Polish cuisine has evolved over the centuries to become very eclectic due to Poland's history. It shares many similarities with other Slavic countries, especially Belarussian, Ukrainian and Russian. It has also been widely influenced by Central European cuisines, namely German, Austrian and Hungarian cuisines as well as Jewish, French and Italian culinary traditions.
It is rich in meat, especially pork, chicken and beef and winter vegetables (cabbage). It is also characteristic in its use of various kinds of noodles the most notable of which are kluski as well as cereals such as kasha. Generally speaking, Polish cuisine is hearty and uses a lot of cream and eggs. The traditional dishes are often demanding in preparation. Many Poles allow themselves a generous amount of time to serve and enjoy their festive meals, especially Christmas eve dinner (Wigilia) or Easter breakfast which could take a number of days to prepare in their entirety.
The Polish national dishes are bigos (a tasty stew) golabki (type of cabbage roll), zrazy (type of roulade) zurek (sour rye soup); flaki (variety of tripe soup); and barszcz among others.
The main meal might be eaten about 2 p.m. or later. It might be composed of three courses especially among the traditionalists, starting with a soup like a popular rosól and tomato soup or more festive barszcz or zurek, followed perhaps in a restaurant by an appetizer such as herring (prepared in either cream, oil) or other cured meats and vegetable salads. The main course usually includes a serving of meat, such as roast or kotlet schabowy (breaded pork cutlet), or chicken. Meals often conclude with a dessert such as makowiec, a poppy seed pastry, or drozdzówka, a type of yeast cake. Other Polish specialities include chlodnik (a chilled beet or fruit soup for hot days), golonka (pork knuckles cooked with vegetables), kolduny (meat dumplings), zrazy (stuffed slices of beef), salceson and flaki (tripe).