My 10 Favourite Polish Foods I’m Missing So Badly in China

I’m a Polish foodie and former chocolate lover (as you may know or not, I gave up chocolate and sweets in January for health reasons). Although, I keen on eating different food from all over the world, I’m always faithful to my native cuisine. Wherever I go, I miss my favourite Polish dishes so badly. Especially now, when I eat Chinese food almost every day.

I try to cook some Polish food in my apartment here in Dongguan, but the taste is never the same. Besides, some ingredients such as bread crumbs, proper cheese and pasta are not available at Chinese supermarkets.

A girl is eating a Polish food and cakes
Having a homemade rosół (chicken soup) with some delicious cakes I baked myself.

 

Some of the features of traditional Polish cuisine:

  • Consists of high calorie dishes.
  • The majority of dishes are stodgy and filling.
  • Very rich in meat such as beef, chicken and pork.
  • Bread and flour are the main ingredients.
  • Nearly every meal is served with potatoes and kind of salad (gherkins, pickles, sauerkraut).
  • Various herbs and spices are used to make dishes tasty – dill, pepper, parsley, marjoram.
  • Meat is mostly fried, veggies are served raw.

There are times when I would die for a plate of Polish dumpling (pierogi), a bowl of chicken soup (rosół). some herring in oil or just simple butter potatoes. Here is the list of my best Polish food I always look forward to having when coming back home from my exotic voyages:

#1 Rosół (chicken soup)

My best soup every. I usually have it on Sunday dinner after coming back home from church. It always warms me up in winter and gives me a boost of energy in autumn and spring. It takes approximately 45 minutes to cook it. All you need is a piece of meat (chicken is the best one), some water, veggies (onion, parsley, carrot) and salt and pepper for taste. You cook your pasta separately and add it to the soup afterwards. Yummy and refreshing!

A plate of rosół made by my friend last time I was home
A plate of rosół made by my friend last time I was home

 

#2 Bigos (Hunter’s stew)

You can’t really imagine traditional Polish national holidays without having a bowl of homemade bigos on your table. Made from shreds sauerkraut and cabbage plus dried mushrooms with some chopped sausages  tastes just delicious enough to go for the seconds.

A plate of bigos
A plate of bigos

 

#3 Łazanki

My mom used to make them on Saturday lunch and I always looked forward to this. It’s a dish which consists of homemade pasta, chopped and fried cabbage served with well done pork meat and slices of carrot and onions.  Your mouth’s watering when you just look at it!

A plate of łazanki
A plate of łazanki

 

#4 Polish meat – sausages, pork chops and meatballs

You must have heard of famous Polish sausages such as krakowska or starowiejska – smoked and fresh. When I was a kid, I used to have a few slices of bread with butter and sliced sausages for my breakfast. I still remember its smell and flavour and miss it badly these days.

A plate of pork chops and meatballs
A plate of pork chops and meatballs

 

The other meat feast are Polish meatballs (pulpety mielone) and breaded pork cutlets (schabowe). They can be both perfectly served with buttered potatoes and cabbage salad.

 

#5 Herring in oil (śledź w oleju)

A must eat when you attend a Polish wedding! Slightly salty dipped in pickled onion oil or garlic sour cream sprinkled with dills. Real treat!

Polish herring in oil
Polish herring in oil

 

# 6 – Polish dumplings (pierogi)

I can’t get enough of Chinese dumplings (baozi) but they can’t compare to Polish dumplings (pierogi), they just can’t! Reason? Polish ones are thick and can be filled with:

  • Meat (beef).
  • Sauerkraut and mushrooms.
  • Seasonal fruits (strawberries and blueberries taste the best).
  • Cottage cheese and boiled potatoes.

They taste differently every time you eat them and they just melt in your mouth!

A plate of pierogi with fried onion and chives
A plate of pierogi with fried onion
A perfectly shaped dumpling
A perfectly shaped dumpling

 

#7 Polish fish – Greek style (ryba po grecku)

It’s very easy to make, you just need a fried white fish, some carrot, onions and few tomatoes. You lay the fried fish on top of the plate and cover it completely with tomato-vegetable mixture. Served hot or cold tastes equally awesome!

A plate of homemade Polish fish in the Greek style
A plate of homemade Polish fish – Greek style

 

#8 – Gelatine (galareta) 

In very simple words galareta are vegetables and meat ( any kind of poultry, pig’s and cattle’s feet, snouts, ears, skin) dipped in a gelatine.  It has a jelly consistency and tastes nice.

Galareta
Galareta

 

#9 Apple pie with ice cream (jabłecznik z lodami)

It’s my favourite dessert I have every Sundays and a cup of nice latte with cinnamon or hot chocolate are its best friends! I used to put some extra nutella on top to make it more sweet :). Unfortunately, Chinese sweets are tasteless so I can only dream of a dessert like that in China.

