Traditional Polish cuisine flows from the melting pot of diverse influences as the country at the world crossroads, inhabited by traveled and novelty-happy entrepreneurs, merchants, soldiers and worldly gentry. In the city of Cracow is considerable contingents of immigrant Germans, Italians, Jews, Hungarians, Scotsmen, Czechs, Austrians, etc. and also left their mark on the city’s menu over the ages.
Traditional Polish cuisine at its best features is a variety of domestic herbs and exotic spices. As hunting was the Polish favorite pastime, game dishes proved overly popular. The same wild mushrooms. Freshwater fish and crayfish used to supersede seafood in landlocked Cracow. Polish traditional food features many soups, made with mushrooms, broth, and beets.
Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Cracow is complete without tasting the local food.
Pierogies – This is the one you probably had been thinking of when you seen the title Polish cuisine. Probably this is the one you will go the most for as there is many kinds of Pierogi as sort of flavor, but also the difference from other countries. It is a much loved dish consisting of ravioli-style dumplings that are filled with a variety of ingredients (sweet or savory) from spinach, cheese, potatoes or mushrooms to fruit.
Bigos – The one to try for sure in Poland when traveling around the restaurants. It is a combination of cabbage, mushrooms, and various meats – traditionally pork, bacon, and delicious Polish sausage, but today bigos may also contain venison or duck.
Zurek – Polish love their soup and it is a popular way to start a meal. Zurek is a delicious and popular ‘Zupa’ traditionally made from rye flour with key ingredients including hard-boiled egg, potato and Polish sausage.
Zrazy – it is a Polish traditional food that will cling to your ribs. A filling of bacon, bread crumbs, mushrooms, and cucumber is rolled inside a seasoned slice of sirloin beef then fried or grilled to allow the flavors to mingle.
Fish dishes are also popular, especially in regional Polish traditional food. Carp, pike, perch, eel, and sturgeon are all popular and served in various ways. Pork is the most common meat in traditional Polish cuisine, but chicken, beef, venison, duck, and other meats are seen on restaurant menus today.
For desert, Polish meals will include Polish cheesecake, or sernik, apple tarts, makowiec (a sponge cake with a poppyseed filling), or eklerka.