Carnaval in Poland (the time just before Lent) is filled with many strange traditions. We already showed you Pączki Day, but now, as lent approaches, it’s time for herring.
Herring Night, or Śledzik in Polish, is the last day before Lent begins and Poles fast for 40 days from indulgent things such as alcohol, sweets, or savory food. The very last day of Carnaval, this night is filled with lots of herring and a ton of vodka. The traditional pickled herring served on herring night might sound weird, but it’s actually quite delicious and something you should definitely check out (but honestly I am not a fan)! Traditionally, you chase your shot of vodka with a slice of herring.
There are many bars around town that serve pickled herring year-round as a traditional accompaniment to vodka, and we suggest these as the best spots to go celebrate Sledzik (Herring Night)!
Ambasada Sledzia (Herring Embassy): Said to be the original Polish bar snacks and shots spot this is our top pick for celebrating the holiday. Their location at Stolarska 8/10- a couple of the blocks from the main square; and as the name suggests is on the street in Krakow filled with official embassies and consulates of foreign countries. You can visit their website here.
Pijalnia Wodki i Piwa: As one of the most famous shots and snacks bars Pijalnia Wodki serves up herring and Soplica or Zubrowka vodka in a communist-style atmosphere on Plac Nowy, Szewska Street, and Florianska- for the cheapest prices in the city- and also strangely, one of our favorite places.
Bania Luka: With locations around town, including Plac Szepanski, Szewska Street, and now even Florianska Street- this cozy spot will do the trick, serving equally as cheap herring and vodka- but without as much attention to a theme as Pijalnia Wodki.
Zakaski i Wodka: A copy-cat spot, but still worth a visit. Zakaski i Wodka has some of the best bigos we’ve ever had, so we can only hope for the same when it comes to their herring. Enjoy Zytnia vodka, described by Vodka Lab as, “A rye vodka very popular in the 50’s-60’s in Poland, it is associated with nostalgia to the Communism period. A safe bet for those who like dry vodkas”- here on Plac Nowy!
And as always if you have any questions or want to join us for some pickled herring, shoot us an email at email@example.com