Warsaw

Polish Food

13 Dec 2017

Those wanting to take a quick foxtrot through the world of the Polish kitchen should consider putting the following to the test:

Smalec: Fried lard, often served complimentary before a meal with hunks of homemade bread. It sounds evil, but it works like a miracle any day, especially an arctic one. Ideally partnered with a mug of local beer. Any Polish restaurant worth its salt should give you lashings of this prior to your meal. You only need ask.

Soup: Keep your eyes peeled for Poland’s two signature soups; żurek (sour rye soup with sausages and potatoes floating in it) and barszcz (beetroot, occasionally with dumplings thrown in). Table manners go out of the window when eating these two, so feel free to dunk bread rolls in them.

Bigos: You’ll either love it or vomit. Bigos, a.k.a hunters stew, is made using meat, cabbage, onion and sauerkraut before being left to simmer for a few days. If you have second helpings then consider yourself a Pole by default.

Gołąbki: Boiled cabbage leaves stuffed with beef, onion and rice before being baked in a tomato sauce. Urban myth claims Poland’s King Kazimierz fed his army gołąbki before his victory outside Malbork in a battle against the Teutonic Order. The unlikely victory was attributed to the hearty meal his troops had enjoyed before hand.

Kiełbasa: Sausages, and in Poland you’ll find several varieties made primarily with pork, but sometimes using turkey, lamb and even bison. Few varieties to watch for including Krakowska, a Kraków specialty which uses pepper and garlic, kabanosy which is a thin, dry sausage flavoured with carraway seed and wiejska; a monster-looking u-shaped sausage. Kiełbasa was also the nickname of one of Poland’s most notorious gangland figures of the 90s.

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