Warsaw: 4 of the best typical foods

Tiempo de lectura: 5 minutos
Warsaw: 4 of the best typical foods
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Fancy some szczecin pasztecik? Or how about a spot of wolowina pieczona? Reading a Polish menu is not for the faint-hearted. Don’t fear! We’re here to help you navigate the crazy, consonant-laden world of Polish food with a rundown of four of the best typical foods in Warsaw.

Polish fare has long been underrated. It might surprise you to learn that modern Warsaw’s foodie scene is exciting and eclectic.

Make like a local and try some hearty Polish fodder at a traditional milk bar. The decor will make you feel like you’ve been transported back to communist-era Poland, and you’ll have to brush up on sign language to order from the all-Polish menu.

At the other end of the scale, head to one of the capital’s many fine dining restaurants for something a little more polish-ed (!).

No matter your restaurant preferences, you’ll want to be armed with some insider gastronomic knowledge. So, read on and learn how to impress your friends as you confidently order four of the best typical foods in Warsaw!

1. Pierogi – Probably Poland’s best-loved typical food

Pierogi are one of Poland’s best-known and most popular typical foods.First up: pierogi! These are one of the best-known typical foods in Warsaw, and with very good reason. These itsy-bitsy, yummy-scrummy stuffed dumplings are divine. Just try to stop after one plate!

So, how do you go about ordering them? Be ready for a barrage of questions from the bar staff: firstly, boiled or fried? Boiling, the more traditional approach, results in a soft, delicate pillow; frying will crisp up your pierogi and add a few calories.

Next decision: the filling. These mini moon-shaped morsels come with a seemingly infinite choice of stuffing. The traditional potato and cheese filling is perennially popular in Warsaw. However, the more adventurous among you might enjoy sauerkraut, strawberries, or even sweet cheese (cheese, sugar and eggs)!

Although these heavenly bites are most associated with Poland, they probably originated in China and appeared in Europe in the Middle Ages. The name “pierogi” means, sensibly, stuffed dumpling.

To avoid sounding like a tourist when you order, never call them “pierogis!” Pierogi is already plural in Polish, so you don’t need to add an s. But you will need to know how to order them in bulk, as there’s no way one of these little gems will be enough!

2. Barszcz – a burgundy beetroot beauty

Barszcz, a beetroot soup, is a typical food in Warsaw and is also known as Borsch or Borscht in Russia and Ukraine.

Barszcz, Borsch or Borscht? A simple case of Tomayto Tomahto? Or is there more to it?

This ever-popular beetroot soup is known as Barszcz in Poland and Borsch or Borscht in Russia and Ukraine. The debate rages on as to the origins of this burgundy beauty, with many countries laying claim. Whatever you call it, it’s one of the most beloved dishes in the region.

Yet another hot topic of discussion surrounds the controversial dish: to eat it hot or to eat it cold? Well, that’s down to preference, really.

One of the best things about this super soup is its versatility. You can enjoy it as a hot dish, as many Varsovians do at Christmas, or as a refreshing, cold consommé in the summer. Sometimes it contains meat, and at others it is vegetarian. And a cheeky shot of Polish vodka is optional!

One thing we know for sure is that this ubiquitous dish is often the first thing you will be offered if you visit a Polish household. You could say it’s loved from Pole to Pole!

3. Golabki - typical Polish cabbage rolls

Golabki are parcels filled with rice and meat and a delicious tomato sauce poured over the top.

Poor old golabki.

This authentic Polish dish gets bad press. With a rather ugly-sounding name (pronounced goh-WOMP-kee), and often translated, unappealingly, as “cabbage rolls,” this most typical Warsaw food is fighting a losing battle to sound tasty.

However, do a little research and you’ll discover that golabki translates as “little doves,” a pretty little moniker that describes the delicate, bird-like shape of the patties.

These petite parcels are made by filling a cabbage leaf with rice and meat. A delicious tomato sauce is then poured over the whole affair. Not sounding so unpleasant now!

The delectable mini rolls are so well-loved in Warsaw that they are a staple food at weddings and festivities. So, get yourself to Warsaw and grab yourself a gob full of golabki!

4. Zygmuntówka – an eclectic modern Polish dessert

Zygmuntówka is a unique dessert that won a competition to become Warsaw’s official dessert.Looking for a sweet treat that represents modern Warsaw? Then look no further than Zygmuntówka.

In 2009, Warsaw City Hall launched a competition to find a suitable candidate to become the city’s first official dessert. In stepped Zygmuntówka. You can forget about the diet, as this eccentric concoction encompasses the ingredients of three average puddings.

It starts with a base of almond pastry, followed by layers of cranberry jam, chocolate mousse and whipped cream. The crowning glory? A tower of chewy, crunchy meringue.

By the way, it’s pronounced Zig-mun-tov-ka; we dare you to attempt to correctly say the name while you’ve got a mouthful of this sinful sweet treat!

Get your ticket to Warsaw and get eating!

These are just a few of the culinary delights that await you in this fantastic city. You have to be there to truly experience it, so start researching Warsaw’s amazing places to visit, figure out how you’re going to travel around the city and make sure you bring a healthy appetite. 

We can’t promise you’ll be able to understand everything on the menu, but we hope you’ll see at least a couple of familiar items on the local specials boards after reading this! And, most of all, we feel confident you’ll delight in the delectable food offerings in wonderful Warsaw.

Frequently Asked Questions

You can easily find budget options for eating out in Warsaw, especially if you stick to local food. International restaurants can be more expensive. If you are staying in accommodation with a kitchen, buying food to cook in a supermarket is also cheap. Remember that the Polish currency is the zloty, not the euro! So if the prices look expensive, remember to convert the currency!

It’s not obligatory, but if you feel the service was good, then you can leave a tip of anywhere from around 5% up to 15% of the meal.

Warsaw is a buzzing European capital with loads to see and do. We’d recommend a minimum of 2 – 3 days, but if you have a little longer, you’ll be able to see even more and take your time!

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