The purpose of traveling is innumerable and various, but one of them that cannot help but mention to and ignored is EATING and DRINKING, what else? From Poland traditional dishes to stylized dishes in restaurants, from local instant food to street food, all of them have a wonderful attraction not only for locals but also for foreign visitors! It is not an exaggeration to say that food is one of the most important parts of the culture of this country. So, what to eat in Poland? Let’s check out our suggested top 16 must try food in Poland, best food to eat in Poland in including what is the most popular food in Poland as well as must drinks in Poland, Polish eating tips to find out the answer! If you have the opportunity to travel to Poland, you must try the following dishes!
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Must try food in Poland: Pierogi (Polish Dumplings)
Pierogi is similar to Chinese dumplings, consisting of a dough outer shell and a filling inside, boiled or fried (not steamed). Europeans call it dumpling. This Polish “dumpling” has a various of fillings, from cheese filling, to meat filling with chopped pickled cabbage (Polish pickled cabbage is soft, not crunchy like in my country which often used for stewed dishes, delicious!), vegetable filling, even… sweet jam filling. Moreover, each restaurant also creates its own types of fillings. So, even if you eat Pierogi for 3 meals a day, you still can eat for a whole week. I highly recommend Pierogi with minced meat and pickled cabbage fillings, with gravy and yogurt sauce. The best pierogi I’ve ever tried is venison stew with pepper in Gdansk. So tasty, I want to bite “my tongue” because of its savory.
Best food to eat in Poland: Golonka (Braised Pork Knuckles) & Kotlety Schabowy (Polish Breaded Pork Cutlets)
Braised pork knuckles is certainly not exclusive in Poland, but Poland has been very successful with this dish. Crispy pork skin on the outside, pork fat under the skin as soft as butter, with tender and juicy meat inside, served with baked potatoes or mashed avocado, potatoes, braised pickled cabbage, dip in yogurt or mustard sauce … It’s really delicious, make me want to salivate, mouth-watering. This dish is very delicious in restaurants. But if you visit Poland during Christmas time and try it at the Christmas market, it will be both delicious and cheap. A serving of braised pork knuckles, slices of bread is enough to fill your stomach.
As for the Polish breaded pork cutlets dish, I also list it here but I don’t think it’s too unique. Although it is a typical Polish dish, there is also a schnitzel (meat is pounded out thin, breaded, and fried) in Austria that is more tasty to eat.
Bigos (Polish Hunter’s Stew) and Flaki or Flaczki (Polish Beef Honeycomb Tripe Soup)
Soup, soup, soup and soup. In a cold country, there is nothing better than soup. And Poland is a heaven of soups. Red radish soup (this one has only broth, sour taste, it’s a traditional dish you can try once); zurek soup: Polish Sour Rye Soup (sausage, bacon and sour cream soup, very warm and high in protein); mushroom soup (so delicious, guys); chicken soup with noodles (this is similar to our Vietnamese Pho’s broth, but not as rich); even Hungarian-style beef goulash soup serve with bread is also available everywhere!
But I highly recommend Bigos beef soup with pickled cabbage (Polish Hunter’s Stew) and Beef Honeycomb Tripe Soup. These are the two Polish specialties. Their taste can be said to be the most “complex”, due to the combination of many ingredients. But Zurek smoked sausage cream soup in a loaf is only available in Poland. In fact, I personally especially like mushroom soup! In general, if you have a chance, try them all!
What to eat in Poland: Oscypek Smoked Sheep Cheese
What else to eat in Poland and what is the most popular food in Poland? Cheese, cheese and cheese! Sheep’s Milk Cheese is a specialty of Poland, because the climate in the mountains of Poland, such as Tatra, is very suitable for raising sheep. Of course, eating at local farms is the freshest and best, but don’t miss the opportunity to try this unique cheese. This dish is served hot, rolled on a pan before serving, the taste is light but not too salty and not as greasy as French cheese. Polish people often eat this dish as a snack.
Must try food in Poland: Pickles (cucumber pickles, mushroom pickles) and salted meats (bacon)
I mention these pickles because I am a fan of Eastern European pickles. Polish and Hungarian pickles are so delicious that make you want to “faint”. However, these food are usually not available in restaurants, you can go to the supermarket to buy it!
In addition, Polish bacon (smoked salted meat) is also extremely worth trying. I’ve lived in Italy for three years, having tried every kind of bacon from the supermarket and fresh local produce that comes out of the cellar and is cut right on request, and they have a reason to be proud of their “prosciutto” bacon. In fact, it must be said that perhaps Italian bacon is the best in the world. Perhaps there is only a Spanish Iberico ham that is equally delicious. Although Poland is not particularly famous for its bacon, they still have a wide variety of salt and salami. And especially the salted sausages, they are very rich!
