Polish Food

12 Oct 2017

A Guide to Polish Cuisine

Polish food is famous for being simple, hearty and almost uniformly off-white in colour. You simply haven’t had a thorough sampling of it until you’ve tried all the traditional dishes below. Though most can be found at almost any Polish restaurant or milk bar in town, we’ve given you our picks of the litter, making your stomach a happy camper and keeping its contents intact. Smacznego!


Traditionally a winter dish, Bigos is a hearty stew made in large batches. Though there is no standard recipe, ingredients usually include lots of fresh and pickled cabbage, leftover meat parts and sausage, onion, mushrooms, garlic and whatever else is on hand. In fact, metaphorically Bigos translates to ‘big mess,’ ‘confusion’ or ‘trouble’ in Polish. Seasoned with peppercorns, bay leaves, caraway and the kitchen sink, the stew is left to gestate, sometimes underground, for a few days for full flavour infusion. A Polish restaurant or prospective wife can be fairly measured on the strength of their Bigos.


Translating to ‘little pigeons,’ this favourite dish consists of boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onion and rice before being baked and served in a tomato or mushroom sauce. Polish legend claims King Kazimierz fed his army gołąbki before a battle outside Malbork against the Teutonic Order, and their unlikely subsequent victory has been attributed to the hearty meal ever since.


Pork knuckle or hock, as in pig’s thigh - boiled, braised, or generally roasted and put before you on a plate. A true Polish delicacy, the meat should slip right off the bone, be served with horseradish, and washed down with beer. Go caveman.


Connect via social media
Leave a comment using your email This e-mail address is not valid
Please enter your name*

Please share your location

Enter your message*
Over a year ago
Zapiekanka - is it obligatory? Yes, it's a part of Kazimierz drinking culture and you pretty much have to make your friends eat one when they visit. But can we admit that this is the most over-rated food in Poland? I mean, come on - a stale bun with cheese and ketchup on top warmed up in a toaster? This is the kind of gourmet that a 7th grader invents after school because they don't know how to cook anything for themselves.
Take your guide with you Download a pdf or order a printed issue Browse our collection of guides
Put our app in your pocket
City Essentials

Download our new City Essentials app

download 4.5