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Why are Polish restaurants not successful in the USA?


bullfrog 6 | 602
8 Sep 2011 #661
Yeah, but be fair for a moment.. Only English people like an English breakfast.

To the point that the guy who said 'To eat well in England you need to have 3 breakfasts a day" was an Englishman!
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
8 Sep 2011 #662
not really.

How is it not?

The noodle soup tastes broadly similar, and although the pierogi-like types of dim sum have clearly non-Polish flavours, they are still about as (allegedly) "bland" as Polish pierogi are. I once had chicken feet soup in a Birmingham restaurant which tasted almost exactly like our chicken soup does.

But I only make/eat Cantonese food; Szechuan (that almost sounds Polish itself, lol) versions may be different ;)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
8 Sep 2011 #663
Noodle soup - maybe. But for me Chinese is a bad example as I find much Chinese food bland too. Needs to have ginger or garlic or chilli or at something strong in it for me - like Szechuan, as you say. A lot of it I simply find too insipid.

pierogi with sauerkraut and mushrooms

Sauerkraut fair enough, but any Polish mushrooms I've had were pretty tasteless.

Talking of soup though, Polish chicken soup, sorry no offence but it really is the most bland and pointless thing I've ever tasted.

Water + oil + salt with noodles - that's what it tasted like to me (and this was on a few separate occasions/locations)

Anyway, don't mean to complain about Polish food - I'm OK with it usually but I still maintain that it is pretty bland. Many non-Polish PFers seems to agree - can we all be so wrong?
FUZZYWICKETS 8 | 1,883
9 Sep 2011 #664
teffle wrote:

Noodle soup - maybe. But for me Chinese is a bad example as I find much Chinese food bland too.

if i may ask.....Chinese food from where are you basing this comparison on?

Teffle wrote:

Many non-Polish PFers seems to agree - can we all be so wrong?

i think that's the point we've reached. the stuff lacks flavor.
Teffle 22 | 1,321
9 Sep 2011 #665
if i may ask.....Chinese food from where are you basing this comparison on?

Well, not China if that's what you're saying.

Various Chinese restaurants across 4 or 5 European countries over twenty years or so - the US too occasionally.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
9 Sep 2011 #666
Talking of soup though, Polish chicken soup, sorry no offence but it really is the most bland and pointless thing I've ever tasted.

Hehe, not offended; I once made some for Polish food for English friends and they said "why do you lot like eating stock?" LMAO. They had a point! :)

Anyway, don't mean to complain about Polish food - I'm OK with it usually but I still maintain that it is pretty bland. Many non-Polish PFers seems to agree - can we all be so wrong?

Likewise, I agree - but bland isn't always bad. Sometimes I want something a little plainer. I cook a variety of food, with ingredients from Polish, Italian, Caribbean, Chinese, English and Indian cuisines. But sometimes just a few plain unspiced papads, or a few cheese and potato pierogi, are all that's needed ;)

Well, not China if that's what you're saying.

Not aimed at me I know, but tbh the food in Hong Kong is similar-tasting to what we would find in "Cantonese" restaurants here - don't expect Szechuan spiciness unless you look for it - the difference is, you wouldn't be able to ask for "chicken and intestine combination rice" over here, like I once had in a backstreet restaurant in Wan Chai LOL.
Ironside 51 | 11,510
9 Sep 2011 #667
i think that's the point we've reached. the stuff lacks flavor.

or chemicals lol
teflcat 5 | 1,032
9 Sep 2011 #669
you wouldn't be able to ask for "chicken and intestine combination rice" over here, like I once had in a backstreet restaurant in Wan Chai LOL.

If you go to Chinatown in London's Soho, you'll find restaurants that serve all kinds of things, but they tend to be on the menu in Chinese only. If you know what you want, just ask and you'll probably get it. btw I used to go to Chinatown twice a week for twenty years, and I got to know the best places.

One of my favourites is Mr Poon's in Lisle St., which is between Gerrard St. and Leicester Square. There is (or was) a Mr. Poon's in Leicester Place but it was an up-market version of the original Poon's around the corner in Lisle St. This place is very narrow and operates on about five floors. Their hotpots are famous. The other restaurant I like is in Manchester place, just off Gerrard St, but I can't remember the name. Great food and cheap. The restaurants in the main Chinatown street, Gerrard St. are good but cater to the tourist trade mostly. Always look in the window and go where you see Chinese people eating.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
9 Sep 2011 #670
I've been going to the Wong Kei for 21 years but I wouldn't take a date there, lol :)

My mum won't go anywhere else when she's in town; I've tried taking her to "better" places, but she always says "take me to that place where they shout at you" LOL :)
Teffle 22 | 1,321
9 Sep 2011 #671
I've been going to the Wong Kei for 21 years

Ha Ha!

