When I first booked plane tickets to Kraków, I never expected to fall in love with Poland the way that I did. I loved everything about it: the culture, the people and, most importantly, the FOOD! Kraków is home to some of the best local cuisine I’ve tasted in Europe. So naturally, I tried (and photographed) all of it immediately. Keep reading for my list traditional food to try in Poland!
For my complete 3-day itinerary to visiting Krakow and a list of useful Polish phrases, head to The Best Things to Do in Kraków, Poland.
traditional food to try in poland
PIEROGI – TRADITIONAL POLISH DUMPLING
Pierogi is at the top of the list of traditional food to try in Poland. You can find traditional pierogis all over Kraków! They come with a variety of fillings: traditional (potato, cheese and onion), meat, porridge and cheese and dessert options (usually fruit filling). The best pierogis I tasted in Kraków were made by moi in a traditional polish pierogi making class. But if you’re not one for hard work in the kitchen, I would suggest heading to Restauracja U Babci Maliny for some of the best pierogis in the city!* Pierogis are my personal favorite Polish dish and #1 on my list of must-try dishes in Poland!
*If you try out U Babci Maliny, I would recommend ordering the fried pierogis stuffed with meat. Some of my friends ordered the boiled pierogis stuffed with cheese and potato and they were served with a sauce so sweet it tasted like melted ice cream.
BARSZCZ – BEETROOT SOUP WITH DUMPLINGS
Barszcz is a beetroot soup that usually comes with dumplings. I ordered mine with egg instead, since I had already ordered an obscene amount of pierogis for dinner. Although let’s be honest, you can never have too many pierogis.
I ordered barszcz from Restauracja U Babci Maliny, but you can find it in restaurants all over Kraków!
KOTLET SCHABOWY – SIMILAR TO SCHNITZEL
My Kotlet Schabowy was fantastic, but tasted remarkably like German schnitzel. Not that that’s a bad thing…Although you can find Kotlet Schabowy all over Kraków, I would definitely recommend heading to Polakowski to truly be blown away by the dish. I ordered the Kotlet schabowy z czosnkiem (breaded pork chop with garlic) and mashed potatoes. Polakowski has a self-serve style and all the items on their menu are delicious and incredibly affordable.
GOTABKI – CABBAGE ROLLS
Gotabki is a type of Polish cabbage roll usually stuffed with rice and meat and covered in tomato sauce. If you’re looking for some healthy Polish food, gotabki is your best option. I tried gotabki from Gospoda Koko on my first night in Kraków. There’s no place better to try out some delicious Polish dishes without breaking the bank. I ordered a beer, half a cabbage roll, and 5 pierogis for the equivalent of €4.
PLACKI ZIEMNIACZANE – POTATO PANCAKES
Placki ziemniaczane are pretty self explanatory and every bit as delicious as they sound. Poland is also famous for a crepe-like pancake called Nalesniki, usually filled with cheese or fruit. Unfortunately, I didn’t have the opportunity to try these.
I tried placki ziemniaczane at one of Poland’s famous Milk Bars! They serve food in a cafeteria style setting at crazy low prices. You can find them all over Kraków, but my personal favorite was Pod Teminda (besides the fact they didn’t serve alcohol).
ZAPIEKANKA – POLISH PIZZA
Found mostly in Kazimierz (the Jewish Quarter), Zapiekanka is a popular street food in Poland. It’s a mix between an open-faced sub sandwich and a personal pizza that comes with loads of toppings and sauces. Fair warning: for street food, it’s incredibly hard to eat on-the-go unless you want to be covered in crumbs and spicy sauce!
I ordered my zapiekanka from Smaczek Zapiekanki e Pieca in Kazimierz. Although they have plenty of delicious option on their menu, I would recommend ordering the Niebo w Gebie. It’s full of sausage, tomato, sheep cheese, spring onion, cheese, mushrooms and topped with spicy sauce!
PACZKI – POLISH DONUTS
Only the best dessert ever, Paczki are plump and delicious Polish donuts! I went for the toffee flavor on the bottom, but the rose icing on the top shelf was a close second. At roughly €1.40 apiece, there’s no excuse not to try multiple flavors!
Krakowski Paczki in Old Town serves my favorite paczki in Kraków!
OBWARZANEK – POLISH BAGEL
On every corner of Krakow you will find street vendors selling Obwarzanek krakowski. The taste is comparable to a bagel but they are much larger with a wider hole in the center. The flavors are usually salt, cheese, poppy seed and sesame seed. Obwarzanek krakowski are delicious, but I could have used some cream cheese!
No visit to Poland is complete without stuffing your face with all-of-the-above. I left Kraków feeling more pierogi than person…but I wouldn’t change a thing. Save this post of my favorite must-try dishes in Poland to make sure you experience the most of Kraków’s food scene!
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