polishing off polish food

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Polish food is hearty but to us was not in a rich or creamy way. Everything we tried while in Poland was delicious and we never had trouble finishing anything off! Good food like this should never go to waste.

Let’s see what we tried…



The word translates to “big mess’ so picture a stew that uses fresh and pickled cabbage, meat and sausage, onions and mushrooms. All the ingredients thrown together with peppercorns, bay leaves and some other herbs that we couldn’t identify. We are no food connoisseurs but the pickled cabbage (aka sauerkraut) blended well with the rest of the flavours. With each spoonful, there was a burst of flavour.

In one word: flavoursome



These are dumplings and can be found in any Polish restaurant. We were told that if a restaurant doesn’t have pierogi, it is not a real Polish restaurant. We tried fried pierogi filled with meat. The meat was not minced as we expected, it was meat floss and a lot of it. If you have tried meat floss, then you would know the texture is light, fluffy – the pierogi was just that but rather thick and dry.

In one word: dense



Potato cakes, very similar to fritters, served with goulash on top. We tried wild boar goulash with it. The serving was very big and hearty. Plaki has been described as greasy and heavy but we disagree. Where we ate  this dish, the chef cooked them beautifully! There was enough crunch to the crispy shredded potato and the wild boar tasted much like beef. The meat was so tender (probably from being slow cooked).

In one word: hearty



A half baguette (approximately 50 cm long) topped with mushrooms and cheese, toasted in an oven which can be topped with pickles, garlic sauce, tomato sauce, meat , cucumber, tomato and/or onions. A must try as it is considered the ultimate Cracovain drunk food. We bought ours from a kebab shop so it was topped with kebab meat – we chose lamb! Certainly tricky to eat, and you can’t eat it walking around although we saw people doing it. We sat on a door step and dug in with a fork as we couldn’t fit our mouths around the zapiekanka with all the filling.

In one word: filling



If we said goulash instead, everyone would know exactly what we were talking about, right? We had pork goulash on buckwheat. When we ordered this, we had no idea of the size. We also didn’t realize it came with a pickled cucumber. This dish was full of texture; the fluffiness of buckwheat, the crunch and bite of the pickle and the warm, thick meat and gravy. The flavours worked wonderfully together.

In one word: synergistic



This is actually a drink rather than a “food”. It is a dried fruit compote. It looks like tea and is served cold. The flavor is almost like a fruit-flavoured iced tea, the closest dried fruit that comes to mind to describe the taste is prune. We would say the first sip tastes a little unusual but subsequent gulps made the taste grow on us. Not entirely sure we would order it again as it was rather syrupy.

In one word: sweet

So, now we would like to know:

If you have tried Polish food, what is your favourite dish?

And if you haven’t, which one of these would you like to try?

Please leave us a comment here


55 thoughts on “polishing off polish food

    our first month in review « wise monkeys abroad said:
    August 10, 2014 at 9:16 pm

    […] a little surprise package for us. We enjoyed what the country had to offer; its history, food, people and culture. Here we experienced awe as well as sadness. There were moments of joy and […]

    thebritishberliner said:
    August 10, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Yum! It’s bringing back memories… Poland is one of my favourite countries as it’s so near to Berlin where I live! In fact, we went to Poland in April this year to a little town near the sea called – Leba.
    My favourite food is pierogi, delicious fish, and those yummy, creamy waffles that you can have all summer long for under €1!
    p.s. If you want to read more about how to get to the Polish Baltic Sea from Germany, check out my blog (if it’s OK): http://thebritishberliner.com

    turbotroll said:
    August 3, 2014 at 9:13 pm

    Yum! I’m from Buffalo, NY, so I’ve had pierogis before (big Polish descent population) but I wonder how they are at the source! Nice photos from your meal.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      August 4, 2014 at 3:45 am

      Thanks fro your comment!! We will have to try pierogi elsewhere and see how they compare 🙂 But we are pretty sure from the source would be the best!

    wildwanderlings said:
    August 1, 2014 at 2:05 am

    That all looks delicious. You are making me hungry! I haven’t been to Poland, but I have a lot of Polish friends and have been to events down in DC hosted by Polish organizations. If you haven’t already, you should try pączki! They’re essentially doughnuts, and they are delicious. I don’t know how hard it is to find them outside of Fat Thursday (a week before Lent starts), though.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      August 1, 2014 at 2:13 am

      Thanks Victoria for the Polish food tip but we are now in Czech Republic so probably won’t be finding the paczki you refer too!! Sorry for making you hungry! Is it lunch time or dinner wherever you are??

