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Weird Polish Foods You Need To Try!

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Weird Polish sausages, tomatoes and bread arranged on a wooden plate.

Polish food can be as weird as it is delicious. In fact, the Compendium Ferculorum from the 17th century lists a number of weird Polish food such as beaver tails or calamus reeds. Those recipes didn’t stick around till now, but here are 13 strange Polish food that you definitely must try!

1. Zimne Nogi

Zimne nogi Polish jelly.
Zimne nogi: Polish jelly of pigs feet

Jellied pigs feet may be the weirdest food yet. Translating to cold legs, it’s made by setting pigs legs in a cold jelly along with boiled root veggies.

It’s believed to have been served in 1518 at the wedding of King Sigismund I of Poland with Bona Sforza, the Italian-born Polish Queen.

The dish is served cold with horseradish or lemon juice.

Zimne Nogi might sound like a strange dish to eat, but it is quite tasty!

2. Kaszanka

Kaszanka blood sausage.
Kaszanka blood sausage

Kaszanka is a traditional Polish sausage made with ingredients you might not want to eat at all – pork liver, buckwheat, and fresh pig’s blood! It is usually flavored with marjoram, pepper, and diced onions! Kaszanka or krupniok as it’s called is actually quite delicious.

You’ll find similar dishes in different parts of the world! How do you recognize kaszanka? The pig’s blood gives the sausage an almost chocolatey color! It’s also rich in iron making it a good addition to any diet.

3. Czernina

Czernina duck blood soup.
Polish duck blood soup is called Czernina

Want more blood? Try the infamous Polish duck blood soup!

Originating in Northern and Central Poland, this popular traditional Polish soup is called czarna polewka or czernina. It’s also called chocolate soup because the duck’s blood turns it brown in color!

Czernina has been around for a long time and was also mentioned in the epic Pan Tadeusz.

4. Flaki

Flaczki tripe stew.
Flaczki tripe stew

If duck blood or pig’s blood isn’t weird for you, try this next Polish dish!

Flaczki or flaki is made with the guts of cows or what is called beef tripe. The tripe has a pillowy texture and most Poles have a love-hate relationship with it. Some love it, some hate it!

The flaki soup is usually served with bread and is a popular dish at Polish weddings!

5. Smalec

Pork lard in a small dish next to bread.
Smalec or pork lard is a delicacy!

Pork fat anyone? 

Pork fat or pork lard is a delicacy in Poland. But it’s not just plain pork fat. It’s a delicious spread made by cooking pork lard with bacon, pork rinds, onions, garlic, salt, pepper, marjoram, and sometimes apples. This is slow-cooked till it turns into a spreadable mass.

I think smalec is tastier than butter, cheese spread, or peanut butter and can be stored in a jar in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 weeks.

6. Kiszonki

Kapusta kiszona
Fermented foods are prebiotic

Something that goes really well with the smalec is ogorki kiszone, the fermented dill pickles eaten all over Poland. These dill pickles are just one of the many Polish fermented food called kiszonki.

There’s also a quicker version of ogorki kiszone that can be made in 3 days! It’s called ogorki malosolne!

Of course, other countries ferment food too, so they’re not really that weird, but perhaps we ferment a little more! 

For example, we also ferment cabbage to make sauerkraut or milk to make the kefir drink.

All of these fermented Polish foods are prebiotic, so they are very healthy too!

7. Cynaderki Wieprzowe

Pork kidney.
Pork kidney is good for your kidneys!

You’ll have probably understood by now that we love pork, every bit of it! We even turn the offal into delicious dishes. 

The pig’s kidneys are used to make cynaderki wieprzowe (pork kidney stew), a nutritious dish that takes hardly 10 minutes to cook once you’ve drained and prepped it. 

Cooked with fried onions, pork kidneys go well with rice or the dill pickles we listed earlier! Add pork kidneys to your diet if you want more natural nutrients in your food!

8. Golonka W Piwie

Pork hock with veggies.
Pork hocks or pork knuckles: Weirdly delicious!

Pork knuckles or pork hocks are another weird Polish food. The dish called golonka w piwie is made by slow cooking the pork knuckles with onions, carrots, and celery and then baking them with beer

Never was pork meat so tender and luscious!

Of course, you have to remove all the pigs’ feet’ hair before cooking it! Weird? 

9. Golonka Po Poznańsku

Poznan style pork hocks.
Poznan style pork hocks

Another dish made from pork knuckles to pork hocks, this one comes from the region of Poznan and is made without beer.

You’ll find golonka po poznańsku made with slow-cooked pork hocks that are then baked with bacon and fried sauerkraut! 

Feet never tasted better! Truly! Wink!

10. Ozory W Galarecie

Jellied pork tongue.
Jellied pork tongue is good for pregnant women!

Another popular offal dish in Poland is the pigs’ tongue. Pork tongue is cooked as an aspic with veggies and called ozory w galarecie.

Popular in Poland since the early 16th-century, jellied pork tongue is simply delicious! If you’re not offended by offal, you should try it!

Plus, tongue is known to fight anemia, boost your immunity, and help recover from illnesses because it’s rich in zinc, iron, Vitamin B12, and more. No wonder it’s said to be a good dish for pregnant women!

11. Pork Liver

Pork liver.
Fried pork liver!

Wątróbka po bawarsku is made of crunchy Polish liver and fried onions. This traditional Polish dish is also called Wątróbka z Cebulką or Wątróbka Wieprzowa. 

Liver stinks! But we remove the bad odor by soaking the pork liver in milk overnight. The next day the pork liver is fried and cooked with onions, and served with boiled potatoes!

If you need encouragement to try this pork liver recipe, remember that the liver has more nutrients than any other part of the pig, and is amazingly healthy!

12. Fruit Soup

Polish fruit soup.
Polish fruit soup

You can’t have a list of strange Polish food without having some dessert on it. So here it is!

Polish fruit soup is like a kisiel, but different! This Polish dessert is made with fruits and noodles or pasta! It’s a Polish summer dish that’s a combination of dinner and dessert! 

Our fruit soup can be made using strawberries, raspberries, pears, grapes, apples, blackcurrants, apricots, or almost any other fruit you like!

13. Ciepłe Lody

Cieple lody, Polish warm ice cream

A dish from the time of the People’s Republic, the ciepłe lody or warm ice cream was another favorite substitute dish.

When ice creams were too expensive for the common people, mothers got innovative and made lookalike ice creams using an egg-white mousse. Served in waffle cups they were topped with a layer of melted chocolate and broken nuts.

You’ll find it served in the canteens and bars that serve food from PRL times!

12. Oxtail Soup

A soup made of cows’ or pigs’ tails? YES! It’s a local specialty in Poland.

The taste of the Polish oxtail soup is surprisingly good however, the dish is not that easily find in restaurants.

Which of these weird Polish food have you eaten? Which strange Polish food is your favorite?

7 Responses

  1. Fabulous …re the Zimne Nogi…I grew up with additional pigs head in the jelly, ears etc. Childhood memories of a delicious dish….
    An additional interest we Farm a large number of Fallow Deer on our farm and we use the tongues, liver and kidneys…as substitute for Pork…Fabulous Offal.
    I have spoken to you re producing a Game meat cook book.

  2. Grew up in a Polish neighborhood, ate all those foods listed. Still go to my childhood Polish church. I’ve been to Poland 5 times visiting relatives. Miss eating Czernina, can’t find the blood anymore

  3. You are making me hungry and wish my mom was still with me as she made so many of these dishes that I took for granted. My polish roots are showing…

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