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What Polish foods do foreigners generally not take to?



Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
4 May 2017  #1

I have in mind not so mcuh expats who may have Polish spouses or have spent some years in Poland and acquired a taste for previously unfmaulair foods, but first-time visitors to Poland. Over the years I have shown numerous visitors, mainly Polish Americans, around Warsaw and communicated with many via correspondence. The 3rd, 4th and futher generations of Polish Americans are usually fond of the stereotypical old standbys: kapusta, kiełbasa, gołąbki, pierogi, krupnik, naleśniki, pączki and a few other favourites, but often draw the line at such things as tripe (flaki), black pudding (kaszanka), jellied pig trotters (zimne nogI) and aspic dishes in general. To the uninitiated zsiadłe mleko (clabbered sour milk) is milk that has gone off, althouhg in Poland the cultured variety is now commercially avaialble alongside the kefir and yoghurt. I was surprsied to learn that żurek is amongst the favourite soups of fireign visitors. One would think it has a very non-Anglo-Saxon flavour that takes some getting used to. Perhaps it's the novelty of it being served by some restaurants in a hollowed-out loaf of rye bread that's the main attraction?! Have you had any similar experiences?


Lyzko 15 | 2,938    
4 May 2017  #2

Don't let's please not forget my personal favorites pyzy and bigos, while you're at it.....
jon357 63 | 11,634    
4 May 2017  #3

Perhaps it's the novelty of it being served by some restaurants in a hollowed-out loaf of rye bread that's the main attraction?!

No. It's just nice. Restaurants abroad have been doing soup in a hollowed loaf for decades and most żurek isn't served that way anyway.

When I first came here I had some friends to visit. East European food wasn't totally new to them (they had Ukrainian grandparents) and they liked everything except fruit-filled pierogi and gulasz wieprzowy (which they described as "rank"). I took some pickled mushrooms back to the UK for someone (a real gourmet with good taste in food) as a gift and they politely suggested that they didn't want to see any more of that slimy stuff in a jar.

I can't abide zsiadle mleko or kefir; that's just personal taste. I like kaszanka but think it's a poor substitute for British black pudding.
DominicB - | 1,879    
5 May 2017  #4

Presenting visiting Polish-Americans with a placek węgierski provokes a bit of WTF. It's not part of traditional Polish-American cuisine and the concept seems bizarre: putting Dinty Moore on placki??? Who would do such a thing?
Joker - | 222    
5 May 2017  #5

Americans are usually fond of the stereotypical old standbys: kapusta, kiełbasa, gołąbki, pierogi, krupnik, naleśniki, pączki and a few other favourites

Oh, Yes! I love it! You forgot about my favorite, Zrazy!!!!

but often draw the line at such things as tripe (flaki), black pudding (kaszanka), jellied pig trotters (zimne nogI) and aspic dishes in general.

Ewww, that rivals the plastic cheese. LoL



OP Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
5 May 2017  #6

slimy stuff in a jar

Most likely those were maślaki (slippery jacks), which indeed are kind of slimy. Other pickled mushrooms in vinegary marinades (pieczarki, kurki, borowiki, etc-) are not slimy.

I forgot brined cucumbers (ogórki kwaszone). Foreigners used to cucumbers pickled in vinegary marinades (ogórki konserwowe, korniszony) find the brine-cured variety to have an unusual, musty off-taste.

Recently a stateside cousin of mine visited us. He's in his 50s with a very Polish surname but was raised in American suburbia and displayed what could be called a "milk-shake mouth" and "peanut-butter palate". He raved about most of the food we served but didn't much fancy marinated herring, sour cream on his jam-filled naleśniki, sękacz or twarożek ze szczypiorkiem for breakfast. He loved the strong 7-8% beer but thought the coffee was too strong.
jon357 63 | 11,634    
5 May 2017  #7

Yes, maslaki. A friend makes them. The same people I took those too also got some pieczarki in a jar, which they thought was bland.

ogórki kwaszone

Ogorki kiszone always go down well.
OP Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
5 May 2017  #8

placek węgiersk

I presume you mean a potato pancake denched with goulash? Very nice but hard on the gastric system fort those not used to it from childhood.
Cardno85 31 | 969    
5 May 2017  #9

I like kaszanka but think it's a poor substitute for British black pudding.

