish, or serving it in a hearty stew. Kielbasa is a staple of Polish cuisine and is commonly found in markets and delis throughout Poland.
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Sauerkraut is a traditional Polish dish made from shredded fresh cabbage. The fresh cabbage is then fermented in water with salt and spices. It is often served as a side dish, but can also be used as an ingredient in other dishes such as Bigos and kielbasa.
Sauerkraut is a great source of probiotics and vitamins C and K. It is also low in calories and high in fibre, making it a healthy addition to any meal.
Some popular ways to prepare sauerkraut include sautéing it with onions and bacon or serving it as a topping for sausages or pierogi. You will also find Polish cabbage rolls are popular.
Oscypek is a traditional smoked cheese made from salted sheep milk. It is a protected traditional product in the European Union and can only be produced in certain regions of Poland, primarily in the Tatra Mountains.
Oscypek is typically served as a snack or appetizer, often with cranberry sauce, and can also be used in dishes such as pierogi. It has a unique smoky flavour and is considered a delicacy in Poland.
Polish cabbage rolls
Polish cabbage rolls, also known as “gołąbki” in Polish, are a classic and popular dish in Poland. They consist of cooked cabbage leaves stuffed with a filling made of ground meat (usually pork or beef), rice, onions, and spices. The rolls are then typically baked or simmered in a flavorful tomato sauce.
Polish cabbage rolls are often served as a main course, accompanied by boiled or mashed potato and a simple salad. They are a hearty and comforting dish that is perfect for colder weather and is a great way to sample traditional Polish cuisine.
Rosol is a traditional Polish soup made with chicken or veal broth and often served with small dumplings called kluski. It is a popular dish, especially during the colder months.
Some variations of Rosol include adding vegetables such as carrots, parsley root, and celery, and sometimes even adding cream or sour cream to make it richer. It is usually served as a first course in traditional Polish cuisine in the winter months.
Zakąska is a traditional Polish dish that can be served as an appetizer or a side dish. It typically consists of a variety of different types of sliced meats and sausages, along with pickled vegetables such as cucumbers, onions, and peppers.
The meats and sausages are usually served on a platter, with pickled vegetables on the side. Some common meats that are used in zakąska include kielbasa, ham, and salami, while the sausages can include kiełbasa, kaszanka, and kabanos.
Some variations may also include bread or crackers, and it is often served with a variety of mustard and other dipping sauces.
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Tartare is a dish made from finely chopped raw minced meat or fish, usually served with an accompaniment such as capers, onions, and raw egg yolk.
In Poland, it is commonly made with beef and served with a variety of condiments, such as mustard, chopped onions or horseradish sauce. It is a typically eaten as a starter or appetizer and can be found in many traditional Polish restaurants.
Goulash with authentic Polish potato pancakes
Goulash with Potato Pancake is a traditional dish in Poland, which is a hearty stew made with beef, onions, and paprika. The dish is usually served with a side of potato pancakes, which are made with grated potatoes, flour, and eggs.
The goulash is typically slow-cooked to perfection, with wild mushrooms and onion resulting in a rich and flavourful dish that’s perfect for a cold winter evening.
The potato pancakes add a nice contrast of texture and are a great way to soak up the delicious sauce. This dish is a must-try for anyone who loves hearty and comforting meals.
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Frytki, also known as French Fries in English, is a popular side dish in Poland. They are typically made by cutting potatoes into thin strips and deep frying them until crispy. They can be served as a side dish for main meals or as a snack on their own when you are looking for good street food in Poland.
They are often served with ketchup, mayonnaise, or other dipping sauces. Some restaurants may also offer Frytki as a topping for sandwiches or burgers.
Pork Knuckle – delicious Polish dishes
Pork knuckle, also known as hock or shank, is a traditional dish in Poland. It is typically slow-cooked with a variety of seasonings and spices and often served with a side of sauerkraut, potato dumplings or fries.
The meat is tender and flavourful, and the skin is crispy. It is a hearty and comforting dish that is often enjoyed during colder months. It is also commonly served in beer gardens and pubs.
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Polish pickled cucumbers, also known as “ogórki kiszone” in Polish, are a staple in Polish cuisine and are widely enjoyed as a snack or side dish. They are typically made by fermenting small cucumbers in a mixture of water, salt, and dill, along with other flavourings like garlic and mustard seeds.
They are a delicious and healthy snack option, as they are low in calories and high in fibre and vitamins. When you visit Poland, you can easily find pickled cucumbers in supermarkets and at local markets, and they are often served in restaurants and cafes as a traditional side dish.
Best Polish desserts to try
After a hearty Polish meal you may want to end the night with something sweet! These are the best Polish desserts to try but you can also get them on the run as a quick snack too.
Lody is the Polish word for ice cream. In Poland, you can find a wide variety of flavours and styles of ice cream, including traditional favourites like vanilla, chocolate, and strawberry, as well as more unique flavours like rose petals and sweet cheese.