A piece of apple pie I had on the top of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland
A piece of apple pie I had on top of the Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw, the capital city of Poland

 

#10 Polish croissant cookies

Filled with jam and made of puff pastry, I simply love them and guess what … I know how to bake them, ha!

SONY DSC

 

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62 Comments

    • How come you didn’t get the chance to try them? I bet you were craving pierogi all the time, ha! ;-)

  • Going to Poland in the summer and I cannot wait to back in the land of pierogi woohoo!! My craving for Polish food will finally be satisfied :D
    (thanks btw Agness for making me hungry in the morning!)

    • Are you going to Poland again this summer? Me too probably. I mean I’m heading to Holland and Belgium for a month in August but I might visit Poland as well in between :). Would be great to finally meet. I am wishing to finally satisfy my cravings for pierogi, can’t wait!! P.S. You’re welcome :)

  • mmmm, Perogies (as we would spell it in Canada!) are my favourite thing ever!! I miss those as well living in China, we used to eat them a lot back home. I want to try the Lazanki, that looks nice.

    hmm, now I’m hungry…

    • Hehehe, wish I could hear you pronounce it with your Canadian accent :). Lazanki are definitely worth trying, way too yummy! I must admit one thing – Chinese dumplings are much better than Polish pierogi (my mom will probably kill me for that, but that’s so true!)

    • You would, I’m telling you that! There is a great variety of them – best for summer would be pierogi stuffed with cherries topped with cream and plenty of sugar!

  • Oh yummmmm! I didn’t know much about Polish food and I never thought of it as a cuisine I would like, but it all sounds delicious! I have a Ukranian grandma and the perogies (it sounds funny with my Canadian accent!) made me homesick. I really really want some saurkraut and mushroom ones :)

    • Oh yes, me too! Unfortunately I need to stick to Chinese dumplings which are also very delicious. My grandma makes the best dumplings stuffed with mince and veggies ever!

  • I think I’d be incredibly happy with the food in China, but these photos are bringing back memories of wandering around Poland and being incredibly happy with the spectacular food choices. And Zubrowka. Mmmm.

  • We used to make pierogi back home in Canada sometimes – it’s such a long process, but so worth it when they’re finished! This is inspiring me to try making them again, even though we probably won’t be able to get quite the right ingredients in Japan.

    • Really? Pierogi in Canada? That’s something unusual I must admit. It is a long process and pretty difficult as well so I leave it to my grandma or my mom :)

  • Not eating meat and not being too keen on stodgy food, I never would have thought Polish food was for me. Until my friend’s Polish/Quebecois boyfriend made me a herring with sour cream dish, a bit like your herring dish above, and oh. my. god. Amazing!!! I could eat it daily, serious so good!!

    • I agree, the herring with sour cream and chopped onions tastes so good. It’s heaven in your mouth:)! Polish cuisine has a lot to offer for vegetarians, so you can still enjoy it even without eating meat.

  • Wow. I don’t think I have ever had real Polish food. My wife Angela is a quarter Polish, so I am going to have to have her call her grandfather to get some authentic recipes. The Lazanki looks and sounds amazing!

    • The authentic recipes are the best ones. You can actually ask Angela’s grandma to make some pierogi for you :) Nothing would compare to that!

  • I know how you feel, missing some good home food while traveling is normal I guess. As you said it’s great to try new food but at the same time there are things from back home you wish you could have any now and then.

    The Pierogi stuffed with fruits are awesome, we didn’t get to try the ones with cottage cheese and potatoes, next time!

    • True France. You’re so lucky to be back home right now. I bet you guys are catching up with Italian food :).

  • I’m going to Poland for the first time in 2014 and this just made me even more excited!! There is a decent Eastern European restaurant in Shanghai that serves pierogi but I’m sure it’s nowhere near as good as the real thing.

    • You guessed it, Shanghai pierogi are nowhere near :). I’m so happy and excited to hear the good news and I hope you will enjoy your time in Poland. If you need anything, just ask.

  • Mmm, I can understand why you are missing them! When I was visiting Japan, I was severely missing all those carb-heavy dishes we have in the US…amazing how quickly you can lose weight on their diet!

    • True, however Chinese meals are also very heavy and stodgy. I actually put on weight instead of losing it :) LOL

  • I do not know much about Polish food but after looking at these photos oh wow I want to try it out all. It looks delicious especially the Polish chicken soup, the dumplings, the meat the apple pie ….