Great fun! Was there a few times when I lived in London. Do they still do the funny/v brisk/rude shtick?

Reminded me of an army mess or something - always busy too.

From memory, the food was pretty good - cheap too and if you don't mind a chipped cup and the waiter telling you to hurry up or whatever, a great night is possible (best enjoyed while slightly drunk)
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
9 Sep 2011 #672
:)

It's smartened up a bit (note: only a bit ;) ) and the service isn't anywhere near as rude as it was in the 90s, but you will still see people (mostly fat Americans) walk out when the waiter walks up to the table 5 seconds after they've sat down and they shout "yes, order!" lol.

Food hasn't changed, it's still cheaper than a lot of takeaways, and having spent a fair bit of time in HK, it's pretty authentic as well. Love the place, but I don't go into the West End that much these days. But when I do, I would never go anywhere else.

Though it's nothing compared to a Lebanese place in Paddington I once took an ex to - OK so they did warn us that we would only have a limited time, or we may need to move. But right on the dot, when that time was reached, the waiters came out of nowhere and picked up ALL our food, drinks, candles, and tablecloths (everything! even our phones! lol) and moved us to another table, just to make room for a larger group who had booked a table by the wall! I do LMAO when I look back at that now :)

edit: just to stop some faceless you-know-who coming along with the patronising red font message :p most of the Polish restaurants in London aren't much better when it comes to service (except that place in Goldhawk Road, forget what it's called, but it was nice back in the day, i.e. late 90s (too hot inside though).
Wroclaw 44 | 5,384
9 Sep 2011 #673
I've been going to the Wong Kei for 21 years but I wouldn't take a date there, lol

i love that place. you are told to sit, told to order, the tea is free...

strange, it must be 21yrs since i was last there. and the name i find amusing.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,849
9 Sep 2011 #674
I've been going to the Wong Kei for 21 years but I wouldn't take a date there, lol :)

My mum won't go anywhere else when she's in town; I've tried taking her to "better" places, but she always says "take me to that place where they shout at you" LOL :)

hahha Wonkeys, what a fab place, but yes how unromantic.....
Sadly for your mum and the rest of us though the waiters don't seem half as rude as they used to be....perhaps all that shouting was exhausting for them ...UPSTAIRS!!!!

When I take the kids there the waiters are almost charming....(relatively)
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
9 Sep 2011 #675
LOL, it's true - they even make conversation sometimes these days - they used to be like Chinese robots before haha.

It was mostly "DOWNSTAIRS!!" when I was still married, though; we mostly ended up in the basement with the waterfall lol, now I get stuck with all the sad single people ordering single-plate meals on the ground floor... haha.
rozumiemnic 8 | 3,849
9 Sep 2011 #676
now I get stuck with all the sad single people ordering single-plate meals on the ground floor... haha.

oh that's the best place Sid, especially if you sit facing the door and get to watch all the horrified French and Americans etc running away screaming. Now a POlish place based on the genius of Wonkey's could do REALLY well, some hard faced Babcias as waitresses, generous plates of pierogi and rosoł, banged down angrily....what do you think?
f stop 25 | 2,513
10 Sep 2011 #677
LOL That reminds me: The Soup Man in Manhattan, which was an inspiration for Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld (and which grew into international chain) established a set of "rules" for ordering his soup:

1. Pick the soup you want.
2. Have your money ready.
3. Move to the extreme left after ordering.
4. Another added rule, created after the Seinfeld episode, states not to mention "The N Word [for Nazi].
I have a very good pizzeria in my town, the guy routinely picks the ladies down the line and serves them, ignoring all the guys, waiting for them to say something. :)

And I buy the fish from a wholesaler that sits behind a big desk and gets pissed off if you speak first.
If there is something we want, we don't mind taking some abuse, or we like colorful characters.
Sidliste_Chodov 1 | 441
10 Sep 2011 #678
oh that's the best place Sid, especially if you sit facing the door and get to watch all the horrified French and Americans etc running away screaming. Now a POlish place based on the genius of Wonkey's could do REALLY well, some hard faced Babcias as waitresses, generous plates of pierogi and rosoł, banged down angrily....what do you think?

hahahahaha!!!!!!!!! Oh, that would be great - I know just the person to run it as well! lol
_Kristin_ - | 6
10 Sep 2011 #679
Yeah, the same people who say that are probably the same ones who complain that there aren't enough Chinese or Indian takeaways in Poland lol

LOL Agreed, Agreed..
drkaito - | 1
12 Sep 2011 #680
Have any of you checked out Shop & Save in Bridgeview, IL? We go there often, but now that Taste of Poland opened in Dyer, we go there weekly for our basic things. The food is good and it's nice and close to our house!
EM_Wave 9 | 311
19 Dec 2011 #681
Some Polish food I've tried is good but I'm not sure it was exclusively Polish.

