‘Breakfast Market’ in Warsaw a Total Foodie Fantasy

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Each weekend at the Targ Sniadaniowy in Warsaw (and now four additional Polish cities), people who love flavor for flavor’s sake turn out to taste, talk and buy. Translated as “breakfast market,” the event and/or destination combines the best parts of farmers market, gourmet shop and pop-up restaurant, letting Poles raised on their hearty native cuisine taste things not only from that menu but from as far away as Italy, Spain, Portugal and Brazil, even from Ethiopia and Mexico. Want to know how successful Targ Sniadaniowy has been? The company has been invited to launch a version – in Paris!

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Polish cuisine involves a huge love affair with smoke – something Texans may find we have in common. Yet except for smoked sausage (kielbasa is a Polish thing, after all), many of the applications are a tad foreign. No fish, for instance, avoids a smokehouse around here, and there are many smoked cheeses and even smoked butter. Both smoked sausage and smoked fish are represented at the market. There’s even a smoked fish sausage, which obviously splits the difference.

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Staples for home cooking like ridiculously good bread and ultra-fresh produce abound at Targ Sniadaniowy – which now, in addition to Warsaw, takes place on weekends in Krakow, Gdansk, Posnan and Sopot. In fact, as the breakfast market expands into each new city, it seeks out the best vendors from that area, rather than relying on its tried-and-true. “People in Gdansk don’t want food from Warsaw,” offers food blogger Kasia Marciniewicz as she shows me around with manager Filip Nakrewicz. “There is huge local patriotism.”

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Still, a clear crowd favorite at the market are the people known colorfully as “feeders,” which must be some too-literal English translation of food vendors. The Targ may be the most “ethnic” eatery in all Warsaw, due at least partly to the low cost of entry compared to opening a restaurant. Many concepts, like Abyssinia serving Ethiopian cuisine and Burritos Locos serving Mexican, are born of men from those countries married to Polish women. I loved my burrito made by Fernando from Mexico City, who upon hearing I was originally from New Orleans, asked if I cheered for the Saints over the Texans or the Cowboys. Then, with an impish wink, he boasted about his food. “It will taste like you’re in El Paso,” he laughed. “Except I will be legal.”

 

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