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The must-try Krakow foods and drink items

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If you are like me you will need to know what Krakow foods and drink items are the best. When I travel I love nothing more than to find the local treats in each region. I enjoy trying to live like the locals in the area I am visiting, whether that be with the accommodation I choose to stay in, the transport I try and use or the food I attempt to eat. 

In my opinion, this all adds to my overall experience in each place I am lucky enough to see. It doesn’t always mean that I enjoy all aspects but for me, it is an important part of why I travel, to begin with.

Top 5 Must try items when in Krakow

Below I have listed the 5 items I enjoyed the most and the Krakow foods and drink items you must try while visiting Krakow, Poland. It includes some sweets, large hearty meals and a delicious option to wash the food down with at the end. If you are heading to Krakow and would like to know what I got up to during my stay be sure to have a read of my “72 hours in Krakow” and see the “5 Must-do items” I recommend to see.


Pierogi / Dumplings

These doughy goodies are a very traditional delight found all over Krakow. They are typically filled with either savoury or sweet produce like potato (Ruskie), sweet cheese, meat, mushrooms and cabbage, strawberries or plums. They are then cooked in boiling water or steamed before being topped with butter, sour cream, fried onions or any combination of the 3. You can also skip the toppings and enjoy them as they are.

Nowadays, a little like the zapiekanka, which is also featured later on in this list, the fillings you can find are almost endless. If you look around you will find all sorts of weird and wonderful fillings to try anywhere from chocolate to liver. Do yourself a favour and begin at the original flavours before branching out into something a little more daring or unconventional.

Bigos / Hunter’s stew

This one is sort of a stand back and see what you have in the kitchen and add it sort of dish. The result is the perfect winter stew. It generally has lots of cabbage/sauerkraut, meat and sausage that has generally been left over from something else and any vegetables like mushrooms and onions. Add to this garlic, bay leaves, seasoning of salt and pepper and bingo you have the basis of a Bigos stew. The stew is then left to simmer for as long as desired before then being served hot. Perfect comfort food for those cold Polish days and a welcome inclusion on the list of Krakow foods and drink items you need to sample.

4 Hour Food Tour in Krakow
Food Tour Krakow Eats

Zapiekanka (Za-pie-Kan-ka)

This dish is something you will find all over the city. In my opinion, there are some good places and some not so good ones dotted around everywhere. The good ones come loaded with the freshest of vegetables, plenty of meat, if you ask for one with meat and sauce dripping onto your fingers as you try to get it. The ones you are better off trying to find have been serving these local treats for years and are often located just outside the main touristy area or main square, try and avoid if possible the stores that are trying to cash in on the tourist interest.

The traditional way a Zapiekanka is served is an open baguette which is cut in half lengthways topped with sautéed mushrooms and cheese then grilled before being applied with a rich homemade tomato sauce. It is the perfect for a feed on the way home after a great night sampling one too many Wiśniówka’s, a local vodka, which I mention soon.

Nowadays, however, the humble Zapiekanka comes with almost any combination of flavoured toppings you can think of and the best place to sample the traditional or not so traditional variations to this Polish delight is at the vendors at Plac Nowry. Leaving without going here and sampling one or 2 of these would be a huge mistake.

Golonka/Pork Knuckle or Hock

This is exactly as it sounds, a nice big chunk of pig’s thigh. It is a delicious piece of meat that is either cooked braised, boiled or roasted and generally served with a side of horseradish. Perfect for the true meat lover out there and a must try in my opinion. If cooked correctly the meat will simply fall off the bone and melt in your mouth. Packed full of flavour.

Krakow Evening Food Walking Tour
Taste of Poland Walking Food Tour

Flavoured Vodka

Rounding out the list of Krakow foods and drink items you must try is Wiśniówka. It’s without a doubt, the most popular flavoured vodka found in Krakow. It is cherry flavoured and dangerously easy to drink. Even better still it is super wallet friendly. You will find young and old alike enjoying this while you are in Krakow.

Handy hint: if you find it too sweet for your liking then request a dash of grapefruit juice added to this shot. Its common and even some of the locals do it. Really good.

3 Hour Vodka and Culture Tour
The Vodka Feast
Vodka Tour Krakow

Check out other tours on offer at Krakow here

There it is, my must try Krakow foods and drink culinary items I found the most enjoyable in Poland. It is an extremely meaty diet that I made full use of. Be sure to have a read of my other Poland blogs and enjoy your time visiting a city with such a huge story to tell.

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The complete food and drinks guide for visiting Krakow, Poland

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Happy Travels Brodie

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