Must drink in Poland: Vodka
Guys, in cold countries are especially biased towards spirits. As famous as Poland for vodka, maybe only Russia. Poland is a vodka heaven, the liquor is very clear and drinkable without feeling alcohol at all, extremely pure, extremely high quality! The price is also surprisingly cheap. You can buy a liter of pure vodka in Poland for less than 10 euros!
Tips: Polish people drink a lot and very well and Poland’s “specialty” are shops specializing in alcoholic beverages. They have a wide range of wines, from flavored spirits to western spirits. They have hundreds of beers. Ask the owner for advice to choose your favorite type! But in Poland it is not allowed to drink on the street.
What about drinks?
Try Polish Dried Fruit Compote
Compote, or Kompot in Polish, is a drink made from dried fruits, drunk hot, extremely rich, flavorful. I especially like this drink in the winter, it helps warm up my body and creates a very “cozy” feeling.
Cooked Mulled Wine
It cannot be said that this is an exclusive wine of Poland, because cooked wine is popular throughout Europe, from France to Italy, from Poland to the Czech Republic. Wherever there is winter, there is mulled wine. In Poland, however, mulled wine is rich and extremely sweet!
I am a fan of tea, especially black teas (earl grey, assam, dajeerling, …). I don’t like spice tea or flower tea or fruit tea very much, because they are usually very fragrant but tasteless. However, Poland is artisan tea’s paradise. They have “billions” of different types of tea, the most famous is lemon tea with cinnamon, anise, or other mixed flower and fruit peel teas. Thanks to the famine years after the Cold War under the Soviet Union, the Poles brought the art of tea making but not from tea leaves to a new level.
Some tips for eating and drinking in Poland
Tip 1: There are many sites that recommend the Traditional Polish Style Stuffed Cabbage Rolls. But I recommend that if you want to try this dish, you should go to Romania. Romania is the country that takes cabbage rolls to the next level!
Tip 2: Similar to Crispy Pork Cutlets, go to Austria to try Schnitzel.
Tip 3: There is a dish that I didn’t mention above is Zapiekanka (aka Polish pizza). This is a toasted open-face sandwich which is made of a sliced baguette or other long roll of bread, topping with sausage, cabbage, cheese and sauce. This dish is a very delicious street food, available everywhere. Making breakfast is great.
Tip 4: I don’t like sweets, so I didn’t try much. But sweets in Poland are extremely cheap, especially in coffee or tea shops. If there was a typical sweet in Poland, I would say apple pie. Although not as “delectable” as Slovenian apple pie, Polish apple pie is extremely “fresh”!
Tip 5: Actually, servings in Poland are huge, you have to be pay attention when ordering. Usually, I only need to eat soup and bread to be full, I don’t dare to try the main dishes. Like braised pork knuckles, enough for two people like me!
Tip 6: You should tip the waiter about 10% of the bill. Service salaries in Poland are very low, so most of them live on tips from customers.
Tip 7: Don’t be surprised if the quality of service in Poland is quite bad: waiters are cold, restaurants charge for bottled water, or you have to go to the counter to order, etc. Although Polish tourism is developing, but the quality of service still has to… “shake your head”.
Tip 8: The average price in Poland is very cheap compared to Western Europe already. For example, I ate a meal in Italy consisting of only noodles (1st dish) and meat (2nd dish), plus a glass of wine, the price must be about 30-40 euros. However, in Poland, 10 euros you will have a good meal. Most of the main dishes are from 7-15 euros (in the restaurants). And if you want to eat cheaper, go to the Milkbar. They are restaurants but like cafeterias, for workers, subsidized by the state. The price is very cheap and the food is also very good.
Above these are my list of must-try dishes in Poland. How about you guys? If you have visited Poland, do you have any additional dishes for me to try?
Some best day tours, trips, activities and transfer services, tickets in, from and to Warsaw you can refer to
- Fryderyk Chopin’s Concert Ticket in Warsaw Old Town
- Warsaw Hop-On Hop-Off City Sightseeing Bus Tour
- Private Warsaw Frederic Chopin Airport (WAW) Transfers for Warsaw
- Best of Warsaw Half Day Tour
- Frederic Chopin Evening Walking Tour in Warsaw
- Warsaw Off the Beaten Path Half Day Tour
Are you looking for more top things to do in Poland: Tours, activities, attractions and other things? Let’s check it out here.