        wildwanderlings said:
        August 1, 2014 at 3:32 am

        It’s lunch time for me right now. Hope you’re enjoying the Czech Republic. ^^

    Ayla said:
    July 31, 2014 at 9:38 pm

    I was not expecting the food to be as good as it was when we visited Poland but it was all so delicious! I don’t eat red meat so unfortunately couldn’t try it all but I loved Pierogi and some of the delicacies we found in Zakopane were gorgeous. Now I’m hungry!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      August 1, 2014 at 1:49 am

      Wasn’t it just delicious everywhere?? Sorry for making you hungry :S
      Hope you have been well and have your next trip planned now 😉

        Ayla said:
        August 1, 2014 at 2:02 am

        Oh don’t ever apologise for making anyone hungry, me especially! I always welcome more food haha!

        Only a weekend to Bath and Oxford planned at the moment as don’t have much holiday time left this year 😦 Where are you guys at the moment? I’m loving following your journey around Europe!

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          August 1, 2014 at 2:05 am

          Oh, isn’t it so annoying how work gets in the way of travelling? 😉 Well, don’t delay – even if you don’t have enough leave yet… you can still plan 😉
          We are in Czech Republic and fly tomorrow to Paris for our next 2.5 weeks in France!! Cannot wait.

    Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya) said:
    July 31, 2014 at 8:22 pm

    I want to try everything!!

    the eternal traveller said:
    July 31, 2014 at 5:20 am

    All this food looks delicious. I’m not sure I would be able to eat that baguette without half the topping falling off though. I’m not surprised you had to sit down to eat it. It wouldn’t be an “on the run” type of meal.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 31, 2014 at 6:01 am

      Hahaha! We are 150%, it would’ve been in our laps had we bit right into it 🙂

      Hope you are well!! Still need to check out your Austria salt mines. Might go do that now 🙂

    Packing my Suitcase said:
    July 31, 2014 at 1:46 am

    You guys tried so many amazing dishes!! I love Pierogi 😀 the other one I never tried but would love to!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 31, 2014 at 1:50 am

      The food was incredible! All this talk from everyone about pierogi is making us crave it 🙂

      Hope you are well – you Formula One Fan 😉

        Packing my Suitcase said:
        July 31, 2014 at 3:33 am

        hahahaha tell me about it, Im also craving it! Its been ages since I last had pierogies 😀 hahaha yes yes Formula 1 fan!!

        Packing my Suitcase said:
        July 31, 2014 at 3:34 am

        I hope you guys are enjoying the trip 😀

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          July 31, 2014 at 5:57 am

          Thank you – we are! We’ve had two days of rain so far and honestly it hasn’t dampened our mood one bit 🙂

            Packing my Suitcase said:
            July 31, 2014 at 7:09 pm

            Awesome, that makes me happy!!! Fingers crossed it wont rain anymore 🙂

    NikiMarie said:
    July 31, 2014 at 1:32 am

    My husband’s family is very Polish and we live in a Polish area currently so a lot of the food you mentioned is familiar to me, although I haven’t tried them all. Pierogi’s are some of our favorite things to eat! I’m not much of a sauerkraut fan but I think I would try every one of the dishes you mentioned. Looks delicious! 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 31, 2014 at 1:36 am

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your personal experiences!
      Pierogi seems to be a favourite for many people 🙂 We can completely understand why.

    Deepika said:
    July 30, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    No veg delight? 😦

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 31, 2014 at 12:04 am

      Unfortunately the closest we tried was vegetable soup which was very good but not really ‘specific’ to the region! But we know you can have vegetable dumplings!! 🙂

        Deepika said:
        July 31, 2014 at 7:07 pm

        Thank god! I have had nightmares traveling South East Asia. And I am afraid most of the places, I am going to face these “food problems.”

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          August 1, 2014 at 1:44 am

          Really?? When we think of South East Asian, we think of lots of vegetables 🙂 But maybe not what you are looking for…. We are now in Prague and we have been a few vegan/vegetarian restaurants! So you know if you are here, you will be ok.

    Mabel Kwong said:
    July 30, 2014 at 8:02 pm

    Never had Polish food in my life, but I would like to try the Zapiekanka and see if it can give Subway a run for its money 😀 I too would probably sit down and eat it, meat first and then the rest. The one you had – such white sauce. What was that?

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:54 pm

      The white sauce was garlic sauce! We LOVE garlic sauce… similar to the ones you get with chicken kebabs at Lebanese restaurants!
      The Zapiekanka looked like an open Subway … and probably would give them a run for their money. LOL!

