Polish cuisine

Pierogi Poland


Observing beautiful views while being abroad provides us with unforgettable pictures which deeply root inside of our memory. The sounds of big city’s streets like Warsaw, calming ambient of a forest on a slope of polish mountains or waves of the Baltic Sea play in a loop right at our eardrums yet for a long time after the return from our beloved destination. However, as sounds, or landscapes for that matter, might be rather tough to take away, fortunately for us polish food isn’t! Cuisine is a wonderful element of each culture which, depending on how involved we wish to get, might tell us a huge lot about the society it originates from! There is a saying stating that cuisine is like a reflection of its culture, and we couldn’t agree more! Usually, regional dishes not only provide us fantastic taste sensations but also come with intriguing stories about the region’s people and their history. And the best part about it is that you can taste it! Literally! Not to mention the possibility of taking some delicious souvenirs back home with you or trying to recreate some of these experiences you already started to miss in your own kitchen and if it’s about Poland... There is a lot to yearn for after departure. What exactly? Here is a foretaste of what you can expect from polish regional cuisines!

Polish Oscypek
Kraków obwarzanek


To begin this journey let’s take a look at Poland’s eastern regions of which the latter doesn’t fully belong to Poland anymore, however Poles who migrated from these lands in the first half of XX century greatly impacted our cuisine, bringing one of the most recognizable polish dishes of them all– pierogi! Ruskie pierogi, which contain a mass of mashed potatoes and cottage cheese are probably the most popular variant of them all originating from the lands of former Kievan Rus, therefore the name.

Podlasie and The Borderland’s cuisine are in general dominated by potatoes, so alongside aforementioned pierogies these regions might fill our stomachs with potatoes babka (babka ziemniaczana) or cepelinais (kartacze). Podlasie is also famous for the tree cake (sękacz) which is a traditional pastry baked over fire as well as for production of the most popular polish vodka –Zubrowka! The region of southern Eastern Borderlands located in a proximity of countries like Belarus and Ukraine is considered to be the point of contact of western and eastern cultures, which led to a development of both on these lands, creating a mix which is clearly visible in the kitchen! This cuisine is characteristic for dishes stemming from jewish culture of which probably wheat oat cake with onion (cebularz) is the most popular one, or meals having their origins already in medieval cookery, characteristic for its simplicity in terms of the ingredients. Having said that, many recipes are based on widely available buckwheat groats, which is a base product for cooking bilgoraj pierogies (pierogi biłgorajskie) similar to classic pierogies just by the name! It’s totally different food worth trying while being on the eastern side of the country. Lublin voivodeship being the capital of the south of the Eastern Borderlands is also greatly prominent for the numerous bee-gardens producing many types of honey!

Pierogi Poland
żubrówka with grass


The voivodeships in which Warsaw is located, Mazovia, and Mazury with its Capital in Olsztyn contain most of classic polish meals that you could’ve heard of! Majority of these dishes are commonly found everywhere in Poland. Of course, as in the whole country there are many places that serve tasty pierogies with many different fillings, duck meat being quite particular for this region. Huner’s stew (bigos), another very prominent polish dish originating from the heart of Poland, made of sour cabbage, mushrooms, chuck steaks and dried plums is commonly heard to be the most favourite dish of many poles! On top of that, it would be a crime not to mention a chicken soup (rosół) for many an obligatory soup on Sunday’s afternoons! Speaking of Sunday, breaded cutlet of pork coated with breadcrumbs (kotlet schabowy) with cooked potatoes is probably the most polish meal you can possibly imagine, often served after rosół as the main dish. Lastly, polish stripe stew (flaki) also deserves to be mentioned, since its consumption in Poland reaches to medieval times of XIV century.

schabowy traditional
Polish bigos


The northern cookery is generally highlighted with kashubian cuisine, which spread all over the region. Taking into account the location of this area, locals used to and still tend to use products obtainable within their grasp, mostly from the forests, lakes and Baltics Sea. For that reason, meals found there are always full of various fish resulting with every type of it that we can imagine! Smoked, fried, cooked... If we’re lucky enough, we might also come across a true delicacy of these regions- eels, highly desired by food lovers, especially smoked ones! Kashubians also use a lot of goose products in their diet. There is a very particular black soup (czernina) made of goose blood or a good paste (okrasa) made of goose meat mixed with herbs and oil used to be spread on a bread.