I also like it and am of a similar opinion. That being said, black pudding/kaszanka are very particular to where it was made and by whom. A lot of shop bought kaszanka can be quite bland, but you can get some really good stuff off the beaten track. Same can be said of black pudding, some in the shop will turn to powder (like an overcooked hard boiled egg yolk) in your mouth and leave a poor taste, but proper (Stornoway!!) stuff is second to none!
jon357 63 | 11,634    
5 May 2017  #10

but proper (Stornoway!!) stuff is second to none!

I haven't tried that yet - I like the stuff from Bury market.

Same with kielbasa wiejska. The shop-bought ones aren't always very nice, but actually made by a farmer it's excellent.

I like chlodnik litewski, however I've seen foreign visitors really struggle to finish a bowl. Also very 'wet' salads with peas etc in. I suppose it's down to taste.
DominicB - | 1,879    
5 May 2017  #11

A lot of shop bought kaszanka can be quite bland, but you can get some really good stuff off the beaten track.

Quality varies enormously. When I lived in Skierniewice and Łowicz, the local butcher shop in Łowicz made a very good version, and it was a regular part of my diet. After I moved to Wrocław, I never could find anything decent, and stopped eating it altogether. The best Kaszanka I had was grilled over a fire in an oil drum by a Belarusan woman at the market at the old stadium in Warsaw. It's on my list as one of the top ten things I have ever eaten. Respect.

Kiełbasa also ranges from sublime to inedible. Generally, price is a good clue. If it's cheap, it's almost always bad.
Chemikiem 4 | 886    
5 May 2017  #12

tripe (flaki), black pudding (kaszanka), jellied pig trotters

Just the thought makes my stomach heave.

Restaurants abroad have been doing soup in a hollowed loaf for decades

Yep, had that a few times in Czech Republic. I've never seen żurek served that way although it might be common in touristy type restaurants i suppose.
Roger5 1 | 1,200    
6 May 2017  #13

I like kaszanka but think it's a poor substitute for British black pudding.

Indeed, or Irish or French, but needs must when the devil drives. I just wish someone would make kaszanka that doesn't fall apart in the pan.

I have to admit that it took me about fifteen years before I tried żurek. Now I'm hooked. Never seen soup in a loaf outside of former Czeko.
mafketis 16 | 4,249    
6 May 2017  #14

I visited Poland for the first time in my 20s.

Of foods that were different from what I was used to, I took immediately to were pierogies, chłodnik, tatar, żurek and bigos. Flaczki were a tougher sell (though I like them occasionally). Pickle soup took a little longer, and kaszanka an even harder sell (I don't mind it cold but only like it cooked if it's not plain - in Hungary they make wonderful liver kaszanka). I'm still unimpressed by fish in jello (who thinks up something like that?) and herring in general (I only like it done a few ways). I almost threw up the first time I had ozorki (biting into a tongue.... but then I chopped it up into tiny pieces and it tasted okay).

I like Polish horseradish though I hated it before coming to Poland.

Pickled pigs feet and head cheese / souce were already well known to me from the south

One weird thing is I don't like peas and carrots (I like both but the way Poles prepare them drains the taste from both) spinach also

Americans mostly don't understand the difference between soured and spoiled milk (pasteurized milk doesn't sour it goes straight from drinkable to spoiled) and tend to use the word sour for both which makes zsiadłe mleko a tough sell.
NoToForeigners 7 | 709    
6 May 2017  #16

How many years in Poland? Flaki isn't a soup and it's "galaretka". Jeez.... So basic errors yet talking about how Poland and Poles are.... ROFL
jon357 63 | 11,634    
6 May 2017  #17

Galaretka used to be popular in Britain, something of a treat or a small luxury. That was before the days of fridges, which became widespread in Britain earlier than in Poland.

