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Poland Cuisine


Polish cuisine is a mixture of Eastern European (Lithuanian, Belarusian, Ukrainian, Jewish, Hungarian, etc.) and German culinary traditions, with some Russian, Italian, and Turkish influence due to historical reasons. It is rich in meat, especially chicken and pork, and winter vegetables (cabbage in the dish bigos), and spices, as well as different kinds of noodles the most notable of which are the pierogi. It is related to other Slavic cuisines in usage of kasha and other cereals. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional cuisine generally is demanding and Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to prepare and enjoy their festive meals, with some meals (like Christmas eve or Easter Breakfast) taking a number of days to prepare in their entirety.

Traditionally, the main meal is eaten about 2 pm, and is usually composed of three courses, starting with a soup, such as popular bouillon or tomato or more festive barszcz (beet) or żurek (sour rye meal mash), followed perhaps in a restaurant by an appetiser of herring (prepared in either cream, oil, or vinegar). Other popular appetisers are various cured meats, vegetables or fish in aspic.

The main course is usually meaty including a roast or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet). Vegetables, currently replaced by leaf salad, were not very long ago most commonly served as surowka – shredded root vegetables with lemon and sugar (carrot, beetroot) or fermented cabbage (kapusta kwaszona). The sides are usually boiled potatoes or more traditionally kasha (cereals).

Meals often conclude with a dessert such as makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, or drożdżówka, a type of yeast cake.

Other Polish specialities include chłodnik (a chilled beet or fruit soup for hot days), golonka (pork knuckles cooked with vegetables), kołduny (meat dumplings), zrazy (stuffed slices of beef), salceson and flaki (tripe).

Poland has a number of unique regional cuisines with regional differences in preparations and ingredients.

Pizza in Poland is characterized by the Polish habit of using ketchup on top of the pizza, rather than sauce. There are many small-scale, quick-service restaurants which usually serve items such as zapiekanka (baguette with cheese, sometimes meat and/or button mushroom and ketchup), kebab, hamburgers, hot dogs and kielbasa sausage.


Hot appetisers are popular in Poland and these include pan fried mushrooms, tripe and snails. The authentic Polish salad is the surówka, containing ingredients such as cabbage, red cabbage, carrots, leeks and apples. Mizeria is a simple and easy to make salad which contains sliced raw cucumbers in sour cream or sour milk. Other appetisers might include vine tomatoes and fresh mozzarella salad with lime-herb dressing, and fresh avocado, country fries, herring in oil, shrimp cocktail, bacon wrapped sea scallops, smoked salmon with Russian caviar, grilled portabella mushroom, and grilled chicken salad. Cold appetisers are also quite popular, but in many cases you will notice that a traditional Polish meal tries not to place too much importance on appetisers because of the nutritious main courses.


The variety of Polish soup recipes is simply amazing, however, many of them are just known on a local level and cannot be considered representative for the whole territory of Poland.

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