If you want to try traditional Polish cuisine, stop counting your calories. Typical meals are very hearty and often contain a lot of meat. Just sampling them is enough to discover that they are really delicious and worth putting on a few ounces. The most recommendable dishes are: bigos, kotlet schabowy, pierogi and gołąbki (see below). Poles boast that their two basic products are bread and sausages.
The most typical ingredients used in Polish cuisine are sauerkraut, beetroot, cucumbers (gherkins), sour cream, kohlrabi, mushrooms, sausages and smoked sausage. A meal owes it taste to the herbs and spices used; such as marjoram, dill, caraway seeds, parsley, or pepper. The most popular desserts are cakes and pastries. A shot of vodka is an appropriate addition to festive meals and help you to digest the food.
Poland's culture has always integrated elements from its neighbours, and there are also many recipes of Jewish origin. Nowadays the Polish menu is still changing, being influenced by various, sometimes exotic tastes. Apart from traditional restaurants specialising in Polish cooking, restaurants serving Italian, French and Asian foods are mushrooming in Poland's cities, as well as vegetarian bars.
Chłodnik litewski: cold yoghurt-and-beetroot soup served with a hard boiled egg, originally from Lithuania.
Barszcz biały: sour thick wheat starch soup with marjoram, potatoes, sometimes with cream.
Barszcz czerwony: refreshing beetroot soup with vegetables and sour cream or served clear with dumplings.
Żurek: sour rye soup with potato, sausage or an egg, sometimes served in a bread loaf.
Krupnik: barley soup with a smattering of vegetables and smoked meat.
Kapuśniak: sour cabbage soup.
Zupa ogórkowa: hot sour cucumber soup.
Zupa koperkowa: dill soup.
Rosół z kurczaka: golden chicken consommé with noodles.
Zupa pomidorowa: tomato soup, often with rice or noodles.
Grochówka: thick pea soup.
Zupa grzybowa: mushroom soup with cream.
Flaki wołowe: beef tripe soup.
Smalec: partially double fried lard with onion, marjoram and sometimes with apple or prune. It is spread over bread and served together with pickled cucumbers as an appetizer before the main meal.
Śledzie w śmietanie: herring in sour cream, usually with onion.
Boczek ze śliwką: bacon stuffed with prunes.
Tatar: steak tartar; raw minced beef with chopped onion and raw yolk.
Main Course - Beef & Veal
Eskalopki z cielęciny: veal in a blanket.
Polędwiczki wołowe: beef sirloin, often with rare mushroom sauce.
Ozór wołowy: soft steamed beef tongues.
Sztuka mięsa w sosie chrzanowym: boiled chunk of beef in horseradish sauce.
Zrazy zawijane: beef rolls stuffed with bacon, gherkin and onion or red pepper, in a spicy sauce.
Main Course - Pork
Golonka w piwie: fat, but tasty pork knuckle, sometimes in beer sauce, always with horseradish; very traditional, originally from Bavaria.
Karkówka: tenderloin, usually roasted
Kotlet schabowy: traditional breaded pork cutlet (a tasty choice if you do not want any risk).
Kiełbasa: Polish sausages - white sausages are especially very tasty. They go well with pickled cucumbers (gherkins) in combination with beer or vodka and fresh air.
Żeberka w miodzie: spare pork ribs in honey.
Main Course - Poultry
Kaczka z jabłkami: baked duck in apple.
Kurczak de volaille: chicken steaks spread with butter, filled with mushrooms and bread crumbed, originally French.
Wątróbki drobiowe: chicken liver.
Main Course - Other meat courses
Baranina: roasted or even grilled lamb – great, especially in the mountains.
Klopsiki: meatloaf, often with tomato sauce.
Bigos: appetizing, seasoned "hunter" stew made from sauerkraut with chunks of various meats and sausages, extremely traditional.
Fasolka po bretońsku: cheap bean and sausage stew.
Gołąbki: cabbage parcels originally from Lithuania, they are stuffed with meat or meat and rice.
Kaszanka: grilled or baked solid pieces of buckwheat blended with pork blood and shaped as sausages.
Szaszłyk: originally Caucasian dish; chunks of meat grilled on a spit.
Main Course - Fish
Karp po żydowsku: carp in aspic with raisins, originally Jewish.
Łosoś: salmon, often baked or boiled in a dill sauce.
Pstrąg: trout, sometimes flambé.
Sandacz: pike perch.
Pierogi: very traditional small white dumplings, larger than ravioli, filled with sauerkraut with mushrooms, cheese and potatoes or with fruit. They can be also with meat (z mięsem).
Naleśniki: omelettes stuffed with jam, fruit, cottage cheese etc. and very similar to crepes.
Knedle: potato dumplings stuffed with fruit, usually plums.
Kopytka: hoof-shaped dumplings.
Kluski śląskie: Silesian dumplings, made from boiled potatoes.
Kasza gryczana: buckwheat groats.
Placki ziemniaczane: potato pancakes.
Faworki: pastry twisters.
Galaretka: very sweet jellies.
Makowiec: sweet poppy cake.
Sernik: delicious fat cheese cake.
Szarlotka: cake with apples, sometimes served with whipped cream.