My food in Poland

Part of a series of posts about food I’ve eaten around the world. See: Iran

This year I spent a few days in Poland visiting a friend, Will Badger, who has lived in the country before and speaks the language pretty fluently.

I was looking forward to trying Polish food as I’d never experienced it before, with the notable exception of pierogi (more below). I wasn’t disappointed, and Will knew where to take me to get the best stuff!

My favourite meals were eaten in milk bars (bar mleczny): originally cafeterias for students and workers during the Communist times, still running today, serving good, wholesome, inexpensive food.

Oscypek  (smoked sheep cheese) with lingonberry jam. Salty, warm, melt-in-your-mouth, with a side of sweetness. I bought this one from a street vendor on a cool May evening in Warsaw:


Breakfast! Scrambled eggs, ham, cottage cheese, fresh bread, pancakes (nalesniki), and  coffee:


A closer look at those pancakes. These were not very sweet, which was nice; it meant that they went with the rest of the food without feeling like a dessert:


Not particularly Polish, but this was a particularly good chocolate mousse torte I had, with strawberries and chocolate chips:


Carrots, red cabbage, and coleslaw, displayed with mathematical precision alongside a redcurrant compote:


Pork goulash (gulasz mysliwski) poured over potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane), a Hungarian dish particularly prominent in southern Poland. Just what I needed after a morning of sight-seeing:


A soft “Ruthenian”pieróg with an onion garnish. I first had pierogi in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where it is quite a popular snack due to the history of Polish immigration in the area. In fact I was told by someone in the airport as soon as I landed, ‘If you’re going to go to Pittsburgh, you gotta have a pierogi’. I haven’t eaten them since, but when I got to Poland I knew I had to try them in their home country, and I was pleased that they were just as good as the ones I’d eaten in America. They have a hearty, comforting simplicity:


This was a thick hot chocolate from a Wedel cafe in Krakow. I had plain unadulterated chocolate, but they offered it in a range of flavours:


More soft pierogi (because, Poland). These were flavoured with apple, plum, and forest berry:


A pączek — a large round doughnut filled with rose jam and covered in almond flakes — is one of my favourite things ever. I could have eaten a thousand:


This bowl of Zurek soup, or’sour’ soup — ‘Zurek’ sounds more appetising — was delicious and sour in a very pleasant way (think of sourdough, which is basically what it’s made from):


Pork schnitzel with spinach and garlic. The soup in the background is Barszcz, made from beetroot. The schnitzel was far more moist than any I’ve had before, and the spinach / garlic was a welcome change from my usual ac accompaniment (tomato ketchup!):


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