Krakow, the historic city in southern Poland, is not only famous for its rich cultural and architectural heritage but also its mouth-watering cuisine. As you wander the cobbled streets of this picturesque city, the tempting aromas wafting from local restaurants and street vendors will surely lure you in. To help you make the most of your gastronomic adventure in Krakow, we have put together a list of top foods to try while visiting this enchanting city.
Pierogi: Poland’s Comfort Food
No visit to Krakow would be complete without trying pierogi, Poland’s beloved dumplings. These little parcels of joy can be stuffed with a variety of fillings, including potatoes and cheese (pierogi ruskie), meat, mushrooms and cabbage, or even sweet fillings such as fruit. Served with a dollop of sour cream or simply drizzled with melted butter, pierogi are an essential part of any Krakow culinary experience.
Bigos: Poland’s National Dish
Bigos, also known as ‘hunter’s stew’, is a hearty dish made from sauerkraut, fresh cabbage, various cuts of meat, and a medley of spices. This slow-cooked stew is featured in many a Krakow travel guide as it’s both warming and comforting, making it perfect for cooler evenings in both summer and winter. As bigos tastes even better when reheated, it’s not uncommon for Polish families to prepare a large batch and enjoy it over several days.
Placki ziemniaczane: Savoury Potato Pancakes
Placki ziemniaczane are thin, crispy potato pancakes, similar to Swiss Rösti or Jewish latkes. Made from grated potatoes, onion, egg, and flour, these delicious pancakes are fried to golden perfection and can be enjoyed as a side dish, snack or main course. For a truly authentic experience, try placki ziemniaczane served with sour cream and a sprinkling of sugar, or for a heartier meal, topped with goulash.
Barszcz: Beetroot Soup with a Twist
This vibrant beetroot soup is a staple of Polish cuisine and a must-try while in Krakow. Barszcz can be served hot or cold, and its rich, tangy flavour is perfectly complemented by a dollop of sour cream. One popular variation is barszcz with uszka, small mushroom-filled dumplings that are typically served during the Christmas season but can be enjoyed year-round.
Pączki: Polish Doughnuts
Pączki are deep-fried doughnuts filled with rosehip jam, plum jam, or other sweet fillings, and generously dusted with powdered sugar. These fluffy treats are traditionally enjoyed on Fat Thursday, the last Thursday before Lent, but they can be found in bakeries and cafes throughout the year. Sink your teeth into one of these delightful pastries and indulge your sweet tooth.
Obwarzanek Krakowski: Krakow’s Bagel-Like Snack
The obwarzanek krakowski, a ring-shaped bread sprinkled with sesame or poppy seeds, can be traced back to the 14th century and is a protected regional product in the European Union. These chewy, pretzel-like snacks are sold at street kiosks throughout Krakow, making them the perfect on-the-go treat while exploring the city.
Kremówka: Decadent Cream Cake
Kremówka, also known as napoleonka, is a delicious layered pastry filled with rich vanilla custard cream. This dessert gained nationwide fame in Poland when Pope John Paul II, who was born in the nearby town of Wadowice, mentioned his fondness for the local version of the cake. Kremówka is widely available in cafes and patisseries throughout Krakow, and it’s an indulgent way to end a meal or enjoy an afternoon treat with a cup of coffee.