About the food of Poland

A city hall in Poland by Tb808.

Among the cool, rolling hills of Central Europe, which stretch like green tomcats beneath the blue sky, lays Poland … where waters run clear from the city’s industrious lip, all the way to the edge of her spiny mountains.

Situated between Germany and Belarus, the best Polish food  can be summed up by that which is hunted, foraged, or fished.  Under the filtered forest canopy, mushrooms are not just dinner, but a hobby. Fish, straight from the river, is a way of life (think herring, carp, pike, perch, eel, and sturgeon).

View from bridge in Wronki, Poland by Robson1976.

There’s no denying the local love of Pierogi – a dumpling filled with anything from potatoes and cheese to sauerkraut. You might enjoy it fried in butter and onions, served with kielbasa sausage or simply with  just a dollop of sour cream. Speaking of which, sour cream is a “go-to” in Poland, as popular as ketchup here in the United States. You’ll even find this cool, tangy milk product in everything from pie crust to cucumber salad to pierogi (and this time, I don’t mean the garnish, I mean in the filling).

Zamek Moszna. Photo by Fotografikon.

After all that comfort – if you have the room – saddle up to beets. TTry them roasted, boiled in borscht-like soup (barszcz), or in salad. They’re good for you. Every Polish mama will tell you that much. For those who prefer something a little more unique, I read on a Polish travel site that the “oldest Polish dish, and one which cannot be found anywhere else in the world, is the sour żur, a fermented soup made from rye flour and dried bread, served with kiełbasa and a boiled egg.”


Dessert includes apple cake (szarlotka), any sort of nut or poppy seed roll (makowiec), cherry pie, and even sweet prune filled pierogi…. possibly enjoyed with Polish  Żubrówka Vodka, a popular brand that comes complete with a blade of grass from the Białowieża Forest in every bottle.

And why not. Tastier than the tequila worm, I’d imagine.

Those of you who are pregnant can skip the vodka in favor of a Polish pickle feast, either the standard salted (ogórek małosolny) or the sweet and sour (ogórek konserwowy).

Actually, pregnant or not, I’m all about the pickle.

Maps and flag courtesy of CIA World Factbook.



    • Sasha Martin says

      I love the food… you’re lucky to know someone who can share it with you 🙂

  1. Brian S. says

    The closest I’ve been to Poland is Brooklyn. I actually spent 2 days in Poland on summer vacation when I was a kid, touring all of Eastern Europe with my parents. But in Brooklyn there’s a big neighborhood called Greenpoint where nobody speaks English, just Polish. Sausage shops with the sausages hanging from the ceiling, little restaurants that look like a Polish hunting lodge, all Polish. They don’t have the wild game and mushrooms though, but lots of pierogis.

    The history of Poland goes back 1000 years and it’s fascinating. They were a big player in the region in the 14th through 16th centuries. After that, decline. They were ruled by a legislature. This looks like a big advance on monarchy, but each member of the legislature was a nobleman. And ANY member could veto a bill. So if the country were attacked, and just one member opposed the defense law, then the country could not defend itself! So in the 18th century the three neighboring monarchs met and divided the country up between themselves. That’s why, if you read, say, one of I.B. Singer’s wonderful stories and it takes place in Warsaw in 1900, the policeman the hero must deal with is Russian because that part of Poland was part of Russia.

  2. I love the food of Poland ! We ‘ve been there with the family three times, and we love the food and the people ! We spent part of the summer with a family in their summer house, and they made their own pickles, from the garden, in a mixture of water, honey, salt (or sugar ? I don’t really remember) and dill. We had unforgettable pierogis and homemade barszcz – we love anything with sourcream and also found 1 liter kefir cartons ! We are planning to tour Poland next year and see as much of the country as possible.

    • Sasha Martin says

      Oh, yum. You’ll have to get their recipe and try it yourself! I can’t get over the architecture, personally. So neat!

  3. Sandy says

    I am 100% Polish, and this article reminded me of all the foods my grammy and aunts cooked and baked…and still do. We have a huge Polish festival held every year at the Catholic Shrine Our Lady of Czestochowa which draws crowds hundreds of miles away. Thank you for highlighting Poland, their food and their culture. I find it so rich in heritage. I cannot wait to visit there one day with my family.

  4. Thank you for writing about Poland in such nice words. What’s more everything you write is absolutely true, which often does not really happen.
    Greetings from Szczecin, Poland.

  5. Pingback: pierogi, mizeria, szarlotka - Smak Podrozy

  6. Hello, this is very nicely written and acurate, but just one thing, the dish that you called ‘Sauerkraut’ it’s called ‘kapusta kiszona’. It’s basicly the same dish, but it’s called Sauerkraut in Germany and Austria, and in Poland ‘kapusta kiszona’ which means ‘pickled cabbage’. Very nice blog 🙂

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