You can also find traditional ice cream shops and street vendors selling ice cream in cones or cups. Many restaurants and cafes also offer a selection of homemade ice cream.
Makowiec, also known as Polish poppy seed roll, is a traditional Polish pastry made with a sweet yeast dough and a filling of ground poppy seeds mixed with honey, butter, and sometimes nuts or raisins.
It is often served during holidays and special occasions, such as Christmas and Easter. It is usually served as a dessert, but can also be enjoyed as a sweet breakfast or snack in Poland.
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Gofry, also known as Belgian waffles, is a popular street food in Poland. They are made from a dough of flour, eggs, milk, and yeast and are typically served with toppings such as fruit, chocolate, or whipped cream.
They are crispy on the outside and soft on the inside and are often served as a sweet treat or dessert. They are popular street food and can be found at street vendors, fairs and festivals, and some cafes.
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Best Polish drinks to try
Every country has a signature drink and Poland is no exception. While you are enjoying the best Polish food to try you should try and pair it with a traditional drink too.
Kompot is a traditional Polish fruit drink made from cooked fruit (such as plums, cherries, apples, or berries) and sweetened with sugar. It is often served cold as a refreshing beverage, and can also be used as a topping for pancakes or ice cream.
It is a non-alcoholic drink and is very popular in Poland during the summertime. It is also considered a healthy drink as it is made of fresh fruits.
There are some that will knock your socks off and others that will warm you on a cold day but no matter what ones you try Polish vodka is not for the faint-hearted. Polish vodka is typically made from rye or wheat and undergoes a rigorous distillation process to achieve its smooth taste.
One of the most famous brands of Polish vodka is Belvedere, which is made exclusively from Polish rye and is known for its purity and smoothness. Another famous brand is Chopin, which is made from hand-selected potatoes and is known for its creamy texture and subtle sweetness.
Polish vodka is often enjoyed neat or on the rocks, but it can also be used in cocktails such as the popular martini or Bloody Mary. In Poland, it is often consumed with traditional dishes such as smoked meats or pickled vegetables.
What is Polish food culture like?
Polish food culture is known for its hearty, flavorful, and comforting dishes that often use simple ingredients and traditional cooking methods. The cuisine is heavily influenced by the country’s geography, climate, and history, and features a mix of Slavic, German, and Jewish culinary traditions.
What are the top 10 Polish foods?
Some of the top 10 Polish foods include pierogi (dumplings), bigos (cabbage stew), kielbasa (sausage), gołąbki (cabbage rolls), żurek (sour rye soup), barszcz (beet soup), kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), oscypek (smoked cheese), placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes), and makowiec (poppy seed cake).
What are the prices like for food in Poland?
The prices for food in Poland can vary depending on the location and the type of establishment. Generally, street food and casual restaurants tend to be more affordable, while upscale restaurants and cafes can be more expensive. However, compared to many other European countries, Poland is known for its relatively low cost of living, and visitors can find many delicious and affordable food options.
What are some popular Polish food and drink options?
Some popular Polish food and drink options include pierogi (dumplings), kielbasa (sausage), bigos (cabbage stew), vodka, beer, and kompot (fruit drink). Poland is also known for its excellent breads, pastries, and desserts.
What are some traditional Polish foods?
Some traditional Polish foods include pierogi (dumplings), bigos (cabbage stew), kielbasa (sausage), gołąbki (cabbage rolls), żurek (sour rye soup), barszcz (beet soup), kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), oscypek (smoked cheese), placki ziemniaczane (potato pancakes), and makowiec (poppy seed cake).
What is the best Polish food?
The best Polish food is a matter of personal taste, but some of the most beloved dishes include pierogi (dumplings), bigos (cabbage stew), kielbasa (sausage), and gołąbki (cabbage rolls).
What is the Polish national dish?
The Polish national dish is considered to be bigos, a hearty stew made with sauerkraut, meat (usually pork), and a variety of vegetables and spices.
We hope this post has encouraged you to try some of the amazing food in Poland. Polish cuisine has so much to offer visitors looking to broaden their food palate. Stop in at a restaurant by some street food and taste some Polish delicacies.
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Welcome to Poland Travel Expert
The Poland Travel Expert website is run by two travellers who have been to Poland many times. We have visited both large cities and small towns, and have experienced everything from traditional Milk Bars to restaurants.
We have tried Pierogi and Bigos, done shots of Vodka and drank Tyskie beer. In between visits, we have friends in Poland who keep us up to date with the latest events and news in Poland, so we can bring you the best content on Poland Travel Expert.
Author Bio: Mark Wyld
Mark Wyld is a Father, husband, traveller, and writer at Poland Travel Expert and other blogs. I have accumulated a wealth of experience over multiple visits to Poland. Thanks to our friends in Poland, we stay connected to the pulse of the nation, ensuring that our content is up to date with our first hand experience. The information on this website is backed by genuine expertise.