When you come to Poland you have to eat out. One good dinner, with some guidance from The Visitor which will help you pick the most popular Polish dishes, and you will notice that Polish cuisine is amazingly rich, truly tasty and quite varied (though it sometimes can be a bit heavy). What is important in Polish food are the ingredients, some of them unique in Europe. The Polish way of growing plants or raising animals has not been affected by mass industrialization of the food industry. So this might be your last chance to taste eggs with real yellow yolks, eat home made butter, and enjoy freshly pickled cucumbers or sauerkraut and many other dishes which you cannot find anywhere else in the world. And believe us the list is long. Try Polish forest fruits and the dozens of kinds of mushrooms you never thought were edible. Take a browse through a selection of Polish desserts. Pick a good restaurant with Polish food and enjoy eating out in our country!
Polish sour rye soup (żurek) - number one and one of the culinary musts in Poland - a vegetable soup flavored with fermented bread with cooked white sausage, garlic and onions. In some restaurants it is served inside a loaf of bread!
Sauerkraut soup (kapuśniak) - a typical Polish winter soup based on sauerkraut, ribs, mushrooms and onions.
Beetroot soup (barszcz) - classic beetroot soup usually served with little dumplings filled with meat or round pancakes stuffed with cabbage or meat (paszteciki) usually served as an accompaniment.
Hunters stew (bigos) - Poland’s national dish made with boiled sauerkraut, sausages, spare ribs and a variety of ingredients (some have mushrooms, while others contain apples, venison, lamb or beef).
Pierogi - do not leave Poland without trying all of them. Check the menu for flour pierogi filled with meat or cabbage (or both), potatoes with cottage cheese and onions (ruskie), or with fruit. They can be served boiled or baked with butter or other fat. Absolutely delicious!
Sausages (kiełbasa) - and what a variety - they can be cold, cooked, smoked, or grilled. We have the classic sausages, or the white ones.
Find the best way you like them and enjoy!
Breaded pork chops (kotlet schabowy) - a classic Polish dinner accompanied by purée, tomatoes and a side dish of hot cabbage or a mixed salad. If you drink beer with this meal you will feel very Polish!
Venison (dziczyzna) - this special kind of meat which you either love or do not like is rather expensive and not so easy to find. When you are in a good restaurant try a dish of venison, the taste is quite unique.
Bread (chleb) - bread is important for traditional and religious Poles. Many people kiss the bread if it is dropped on the ground and never throw it into a basket. Traditionally before cutting the first slice the sign of cross was made over the bread. Bear in mind that playing with bread may offend some traditional Polish people. The wholesome and natural ingredients make Polish bread uniquely delicious. Try it just with garlic butter or as a popular every day sandwich (kanapki).
Little hoofs (kopytka) - boiled dumplings made of mashed potatoes and flour, with meats making a change from potatoes.
Potato pancakes (placki ziemniaczane) - deep fried potatoe pancakes can be served with salmon and sour cream, sauces or just with a sprinkling of sugar.
Drinking alcohol (including beer) is forbidden in public places except special areas in restaurant summer gardens. The fine for drinking alcohol in a bus is 100 zł and is higher in other public places if you are apprehended. If you are very drunk, violent or disturbing the peace and are arrested by the police you will be fined and put in a cell to sleep off your drunkenness. This will not save you a night in a hotel as this police service is rather expensive and you will be charged for your night in police custody. Drinking is strictly prohibited in parks, the surroundings of night shops and railway stations. We advise you strongly to respect these regulations. Remember! The sale of cigarettes and alcohol to under 18 year old people is strictly forbidden. A blood alcohol level of 0,2 parts per thousand is the permitted upper limit for driving. Take note that one beer and you are over the limit. Driving when under the influence of alcohol is a criminal offence. So Don't Drink and Drive!
Apart from marginal problems, as can be found across Europe, Polish food services are safe, with hygiene at EU standards. The only thing you might have problems with is... overeating! A sin is to dine in fast-food chain bars whilst travelling in Poland instead of enjoying Polish cuisine. Poland is one of the last European countries where most of the fruits and vegetables, meats and or bakery products are based on naturally produced raw materials which are not highly industrialized in their production or contain pesticides. When dining out at good restaurants you will be able to experience this quality and taste, real butter, the freshness and colour of the eggs, the unforgettable taste of fresh, homemade bread and all the carefully produced meats. So enjoy the taste of good Polish food whilst here. You won't find it anywhere else! Any change in your everyday eating habits may upset your stomach. If the symptoms are light take some general medication for this problem. If they develop into something more serious see a doctor. Please refer to our health section.
Visitor, no 23, 2012, www.thevisitor.pl