    Vlad said:
    July 30, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    YUM, I need my lunch break now! That placki looks delicious! 😀

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:52 pm

      Oh it was so good! We hope when we get back to Australia, the Polish restaurants there will serve placki (probably without the wild boar though) Sorry for making you hungry, Vlad 🙂

    CrazyChineseFamily said:
    July 30, 2014 at 5:43 pm

    Looks very good. During my younger years I had only few time polish food and it was great (homefood, not in a restaurant). However, I do not like goulash, no matter how it is prepared, just doesnt work for me 🙂

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:50 pm

      Ahhhh – interesting!! Is it the gravy? Or is it the food all “jumbled up”?
      Guess that’s what makes life interesting … that we all like different foods.
      It’s like Le doesn’t like watermelon and David doesn’t like anchovies, so like goulash doesn’t work for you, those don’t work for us 😉

    ourworldheritagebe said:
    July 30, 2014 at 5:25 pm

    Great post! Poland is high on our list of things to see – good to know the food is great as well!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:44 pm

      Glad you liked it guys. When you are in Poland- there will be plenty for you to try and to see!

    aBitofCulture said:
    July 30, 2014 at 5:06 pm

    I liked the soup when I was in gdansk – served in a bread bowl that you can eat when you’ve finished the soup. Can’t remember what it was called but it began with a ‘Z’.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:45 pm

      Zupa??? I think it is called! We wanted to try that but it was too warm for soup!
      So that was good too?? Sounds like all of Polish food is good 🙂

    worldjourneysdiscover said:
    July 30, 2014 at 4:58 pm

    Polish food is pretty awesome dude! I loves it!

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:41 pm

      It sure is pretty awesome! Now we are in Czech and having a culinary blast too!

    kayrpea61 said:
    July 30, 2014 at 4:33 pm

    I’m totally new to Polish food, but very partial to potato cakes, so that would be the first I would try. Thanks for the gastronomy chapter.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:40 pm

      They were delicious!!! Good choice – if you ever find yourself a Polish restaurant… please try the food! We have tried one in Glebe and we have found from another reader that there is one in Woollahra now!
      When back in Sydney, might have to revisit the Polish restaurants for a trip down memory lane 🙂

    somewonderland said:
    July 30, 2014 at 3:45 pm

    since Lithuanian cuisine has some of the same or at least similar foods as Polish one, I’ve had my share of them. My absolute favorite would be pierogi and gulasz. For technically gulasz is Hungarian 🙂
    If done right, there’s nothing better than peirogi, and my mom makes ’em once in a while, though the best ones come from our neighbor

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 9:39 pm

      Yes we have heard that gulasz was copied from Hungary 😉
      We did notice similarities in food between Russia, through Baltics, Poland and in Czech Republic where are now! Such good food!
      Thanks for sharing your favourite!

    Sue BM said:
    July 30, 2014 at 2:28 pm

    My Mum is Polish (well from the Ukrainian/Polish area) – I grew up on potato and cheese pierogi with sour cream and onions…..Yummmmmm. I just found a Polish cafe in Woolahra that serves them and have to ration my visits. Enjoying the bog.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 2:32 pm

      That’s awesome Sue! You will have to give us the name of the restaurant so when we are in Sydney, we can revisit some of these yummy foods!
      Glad you like the blog – thanks for your comment!

    nancy1 said:
    July 30, 2014 at 9:35 am

    DEar Dave and Le, You realise when you get home we are all going to expect an international cuisine dinner party.

    How the weight going, you will need the ‘walk’ to trim back down.

    Take care, love Mum and Dad XX

    Date: Tue, 29 Jul 2014 20:55:55 +0000 To: mrsnancymoss@hotmail.com

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 2:05 pm

      Actually being very conscious of what we eat and not over indulging. Smaller lunches, bigger dinners or vice versa. Helps with weight as well with the finances!

        Savvy Kenya (@savvykenya) said:
        July 31, 2014 at 8:23 pm

        so sweet your parents are looking out for you and commenting on your blogging journeys!

          wisemonkeysabroad responded:
          August 1, 2014 at 1:48 am

          LOL – we probably have been in touch with them more than when we were in Sydney 🙂

    ytaba36 said:
    July 30, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Yum! The pierogi I’ve eaten were not Polish, but Ukrainian, and were filled with potato and cheese. Served with fried onions and sour cream … very tasty and filling.

      wisemonkeysabroad responded:
      July 30, 2014 at 2:04 pm

      Hmmmm… sounds delightful. We didn’t get sour cream with these pierogi. Thanks for sharing with us 🙂

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