You might pretend you haven’t been waiting for a foodie post, but we know it’s the same lie as if I said I haven’t put on weight 2kg since I’m back home. You just can’t. Good thing is my gentleman husband said ‘Don’t worry, I don’t look below the boob-line anyway’ so I’m not too worried about me looking like a mochi ball on two sticks.
I always argue with Momzilla about the food – for her the best cuisine is of course so-called chinese cuisine. I remember in Thailand she yelled with that Shanghainese manner (if you know an older Shanghainese lady I’m sure you know what I mean) that only chinese food is good, there’s such a diversity and no one can deny it’s healthier than Western food and the only reason why Sing ‘pretends’ to like western food is because he loves me. As for me I’m really open-minded when it goes to food, I don’t mind trying weird stuff just for the sake of ‘I’ve been there, I’ve tried it’, but in the end I think most of us would choose their mom’s cuisine over the most luxurious restaurant.
This is why today I want to share my choice of food that every foreigner visiting Poland should try. I’m sorry it’s not really vegetarian-friendly list but when you come from Land Of Sausage there’s really little choice of traditional non-meaty food. Our choice of cold cuts can please anyone, as long as you like meat. Sausages, hams, everything you want and need – we have it. There’s even a chance that you come to Poland as a vegetarian and leave with your pockets stuffed with Krakowska sausage. But let’s get to our list!
I already wrote about it before Christmas, but it’s a dish worth reminding. While making it smells like the deepest corners of hell, but it’s also probably the only dish in the world that more you reheat better it gets.
Typical ingredients include white cabbage, sauerkraut, various cuts of meat and sausages and mushrooms. The meats may include pork (often smoked), ham, bacon, sausage, veal, beef, and, as bigos is considered a hunter’s stew, venison, rabbit, or other game; Leftover cuts find their way into the pot as well that’s why it was the most popular dish after Christmas when grandmothers used all the leftover meat . It may be seasoned with pepper, caraway, juniper berries, bay leaf, marjoram, pimenta, dried or smoked plums, and other ingredients. Bigos is usually served with mashed potatoes or rye bread, depends if you want to eat it in the morning/afternoon (bread) or potatoes (main meal).
FART ALERT. Don’t get me wrong, but if you travel with your partner and decide to try bigos, be prepared for some symphony.
OK, OK – I know that probably every single country in the world has their own variation of dumplings but there are two types of dumplings that you just can’t miss if you’re in Poland.
First type is called ‘Ruthenian dumplings’ – probably the most popular type, the most tasty and the best known. Filled with fresh white cheese, boiled and minced potatoes and fried onions. I don’t know a person who doesn’t like them – if I know you and it turns out right now that you don’t like them, we’re not friends anymore – it’s like disliking world peace. No, you just can’t ;) !
The second type is really shocking for foreigners, my husband didn’t even dare to try them, he just kept staring at them like I gave him some bird turd instead of food. Sounds awful, but those were… fruit dumplings! Yes, you read it correctly – FRUIT DUMPLINGS. Perfect for summer time, covered in sour cream and little bit of sugar. When I was a child I used to pick blackberries from the forest near my aunt’s place and then we all made dumplings. I don’t have to say that my bucket was always only half full… One berry to the bucket, one to the tummy… One berry to the bucket, one to the tummy… Definitely worth trying!
Flaki has been consumed on Polish territory since the 14th century. It was one of favorite dishes of King Władysław II Jagiełło but I don’t think that’s the best choice. It surely is a traditional dish, but if you can’t find a place that will prepare it well you might be traumatized for the rest of your life. Ingredients include beef tripe, beef, bay leaf, parsley, carrot, beef broth, and spices to taste, including salt, black pepper, nutmeg, sweet paprika, and marjoram. Ready-made convenience-type equivalents of the labor-intensive flaczki are available but those are not worth buying. It’s kind of a soup so it’s usually served with bread. I don’t really like it, but it’s my parents’ favorite dish and it’s worth to at least give it a shot.
I had a really tough choice to recommend only one soup since there are so many delicious soups, but I think this one is really specific for Poland. This is a soup made of soured rye flour and meat, usually boiled pork sausage or pieces of smoked sausage, bacon or ham. There’s also variant is known as barszcz biały which is made with wheat flour instead of rye. My mom always serves it with a boiled egg sliced in two. It’s usually eaten around Easter, but you can find it everywhere in Poland. If you happen to be in Warsaw go to Zapiecek and try their version – it’s served in a really adorable way, with sausage and two sliced of bread and the price is great too!
Now that’s what I like. OK, I like every single item here, but this is my family’s biggest secret recipe. And I will share it with you – don’t try to find them in the restaurant, they won’t be as good as the one you made from this recipe. Choice of side dishes is yours, I like boiled sauerkraut with roux, but it can be served with white cheese and pork belly.
Take 6 big potatoes, peel them and grate them. Take away the leftover water until they look like a gray paste. Add an egg, little bit of flour (until the dough is nice and bouncy). Boil water and keep throwing ~4cm long pieces of the dough. Eat as fast as you can so you might be able to eat the leftovers.
Get fat and thank me later.
Bread with lard and sour cucumber
Poland can be really cold so some people like to warm themselves with vodka. And what’s better to vodka than good old bread with lard and sour cucumber. I have to say I was really skeptic about it, until few years ago when my husband and I went to see a concert during the winter time. It was so cold so we decided to eat something small to keep us warm. My husband was so curious about the bread but once we tried it… That’s how heaven looks like. I know the lard part might not be the most attractive, but it’s mixed with pork rind. Add the sour taste from the cucumber and you have the best vodka-starter ever. Four thumbs up and two big bellies from Sing and me.
I’m a sausage vampire when it goes to this blood sausage. If you have a Polish store near you, you can make it yourself, especially since I haven’t really seen this dish in a restaurant. Just take off the skin, slice it into smaller pieces and add it to frying onion. Fry it all together for few minutes and serve with potatoes and of course – sour cucumber. Yes, we love sour cucumbers and we even have a sour cucumber soup. It just all balances like nature. Natural environment on your dish. I like to make up an excuse to make not-healthy dishes ‘super-healthy-pro-eco’. Some people also serve it with sauerkraut but in my family it’s always the cucumber.
Another heavy Polish dish, but I think guys would love it.It’s really similar to the German dish called eisbein – pickled ham hock, usually boiled. In parts of Germany it is known as Schweinshaxe, and it is usually grilled but Polish golonka is alternatively grilled on a barbecue. Have I mentioned it’s made with beer as well? I wouldn’t really recommend it for girls, for me it’s too heavy but my husband, my father and the rest of male part of the family loves it.
I don’t know how about you but I think I will go explore my fridge right now.
If I had to write all the dishes you should try you would be like ‘Too long, didn’t read’ but I also recommend to try duck baked with apples, all kinds of venison, borscht, summer strawberries, gołabki and many many many more!
Have you ever tried any Polish dish? Or would you like to try any from my list? I hope my Polish folks can make their own recommendations, too! :)
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