More than just cabbage

Polish food is more than just cabbage. When you find the local delicacies, there’s a whole world of flavours and unique dishes.

Written by Michael Turtle

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle. A journalist for more than 20 years, he's been travelling the world since 2011.

Michael Turtle is the founder of Time Travel Turtle and has been travelling full time for a decade.


Polish food

I had been expecting cabbage and I wasn’t disappointed. My very first meal after arriving in Poland presented me with an opportunity to try it – red and sweet, it was just how I had imagined the country would taste.

What I was about to discover was that food in Poland is much richer and has much more depth than I imagined.

From the snacks on the street, to the hearty meals of the working class, to the fine dining in the top restaurants of Krakow and Wroclaw, Polish food has a lot to offer.

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

Take the pretzels, for example. There’s nothing spectacular about them. They’re plain, taste like bread, and have a dryness that leaves you wanting a cold beer to go with them.

But they’re warm, they’re filling and they’re available on streets corners all through the city. The perfect snack on a chilly day.

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

“Soup,” was the answer when I asked a few people what typical Polish food was. Turns out they knew what they were talking about (unsurprisingly, seeing as the people I asked were Polish).

The best soups even come inside a loaf of bread so there’s no need to waste your time dipping a crust in – you just scoop it out from the bottom.

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

But rather than continue to tell you about all the amazing food I ate in Poland, how about I just show you a small selection.

If these don’t whet your appetite, I don’t know what will. And I’m sure if you asked nicely you could get some cabbage on the side for any of these (even the apple pie!).

Goat cheese ‘Oscypek’ with cranberry

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

Poultry kebab with baked potatoes

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

Grilled pork steak with garlic sauce, grilled potatoes

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

Apple pie with ice cream

polish food, poland, pretzels, soups, oscypek

Time Travel Turtle travelled to Poland as a guest of the Polish National Tourist Office but the opinions, over-written descriptions and bad jokes are his own.

21 thoughts on “More than just cabbage”

  1. What about the pierogi, which is so simple, but then you have all those different stuffings that you can use, making it quite a complex dish after all. And yes, you can use sauerkraut as well, which fits with the beginning of your article 🙂


    • I can’t believe I didn’t have any pierogi when I was there. Everyone kept telling me about them but it just never happened – too fast a trip. Oh well, it’s always nice to have a good reason to go back somewhere…

  2. I loved Polish food.

    Favourites would have to be the pierogi’s and zapikanka. Especially after doing a walking tour in freezing cold weather.

    When my sister and I were in Krakow we found this cute little cafe near our hostel, “Cafe Camelot” and it was so good we went there 4 times in 3 days. It’s not authentic Polish but it’s good, cheap food. Their desserts are delectable and the hot chocolate is to die for. It’s practically pure chocolate and you can get it just as it is or in a variety of flavours Apple, orange or pear, with cinnamon! We took some other people to it because we kept going on about it and they fell in love too.

    We were there just before Christmas so they had heaps of markets in the main square. We had the best potatoes and sausage from one of the stalls. We wanted to try authentic food so we went to a restaurant just off the main square. I think it was Marmolada from memory (and Google’ing). They have a sister restaurant further down towards Wawel Castle called Miod Malina. The food was quite good and not very expensive. Luckily the AUD to PLN exchange rate is very good.

    All in all, Krakow has some really good food.

    • Thanks for those tips, Beth! Gosh, you make me want to go back already and try some of your suggestions.
      The thing with Polish food is that I found it not to be too rich or overloaded with flavours – but still really tasty and hearty. Which makes it even better if you’re on a budget because you can have some decent meals for a reasonable price.
      I had some snacks from some of the stalls on the street but not a whole meal – that can be a mission for the next time! 🙂

  3. Thanks for sharing these posts and photos from Poland! I stumbled across this by looking through Twitter as I already follow you. 🙂 Hubby and I are thinking about traveling here soon and I’m looking for all the advice I can find. Cheers from Istanbul!

    • Oh, my pleasure! I hope you got a little inspiration from the posts. I didn’t spend nearly enough time in Poland as I would have liked so I’m hoping to get back there again sometime soon!

  4. I’ve been to Poland many times going back to the Iron Curtain days when it was miles cheaper. Krakow and Wroclaw are where all tourists go but I have family further east near Rzeszow. A couple of years ago I had scrambled eggs in Krakow for 9 zloty. Next day I had that near Rzeszow. It seemed like a dozen eggs and I could not finish even half of it. Price? 3 zloty. South eastern Poland is less travelled by tourists but the Bieszczady mountains with little towns like Uszczyki Dolne and Uszczyki Gorne are iconic Polish towns with less tourists and truly authentic Polish food many times cheaper than the usual tourist towns where everyone goes. In the North east corner of Poland are ancient primaeval forests and probably the last place in Europe where Bison roam free. This area would be paradise for Greenie tourists, if only they knew about it. Towns in these areas are of enormous historical significance dating back to the days when Poland ruled half of Europe from the Baltic to the black Sea, and they absolutely reek of ancient history but hardly anyone knows about this. Yes, Poland is more than Krakow and Wroclaw.

  5. Polish food is so delicious! I love Poland and its culture in general, but their delicious cuisine is one of my favourite aspects! I visit Poland quite often, but I usually stay in Warsaw, because that is where my friends live. I really enjoy my every trip. I love exploring Warsaw and finding new places, especially restaurants with Polish food. MY last and probably the favourite discovery is the restaurant called the Akademia. It is romantic and elegant, and they serve Polish food in modern versions. Everything is always freshly made and delicious!

  6. My favourite aspect of Poland is Bubbles Bar in Warsaw. I like to go there, eat delicious food and relax with glass of good wine. If you didn’t hear about this bar you have to go there. Amazing atmosphere and a lot of deliocious dishes!


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