My fourth visit to Poland took me on an exciting new adventure that I concocted in my mind during a history lesson at Ards Tech in Northern Ireland. You see, I remembered the old moniker of the “Free city of Danzig” (once an autonomous region protected by the League of Nations). Back then, the place had its own currency and laws – it wasn’t part of Poland, it wasn’t part of Germany and it wasn’t part of Russia from 1920 – 1939. It was its own wee off the wall micronation if you like. Yes, another one for my growing repertoire of countries that are disputed. Here, in 2016 however, the city, now called Gdansk is of course part of Poland and the country’s main seaport!
As well as reading up on the history of Gdansk and touring the sights, I embarked on a food tour. Not actually in Gdansk itself, but slightly north in Gdynia. I got in touch with Eat Polska and headed on their afternoon food tour. I left behind my hostel, Hostel Cycle On, got a train from Gdansk Głowny (main train station) to Gdynia Głowny and was met by Daniel, the guide from Eat Polska. The tours are limited to just 6 people so as to make the most of the experience and get a detailed understanding of Polish food culture. You can do the tours in Gdansk, Krakow or Warszawa. Strangely, I’ve now been to all three cities but this was my first time to team up with Eat Polska.
Organising the Tour
To organise the tour, just go to the Eat Polska contact page and fill out the form.
phone: +48 661 368 758
mail: book [at] eatpolska.com
You will need to pay the deposit on PayPal in advance and the rest in cash on the day.
Eat Polska Food Tour in Gdynia
I arrive at Gdynia Głowna train station at 12.45 pm and my guide Daniel is here to meet me. Also joining me on the tour are Remy from France and Maria, Jan and Birgit from Norway.
At 1pm, we head out of the train station to a local market. Here are the stops and sights on the food tour, which of course is more than just food, you learn a lot about Polish culture and history too on these tours.
We start off in the local Gdynia Market. It’s a really local place and we visit various stalls, with Daniel explaining each place we go to.
In the fish section, Daniel makes us aware that fish will play a big part of the tour and indeed three of the places we later visit include some kind of fish dish.
We see an “onion syrup” at one of the stalls, and it seemed unusual to some of us. Apparently though, this onion honey is perfect for the body if you get sick.
2.Market Meat at Hala Targowz
Our first food stop in the market is to sample some Polish cold meat. It is a local shop with a good range of smoked, peppered and spiced meats. It is mostly pork. We get five samples here, including Kabanosy long sausage and a type of sliced meat which is popular in Lithuania and Poland.
The Cold cuts selection: kindziuk (smoked and dried pork sausage), kiełbasa myśliwska (hunter’s pork sausage with juniper), kabanos (thin, finger-shaped pork sausage), szynka (pork ham), schab (pork tenderloin).
3.Gadus Fishmonger – Delikatesy Rybne
We leave the market and walk through the streets of Gdynia and enter a really local fishmongers called Gadus Delikatesy Rybne. The range of fish dishes in here is excellent.
We get three samples here – balls of cod, fresh herring and a herring in a sauce. All three are devoured and delicious!
Cod meatballs, marinated herring with sour cream, onions and apple, marinated herring with chili peppers.
4.Stuczka (The Trick)
Next up we walk to what is one of the most recommended restaurants in Gdynia, Stuczka. Not only that but it is recognised by Gault and Millau as one of the best restaurants in Poland. It’s easy to see why. Michelin Star restaurants guides have only included two Polish restaurants and they only visited Krakow and Warsaw, so this is the best it gets in Gdynia.
Here, our treat is THREE soups. Yes, a hat trick of soups, with bread and butter, and here are the tasty and diverse soups that we have:
- Pickled cucumber cream with beef and natural yoghurt
- Beetroot soup with Gorgonzola cheese
- Minestrone Soup
Polish people love their soups so this is why they have included three on the tour. And this is only the warm up. There are still a lot of stops to go on the food tour, so I better keep my stomach with some space for what is ahead! We also learn in here that our host, Daniel has starred on two Polish TV shows about cooking – Master Chef and Hell’s Kitchen.
The three soups: Amuse bouche: sour cucumber creamed soup with beef rilletes; Chłodnik with red currant and compressed pear; minestrone soup
5.GDY 50 Boat Restaurant
We then get taxis out to the harbour side part of Gdynia where we will be eating fish on a proper fishing boat! The boat is called GDY 50 and is now converted with a restaurant spanning two floors.
Vodka shots are also ordered with the fish, however as someone who cannot and will not drink vodka, I declined the shot. The fish was good though, it was battered.
After the fish on the boat, we walk past the harbour and back into the city centre. The entire day tour is full of interesting anecdotes and stories. Daniel backs these up with photos, including photos of Old Gdynia, back in 1920 this place was a tiny tiny village, see below:
After the seaside stroll, we are back in the city and we head to the Artists Cafe.
7.Cyganeria – Kawairnia Artystyczna (Artists Cafe)
Of all the venues we visit on the tour, for me, the artists cafe was the most charming. The official name of this place is Cyganeria – Kawairnia Artystyczna. It was once famous for attracting local artists to come here to write and to draw, so that interested me.
The interior design is exquisite and it is here that we enjoy TWO main courses.
- Fried Herring with radish, potatoes, onion, lettuce and vinaigrette
- Pork cheek, potato, carrot, beans, onions
At this point, I wasn’t actually able to finish both meals as I was full. The other two guys were stuffed too, but they managed to swipe it all! It was onwards to our last stop on the tour.
Summary – Marinated and fried herring with potatoes and sour cream coated “butter” lettuce Pork chick with potatoes and mustard seeds puree
The cafe Delicije (Delicious) is the last point of the tour. This is an old school cafe which was also here during communist times and retains that decor inside. We head upstairs and it is dessert time. This is a place for sweets and coffees!
We get a coffee each (tea is also possible) and a piece of the cake. The cake is made from poppy seeds and therefore has a druggy appeal to it and is called Makowiec. I manage to finish my cake and the tour comes to a close and has lasted around five hours in total.
After the tour we are free to explore Gdynia or head on a train back to where we are staying. The tour was brilliant and gave me a great introduction into Polish cuisines and culture. If you are wondering why Pierogi and Bigos are not included on the tour, it is because they are cliched and most tourists who visit Poland will try these anyway, as I did on my previous visits to the country. I really had fun on this tour and recommend it to you all. However, I have to mention that the tour was tarnished by a cruel fake friend of mine who was supposed to be on the tour with me, but instead chose to not turn up, lie to me and force me into long years of depression. Here are a few videos I also made during the tour with Eat Polska: