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 Post subject: Poland
PostPosted: Fri Mar 14, 2014 7:45 am 
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Hi guys!

I couldn't find a thread relating to this country so thought I'd start one. I'm going to Poland for a couple of weeks over the summer, and whilst I'm mostly shiitake scared of having to fly, I'm also worried about how vegan-friendly it is.
I went ten years ago as a vegetarian and got on fine, just wondering if anyone has any experience of living in/visiting Poland as a vegan. Any places in or near Zakopane you can recommend to go for food? What to avoid? Is stuff like soy milk readily available? Any advice or tips you have would be appreciated.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:22 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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I'm interested in this too!

I'm going to a conference in Bytow in the fall. As far as I can tell, it's a very small town. I'll be emailing the organizers with my dietary preferences and bring an emergency supply of clif bars, but it would still be nice to know about vegan food in Poland. For instance, would I be able to get a meal in Gdansk airport?

I've only been to eastern Europe (Hungary an Slovakia) as a vegetarian, and in my experience if you are able to get vegetarian food in a regular restaurant, it usually comes with cream or cheese. You also have to watch out for meat broth in 'vegetarian' soups. The shops and markets are filled with fresh produce, so you won't starve, but eating out might be hard if you can't find a veg*n restaurant. Vegetarian pizza without cheese might be a good option.

I had a look on Happycow and Zakopane has one vegan-friendly restaurant listed. Nearby Krakow has several, including a 100% vegan place.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 3:59 am 
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I'm pretty sure ameyfm went there and has some posts on her blog about it. She didn't seem to be starving while there!


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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:20 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Poland is a lot more veg friendly now than in the past (even 10 years ago). If you will have a place to prepare your own meals or don't mind eating only sandwiches -- with ingredients you buy yourself -- Zakopane is fine. If you want to eat out, I would forget it. Maybe you'll be able to get a pizza without cheese. There is one veggie-friendly place in town (a "milk bar" = bar mleczny, which serves local food), but only vegetarian friendly, not vegan friendly. When I've been there with my dad on our past 3 trips to the mountains I have been able to eat: boiled potatoes, kasza gryczana (a boiled grain) and a fruit compot to drink. That was after he interrogated the owners for about 10 minutes in Polish over ingredients and methods of preparation and etc., because as cornelie said, there is often bone (or meat broth) even in the veggie soups, and dairy products in everything. However, there is also really delicious sourdough bread, lots of pickled things, and plenty of places to buy fresh fruit and veggies, so if you don't mind being a rabbit, you won't starve.

If you want to eat out, Krakow (2-3 hours from Zakopane by bus) is the best in Poland for vegans. It's my favorite Polish city, ever, and it has 2-3 neighborhoods with multiple veg*n restaurants. Warsaw is .... slowly getting better, but is not great. Again, if you have your own kitchen or don't mind making your own sandwiches, you will more than survive. If your plan is to eat out (even you, cornelie), I would revise your plan.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 4:25 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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re: Gdansk airport. I would not count on being able to eat, even as a vegetarian, in any Polish airport but Warsaw's Chopin airport. As a vegan, I would not even dream of it (but Poland's proved me wrong a few times). My advice would be come with food you're happy with, and then be your own vegan scout and see if you'll be surprised. And hopefully one of our Polish lurkers will speak up with better advice :)

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 10:38 am 
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Thanks lutin! I was already planning to bring my usual supply of dried fruit, nuts, crackers and energy bars. Based on your advice I will make sure to bring enough food to live on for the duration of my stay. It will only be two days of conference and two travel days, so it should be possible to carry everything with me. I hope the conference organizers can arrange some plain veggies and starches for lunch/dinner and I'll sneak in my own proteins.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:14 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Good luck cornelie! I hope you get more than boiled potatoes. Thinking about breakfast ..... if it's included in your room, it's likely to have accidentally vegan things: bread, jams, veggies (tomatoes, paprika, cucumber). Ask to be sure, but when I've stayed with my dad pretty much anywhere (even on random/terrible organized tours) breakfast has been surprisingly vegan friendly. At the same time, it's either that or some kind of milk porridge (always made with milk and/or eggs, never just water) so ask before you go.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:17 am 
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Dr Bronners, MD
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Rosie: When you're in larger supermarkets, e.g. in Krakow, soymilk is easy to find. In Zakopane, I wouldn't expect to find it anywhere. Accidentally vegan margarine, however, does exist even in Zakopane and a tiny supermarket on Gubalowka. I don't remember brand names, but if you can read Polish even a little, you should be able to identify it.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Sun Mar 16, 2014 11:42 am 
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Bathes in Braggs
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lutin wrote:
Good luck cornelie! I hope you get more than boiled potatoes. Thinking about breakfast ..... if it's included in your room, it's likely to have accidentally vegan things: bread, jams, veggies (tomatoes, paprika, cucumber). Ask to be sure, but when I've stayed with my dad pretty much anywhere (even on random/terrible organized tours) breakfast has been surprisingly vegan friendly. At the same time, it's either that or some kind of milk porridge (always made with milk and/or eggs, never just water) so ask before you go.

Thanks :-) Last time I stayed in a hotel for a conference, I brought premixed instant oatmeal with soymilk powder and mixed it with cold water from the tap in my room to make a quick breakfast. I'm not much of a morning person, so I actually kind of liked not having to go down for breakfast in the lobby.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 8:40 am 
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Thanks so much for your help!

We'll be in Zakopane mostly for this trip, hopefully I can persuade everyone to visit Krakow as that's where I stayed before and it's amazing. I know the people I'm going with with want to eat out all the time, so maybe I'll just make my own sandwiches before I go. Damn, I'm going to be hungry for two weeks!

Silly question, but I've never been on a plane as an adult: Can you bring your own food in your suitcase or is stuff like that banned?

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:29 pm 
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If it's a checked bag, yes. If it's a carry-on, you have extra restrictions (e.g. some people have had their hummus taken by security) but yes. Not sure where you're flying from, but if it's, e.g. US to Poland, you can't bring anything fresh. But if you're within the EU, I think you can? (Double check.) Too bad they'll always want to eat out! That's an exclusionary bummer.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Wed Mar 19, 2014 1:31 pm 
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cornelia and I were chatting elsewhere, and reminded me that tap water's an issue. The rule with my dad has always been: If the locals drink it, it's safe, but even that often changes depending on the neighborhood in a city. When he lived on the edge of Warsaw, it was fine, but at my grandma's flat downtown? No way! Anyway, be careful in Zakopane. There are lots of really delicious bottled mineral waters all over the place; two of them I miss .... continuously.

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Thu Mar 20, 2014 5:51 am 
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I would never have even thought of that, thanks for the heads up!

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 Post subject: Re: Poland
PostPosted: Thu Jul 10, 2014 8:45 am 
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Ok, so I am back from Poland. I visited an awesome vegetarian restaurant in Krakow with several vegan options, I had the soya steak which was delicious. Eating out in Zakopane was hard though! I mostly ordered chips or rice and vegetables as literally everything came with meat or animal juice. Even many of the vegetables came with bacon mixed in so you have to check beforehand. Breakfast was mostly bread rolls and pickles, but their pickled veg is awesome!
I made lunch most days, and managed to find a store which sold vegan sausages (four varieties!) kinda like hot dog sausages. I also tracked down rice milk, soy milk, a pickled coleslaw thing that was made without mayo and a totally plant based mushroom paste. Also....lays! Never had them before as they don't sell them in the UK, but they're delicious :) Fresh fruit and veg was available, but much more limited than what I am used to. Still, I survived :)

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