Basically, Brits (probably Americans too) lost the taste for it a couple of generations before Poland and it seems strange to visitors.

Hard to imagine it being very popular in Poland for very long now people don't need to use wobbly jelly from boiled bones to keep food from decaying.
rozumiemnic 9 | 3,106    
6 May 2017  #18

Jeez....

we all make little spelling mistakes, Snotty, including you.
It looked an awful lot like a soup to me..:):)
jon357 63 | 11,634    
6 May 2017  #19

Definitely a soup Roz!
przyslijprzepis.pl/przepis/tradycyjne-flaczki

I can't abide the stuff and would never eat it unless I was desperately hungry and there was no other option. My granny used to sell it and I had enough put in front of me years ago. Basically tripe is poverty food that isn't especially healthy or nice and on it's own doesn't have a lot of flavour.

Foreign visitors have either never eaten tripe or have bad memories of it, so unlikely to catch on with short term visitors or tourists.
NoToForeigners 7 | 709    
6 May 2017  #20

Had a black pudding in England when i used to live there. IT WAS AWFUL. Yuck! Makes me sick even now. Same with those british pies. Y U C K!!!
jon357 63 | 11,634    
6 May 2017  #21

Here's a fish jelly. I suppose I'm long used to eating it out of politeness by now, though I've seen visitors recoil. With some of the chicken ones, the jelly is dyed slightly pink.

Galaretka z ryba
DominicB - | 1,879    
6 May 2017  #22

@jon357

It's not really all that popular among Poles, either. at least younger ones. Americans find it strange because the texture of gelatin is associated entirely with sweet deserts. Surprised that you said that Brits would find it strange. Isn't jellied eels a big thing there?
OP Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
6 May 2017  #23

zsiadłe mleko

Zsiadłe mleko is literally clabbered milk, not sour, soured or sppoilt milk. It clabbers as it ripens. It's like with how yoghurt got cleverly foisted off on the American public. Liek the plague the marekters and promtoers avoided such terms as fermented or soured-milk product. Most Yanks go through life believing it's a kind of pudding or custard.
mafketis 16 | 4,249    
6 May 2017  #24

Zsiadłe mleko is literally clabbered milk, not sour,

I've only had it once and it wasn't lumpy, but just thick and more or less like sour cream so it probably wasn't authentic.
DominicB - | 1,879    
6 May 2017  #25

@Polonius3

Older Americans associate the texture of zsiadle mleko with a once-popular dessert: rennet custard (Junket). For some reason, it lost popularity. Quite like it though myself.
OP Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
6 May 2017  #26

fish jelly

A turnoffish name. Fish in aspic sounds a bit more appetising.

wasn't lumpy

A whisk will make it smooth and creamy.
jon357 63 | 11,634    
6 May 2017  #27

Most Yanks go through life believing it's a kind of pudding or custard.

Most sold there is heavily sweetened and this shapes tastes. Most of the Polish stuff is heavily sweetened too, however a visitor used to creamier products would find zsiadle mleko a challenge.

Kefir is more accessible, but at its best in a chlodnik litewski. For visitors, the pink colour is less offputting, though I've had guests from abroad who didn't like it.

People who come to Poland from the Middle East are fine with kefir, unsweetened youghurt etc - they're used to similar products. For a visitor from Japan, you'd have a hard time persuading them to touch it.
OP Polonius3 1,009 | 12,456    
6 May 2017  #28

chlodnik litewski

Only once did I serve chłodnik to third-genratrion PolAms not familiar with it, and it didn't go over. They all tasted it to be polite, but left much of it in their bowls.
jon357 63 | 11,634    
6 May 2017  #29

Only once did I serve chłodnik to third-genratrion PolAms not familiar with it, and it didn't go over

I had exactly the same experience. Personally I love the stuff. One of the nicest soups I know and certainly the best cold one. 100x better than gazpacho or vichyssoise.
rozumiemnic 9 | 3,106    
7 May 2017  #30

Isn't jellied eels a big thing there?

no not really these days,,,not at all.




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