    I can imagine you miss you’re home food when you are away from home for a long time, I love trying out new cuisines but after a couple of weeks I just want to have my Belgian fries with mayonnaise :-)

    • You should definitely try some Polish food when being in Europe. Some of the dishes are just amazing! Belgian fries with mayonnaise? Hmmmm I miss it as well :)

  • I have to say, Polish food looks so amazing!! While I’ve never tried any of it, I now really really want to… :) Totally know how you feel about missing food from your country. As delicious as jiaozi and baozi can be, there’s something wonderful about food from home.

    • So true Emily. You can have the best meals in the world, but nothing compares to home-cooked meal from home, especially made by your mom or grandma!

  • I have to admit, I know next to nothing about Polish food. That chicken soup looks reallllllly good! Not so sure about No. 8, but pass the perogis, please!!!

  • Finding ingredients in a foreign country for a local cuisine is always a challenge but we should try with what we have, right? :) Almost all of these looks delicious, especially the chicken soup and apple pie.

    • That’s right but I need to make a confession – I can’t cook very well :( only basic food and traditional Polish dishes are just way too difficult to prepare. I’ll leave it to my mom when I’m back home :)

  • What a contrast, Poland to China! I’ve only ever visited Poland, but did find the food delicious, so I get why you miss it. When I was visiting, I ran into a lot of little vendors selling ‘Zapiekankis’, which are still my favourite street food to date! I’m totally craving perogies now…

  • I’m embarrassed to say that I”m 50% Polish and I’ve never heard of half the foods you mentioned! My Dad used to be all about promoting our Polish heritage though, and every Christmas we would eat pierogis, kelbosi (not sure if I spelled that right…), and potato soup. I would love to try all the other foods you mentioned!

    • What? Are you being serious? I didn’t know you are half Polish!! Great news. Don’t worry about it. I feel ashamed for not knowing all German dishes and not even speaking German so it’s ok :). Kelbosi is actually kielbasa (dried Polish sausage) which is amazing. Hope you can make it to Poland and try all of the food.

    • Thanks Kathleen. I actually can’t wait to go back home to crave my favourite dishes :-). Once you try one thing, you ask for more and more… :-)

  • Hi Agness, I understand your angst. Not only is Chinese food so world apart from Polish food but Polish dish ingredients are so hard to find in China. I crave for Filipino food from time to time, but the thing is there are Filipino stores in New York where I can pick up what I crave for. I can just imagine how frustrating it is to crave for your traditional food and can’t get them.

  • When I got back from South America this year i couldnt wait to cook myself some healthy food as it seemed as though eating on a budget in south america meant eating alot of greasy fried food including snitzel and burgers…however thats what i loved when i first arrived in south america. I like to chop and change with the food i eat, curry one night, noodles the next, then pizza :) i find it hard to do that when travelling on a budget – you have to just stick to the staple food in the country your in.

    • I know. So true. Healthy food can be really expensive even in Asia, especially fresh fish or chicken. Veggies and fruits are cheap though. When I travel, I allow myself to eat everything I want, but at the same time I try to keep the balance. Have a healthy snacks, something greasy for a lunch and come back to a healthy dinner :). I’m going to South America soon and that scares me!! It cannot be that expensive, can it?

  • Omg that apple pie looks to die for!! Thanks for sharing this, I’m ashamed to say that I know so little of Polish cuisine. If love to try some of these one day. I truly think that eating is one of the greatest joys of travelling- you take in so much of a country’s condition through its food.

    • Thanks Tim. Maybe you can make it to Poland one day and we will teach more more about Polish food and drinking habits :)

    • They are heaven in your mouth, seriously. My mom promised to cook some when I get back home. Less than 4 weeks left!!! Pierogis, I’m coming!!

  • I’m so excited to spend several days in Poland in a few weeks! I’ve always loved pierogi :) I haven’t heard of some of the others on the list though. I’m excited to try Bigos, but I’m not sure I’ll be able to stomach galareta. I can’t wait for our trip to start!

    • Hi Jen. Great to hear you’re going to Poland. I bet you will enjoy the food, local hospitality and historical monuments. Galareta tastes better than it looks, I’m telling you. Enjoy your trip and I want to know what food was your favourite one:)

  • Ok, I want to visit your grandma (I miss mine more than you can know) so she can cook for me!! These dishes look amazing, Agness. So, if you could pick ONE dish (and only one…I know, unfair question)…which one would it be for you to eat?? :)

  • I’ve eaten so many pierogi since arriving in Poland!!! They’re really good, and I was surprised that they are so similar to Asian dumpling, except of course very different fillings. Looking forward to trying some more Polish food, though it’s harder for vegetarians of course.

    • NICE! What was your favourite feeling? Mine are fruits (strawberries and raspberries) and of course potatoes with cheese!

  • Ah, these are some of my favourite foods too! I always try to get my mum to teach me some of the recipes when I see her – so that I can recreate them myself, of course! Hope you get to eat some of these soon xx

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