Food during our Eastern Europe visit

One thing I did not have high expectations for was the food. I think of Eastern European dishes as meat and potatoes or potatoes and meat, and maybe cabbage.

The food included in our tour rarely included local dishes. Breakfast buffets offered everything from bacon and eggs, waffles, cereals, as well as cheese, sliced salami, and rolls to make a breakfast sandwich that is popular with Eastern Europeans. In Budapest, a Japanese breakfast was also offered but with morning temperatures in the mid 20s Centigrade, miso soup did not seem appealing. Lunches and dinners tended to be chicken or a buffet with dishes geared towards food familiar to Americans and Australians, who were the vast majority of people on our tour.

When we ventured out on our own meal forays, we tried for some local food but did not find any great success in eating food as good as most Italian or French specialties.

In Poland, we tried pierogis and golabki or cabbage rolls.

Pierogis were described as ravioli, but the encasing dough is much heavier than pasta. The sour cream sauce added to the heaviness. Sidney liked the duck filled one but it was rich.


The cabbage rolls on the other hand were lighter than I expected because cabbage was in the center of the roll with meat around that, then the cabbage leaves. The tomato sauce was soup like, quite thin. It came with boiled potato. Parsley seems to be the favoured garnish.

We saw a lot of berries, especially strawberries, everywhere. The raspberry panna cotta was a tasty light dessert.

We also tried soups: garlic soup (chicken broth) and borscht.

Because it was so hot, we often had salad or a light sandwich. Cesaer salads of varying quality were on many menus. Club sandwiches always included egg.

In Hungary, the local dish is a steamed bread dumpling that is sliced and served with goulash sauce, basically bread with beef gravy. It is a winter dish but I gave it a try (didn’t photograph it). The goulash sauce, despite the paprika was rather bland and not spicy in terms of heat. I also tried an upscale version of goulash where the braised beef was cooked separately from potato instead of cooked together as a stew or hash.

In Austria, almost everything gets breaded and fried. Chicken hendl is breaded fried chicken strips with a salad usually with pumpkin seeds and pumpkin oil, sometimes with potato, or sometimes with potato and no salad.  Tried it three different times.


We had a fair bit of meat and potatoes.

beef cheeks in Krakow
steak in Vienna
In Berlin, the local specialty is sauerbraten, described as marinated beef. The dish I tried claimed to have won for the best sauerbraten in Germany. The meat was cooked until it was grey and dense although not dry, likely because of the marinating.
It came with mashed potato, beets and sauerkraut, and cabbage fried with bacon. I barely ate a third because it was so heavy.
In Berlin, we also tried kebab. Kabab is street food with the meat and toppings wrapped in pita like bread. Ours came deconstructed because we didn’t order take away since we wanted a beer.
Similarly, currywurst is street food, a sausage with curry tomato sauce served in paper bowls. But we sat down for ours in order to also have some drinks.
And everywhere, there were sausages. Some looked and tasted like wieners to me.
The selection we tried in Budapest was pretty good, although Sidney refused to try one that was more or less cooked goose fat.
And lots of cheese.



We sampled local wines, even in Poland. A selection below since there were too many to include all of them here.


Polis rose


Polish red

Hungarian red
Hungarian white
Hungarian sweet wine
Austrian red
Czech red


German red

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