There definitely is a lot of food in Polish cuisine that is overrated. There is some garbage I wouldn't even feed my dog.
southern 75 | 7,096
19 Dec 2011 #682
There definitely is a lot of food in Polish cuisine that is overrated. There is some garbage I wouldn't even feed my dog.

Addicted to african food?
Seanus 15 | 19,706
19 Dec 2011 #683
What garbage? If you think tripe is exclusively Polish then you are wrong.
PennBoy 76 | 2,436
22 Aug 2012 #684
Why are Polish restaurants not successful in the USA?

They are in some places...
50polish
16 Jan 2014 #685
Polish food is hearty simple food but most of the dishes take a lot of time to make and you have to know exactly how to do it otherwise it will not taste right.

I think the reason why Polish food is not popular amongst Americans is that theyare not used to the taste of real food. When you eat proper Polish food you can taste all the ingredients.

It seems to me that Americans like food that doesn't have many flavours, it's either sweet, greasy, salty or spicy. Your basically just tasting the spices that are used or the fat it's cooked in and not what it's actually made of.

Their tastebuds are used to the the same tastes which I mentioned before so when trying something that is totally different they don't like it.

That's my theory.
lunacy - | 73
16 Jan 2014 #686
50polish - that might be partially correct. Besides a lot of the most-known Polish dishes focus on the amazing taste of different vegetables - and here I see one problem. All of my family members or friends who moved to USA are always complaining that the veggies or fruits there are tastless! My cousin is a vegetarian and especially loves the authentic flavors, so when she visits Poland from time to time she seriously binge on e.g. simple tomatoes or apples - because apparently the American ones "don't even smell like real tomatoes" [or apples], at least those are her words.

But most of you [from what I read in this thread so far] are forgetting about the most important historical influences. First of all: it's a historical fact that great majority of Polish immigrants coming to USA were poor farmers, who most likely themselves didn't know many dishes apart from the simple ones they were able to cook from a few ingredients available around their homes - back then it was all about survival and not everyone cared about taste or variety anymore. The years of partitions, wars, struggle, hunger seriously led to impoverishment of the cuisine, then the decades of communism made it even worse and more bland [my mother remembers times when she couldn't even get enough salt or pepper, things just weren't available in shops e.g. during the Martial Law in the beginning of 1980s]. Only in the recent years the real Polish cuisine is being slowly rediscovered, for example thanks to the old cookbooks [like by Lucyna Ćwierczakiewiczowa from XIX century or Danuta Wyrybkowska from the 30s]. Things are much more complicated than just that and I agree with a few opinions here - even in Poland we still have restaurants that serve garbage [really tastless] food - I believe that it 1) of course always depends on the cook and 2) is just a post-communistic habit of people being used to pierogi, barszcz, żurek and other, which are in fact some of the most simple and cheap dishes from old-Polish cuisine.
Szczerbaty 4 | 49
17 Jan 2014 #687
I highly recommend SkinnyTatO in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada. Great freshly prepared Polish food and very friendly owners to chat with.
Meathead 5 | 470
17 Jan 2014 #688
America is a very different climate than Europe. A few years ago I was in England around Christmas time and my sister in law had us harvest some brussel sprouts out of the yard (it was late December or early January). In America you can't leave anything on the vine later than September or October. London has the same latitude of Central Canada and look how much more mild the climate is in England. Europe has a much more milder climate and longer growing season, that's why there veggies are so much fresher. In the States everything has to go in storage for the winter.
McDouche 6 | 285
17 Jan 2014 #689
In my opinion, Polish food is not something to eat everyday. It's nice to have every once in a while but certainly not everyday. Like others have mentioned, a lot of Polish food is overrated.
pierogi2000 4 | 229
17 Jan 2014 #690
Polish food has amazing soup. It's perfect to have on the stove always ready especially for lunch time snack. Most Americans don't eat soup and their idea of a sandwich is Subway. I haven't eaten at Subway in 5 something years. Furthermore most Americans don't eat much pork//mushrooms/sauerkraut. You have to appreciate bread, meat and cheese to enjoy Polish food and that frankly is not an American quality (Birthplace of Fast Food).

To keep your business afloat, you need local support. Most Polish homes contain atleast one good cook, avoiding the need to constantly eat out. The concept of eating out is new to Polish culture. The norm is family gatherings and everyone brings something.


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