By taking a look at the southern Poland we can distinguish numerous influences on polish cuisine made by two foreign cultures, which back in the day used to rule over Silesia.: Austrian and German. Obviously, as in the case of eastern cookery, all these recipes found their audience and proper adaptation among polish society, leading to creation of many classics which cannot be passed by during our journey! Focusing on Silesians’ platters first, we are most likely to encounter particular silesian dumplings with a hole in the middle (kluski śląskie), made of potatoes, served with red cabbage, some meat, usually beef or pork, and a sauce. It's one of the most recognizable dinners in Silesian voivodeship and definitely in order to experience this region fully, such meal must be tasted during the journey! Besides, Silesia is known for being the miner's region, where dozens of mineshafts operate every single day and guarantee job positions for tens of thousands of people. Mining industry isn’t an easy one and for that reason, there is a holiday celebrating the miner's endeavours – Barborka (Barbórka). On this day, platters are filled with pork knuckles watered in beer (golonka w piwie), minced cutlets (karminadle), silesian potatoes babka (kartoflak) or mozgołs. There are also some honorable mentions! Famous silesian sousage (kiełbasa śląska) is a must-try as well as two soups –very unusual wodzianka and one of the most delicious polish soups – sour rye soup (żurek), mandatory on every table on Easter Sunday.

traditional polish golonka
traditional polisj żurek


Podhale on the other hand is famous for its cheesy snack, oscypek! Many slightly differing versions of this smoked, salted cheese can be found on every corner of Zakopane or Kraków, especially during the winter season! Famous polish Christmas markets always attract people wanting to taste these snacks since they’re... never there. Only its adaptations! It’s good to know, that since 2008 oscypek is protected with PDO (protected designation of origin) so the recipe, area and time when it can be produced is very strictly limited making it actually impossible to try in winter, since the period when it can be sold ranges from May to October. So, if you’re willing to try the original oscypek and not only its interpretation, then make sure to visit places such as Tatra mountains, Kraków, Zakopane or Rzeszów in summer! Besides, because of the fact that Podhale used to be a very poor region, meals over there were always zero-waste, trying to use as many available products as possible! In this mountainy area we can try kwasnica (kwaśnica), a soup made of sour cabbage with the addition of pork ribs or mutton, or another soup called zuwka (żuwka), which is based on whey, a side product of cheese production, which is also used for preparing a very thirst-quenching drink, zetyca (żętyca)! For dessert, we can expect to find baked yeast dumplings (bombolki) covered with honey and butter or very common back in the day oat crumpets (moskole).

Moskole Podhale cuisine
Polish Oscypek


The land of potatoes! Greater Poland is a real kingdom of potatoes, where they have even their special name differing from polish standard – pyry! Here we can find basically every type of meal based on potatoes in existence. Dumplings with meat (pyzy z mięsem), potatoes crumpets (placki ziemiaczane) and an absolute classic; cooked potatoes served with cottage cheese mixed with cream, onion and chives (pyry z gzikiem). An absolute must try! Besides there is a popular soup based on potatoes called, if directly translated to English, blind fish (ślepe ryby). Talking about Greater Poland, it's absolutely necessary to refer to probably the most important regional event in a year for this voivodeship and its capital, Poznan. November 11th shares two incredibly important holidays; The National Independance Day and the one we focus on, St. Martin's Day which is always happily celebrated along the national fete. In terms of cuisine, on St. Martin's Day people get crazy on point of St. Martin's croissants (rogale świętomarcińskie), the most popular croissants in Poland. Similarly as oscypek, these croissants are produced by following strict rules, making this holiday probably the best occasion to taste them as intended. Obviously, there are tons of other foods out there for you to discover beside those that were introduced in here, however equipped with this knowledge you’ll surely be able to navigate through Poland without any problems in search of the best tastes! Enjoy your trip and have a great meal!

Pyry Poznań cuisine
Rogale świętomarcińskie
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