Cult Food & Drinks from Communist Times that you can still eat in Warsaw

Almost everything from PRL is making a comeback in today’s Poland. Furniture, cars, bars, architecture, fashion, posters and food of that period are gaining popularity, especially among young people who never actually lived in those times. I have to admit that I am, myself, quite fascinated by that period.

In this post, we cover the food which was available back during PRL times but that you can still find today (we also suggest you where to go in Warsaw to find the best). In future posts, we’ll cover the architecture and other symbols of this period.


Kompot is a drink obtained by boiling fruit in water. During communist times, it was the best way to drink something, because tea, coffee, juices, soft drinks and even mineral water were rare. Although the consumption of kompot has been declining since the 1980s, it can still be tasted in any milk bar.

Where to get it in Warsaw: Bambino and Prasowy are two popular Milk bars in Warsaw


During PRL times there was a shortage of basically ALL western products, including Coca-Cola. Poles created an alternative, the “Polo-Cockta”, which reminds roughly of the taste of Coca-cola, Pepsi and Yugoslavian Cockta.

Where to get it in Warsaw: most super markets.

Fried Carp

Carps have been part of Polish cuisine forever, mostly eaten on Christmas Eve. During the PRL, however, they got crazy popular because the communist authorities limited the production of other freshwater fish in favor of the carp, which proved to be a cheaper and more enduring option.

Today, carp is a must in any Polish Christmas Eve, even if many Poles don’t really stand the taste.

Where to get it in Warsaw: Nobody eats carp except for Christmas and we couldn’t find any trusted restaurant in warsaw that serves this dish. Some traditional Polish restaurants have carp based dishes in December.



It is made from egg yolks, sugar, and optionally flavorings such as honey, vanilla or cocoa.

It was popular in Central and Eastern Europe, but the popularity exploded in Poland due to lack of sweets.

Where to eat it in Warsaw: do it yourself. It’s very cheap and easy and you won’t find it in restaurants. Make sure you use very fresh eggs.


Wuzetka, a popular Polish chocolate cream pie, was named after the massive W-Z Route in Warsaw because the first shop that invented the cake was located near it.

Where to eat it in Warsaw: During communist times it could be found in any cafe. The most famous places in Warsaw to get this cake are “Rozdroże” (near Lazienki Park) or “Bar kawowy przy kaśce” (Near Metro Ratusz Arsenal). These two cafes are two cult spots in the Map of Warsaw. They remained unchanged for the past 50 years and they have the same atmosphere, look, and service of the communist times. You either love it or hate it. I suggest you go with a phrasebook as it’s quite likely they don’t speak English.


Zapiekanka is the most Polish of the fast foods. It’s an open-faced toasted sandwich made of half baguette or other long kind of bread. In the 70s, during the austerity of the communist regime, it was usually topped with just mushroom, cheese, and ketchup. Today, besides the traditional kind, there are many more varieties.

Where to eat it in Warsaw: Zapiexy Luxusowe, their zapiekanki are huge and cost about 2 euros.  The bread is fresh from the bakery.

Krakus Canned Ham

The Krakus canned ham was the n°1 Polish exported product in the 70s. It was however, hard to get the product in Poland. Whenever it was found, Poles used to buy it and keep it for celebrations.

Krakus hams are also famous for their long expiration date. There is a story about the discovery of a 30 years old can of Krakus ham in Connecticut in 1994. After opening, it was still edible and tasty.

Where to get in Warsaw: Still sold today in every supermarket!

Prince Polo wafer bar

Prince Polo, a chocolate wafer, was introduced during the early years of the Polish People’s Republic, and it has long been Poland’s top-selling candy brand (it was also the top selling sweet in Iceland). It was originally wrapped in an easily recognizable golden paper wrap, but today it’s packed in plastic (also golden).

Where to get in Warsaw: Still sold today in every supermarket!


4 thoughts on “Cult Food & Drinks from Communist Times that you can still eat in Warsaw”

  1. Avatar
    Jacques Buffett

    Ciao Federico! Pod Samsonem at ul Freta in the Old Town serves a few carp dishes year round. It is a lovely traditional restaurant and highly regarded by Poles, which is always a good sign.

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