Celebrate National Pierogi Day

Taste the Best Pierogies with Berries at the Lunch Bar TU in Krakow, Poland

What better place to find the best pierogi than in the country where it was invented — Poland? Well, not all agree on the pierogi’s birthplace, but there’s lots of documented evidence to show that perogies have been popular in Central and Eastern Europe for nearly a millennia!

And just like nobody’s sure who first cooked up a pot of pierogies, nobody knows who started National Pierogi Day, which is celebrated on October 8 every year in North America.

Who Makes the Pierogies?

Pierogies at the Lunch Bar TU in Krakow, Poland.

Best pierogies at the Lunch Bar TU in Krakow, Poland.

I never tasted pierogies as a small child, since my mother is English and my father is Hungarian. I do remember my mother rolling dough and preparing derelye though, a Hungarian version of the pierogi that my grandmother always stuffed with prunes. This derelye recipe, and photos of its preparation, from the Hungry Hungarian Cook blog, looks a lot like I remember.

Once I got out in the world, I soon discovered the many pierogi fillings that weren’t sweet, like the derelye prunes. My first choice for the best pierogies always starts with potatoes, but adds in extras like mushrooms or bacon. If you’re lucky, you may find (as I have) that your favorite bar in some of Saskatchewan’s Ukrainian communities serves pierogies hot out of the deep fryer!

Lunch Bar TU

Lunch counter at the Lunch TU Bar in Krakow, Poland.

Lunch counter at the Lunch TU Bar in Krakow, Poland.

Saskatchewan’s early settlers included many European farmers, making traditional foods in many places here all about the cabbage rolls and sausages and sauerkraut. So, it’s no wonder that when we hit Poland on our European tour we loved the food! No matter what we ate, it tasted yummy.

Our first evening out, we tried some fine dining — delicious, but David’s eye kept straying to the Lunch TU Bar across the street from our hotel (Aparthotel Maly Krakow — inexpensive, comfortable, and just a block from Old Town). Every time we passed, somebody was going in or coming out. When we travel we always pre-judge local restaurants by how many vehicles are parked at them. If they’re busy, they’re usually good.

So, finally we went in, walked up the stairs to the main level and checked out the menu posted on the wall. You can see the Vegetarian / Pierogi portion below.

Vegetarian & Pierogi menu at the Lunch TU Bar in Krakow, Poland.

Vegetarian & Pierogi menu at the Lunch TU Bar in Krakow, Poland.

What Do the Best Pierogies Taste Like?

While all pierogies share the same basic ingredients, they sure taste different depending on the cook. When I eat a pierogi, I don’t want it to be doughy. Cooks often eliminate that by either frying boiled pierogies in butter and onions or deep frying them from the start. In my experience, it takes a good cook to not do either and still have the best pierogies.

However, the pierogies at Lunch Bar TU were perfect. The thin layer of dough (how the cook managed to roll them that thin and keep the blueberries from poking out is beyond me) stretched over the filling most deliciously.

While the menu offered various pierogi fillings (see above) from meat to cabbage and onions, I selected the fruit pierogies, thinking they’d taste most like the derelye I’d grown up with. And they did. The plump little blueberries appeased my taste buds with every bite of pierogi.

David doesn’t share my pierogi passion. He did, however, find the only potato pancakes he’s ever eaten in a restaurant that tasted like the ones we make. Amazing! The mushroom sauce, he said, made them even better than mine.

Potato pancakes at the Lunch TU Bar in Krakow, Poland.

Potato pancakes at the Lunch Bar TU in Krakow, Poland.

What’s Your Favorite Pierogi?

Where will you celebrate National Pierogi Day? Tell us where you eat the best pierogies and your favorite filling in the comments below.

Visit the Lunch Bar TU in Krakow, Poland

Lunch Bar TU Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/lunchbartu/

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