With an increase in the fresh fish distribution sector sushi bars are sprouting across Poland like mushrooms after the rain. Although Poles appear to be much more in favor of forest fungi than raw tuna, Japanese cuisine is proving popular among the rich and the trendy. Far from being a quick take-away food option, the Polish sushi bar in the past was a place considered modern enough to take a business client to or hip urban girlfriend on an anniversary. This model is slowly changing.
With an increase from 50 to 80 sushi bars in Warsaw this year alone, the trend in fresh fish dining is leaning towards the franchising option. The idea is to take the cuisine out of Poland’s major cities like Wroclaw, Warsaw, Krakow and Gdansk and make it popular in smaller regional towns.
Existing sushi restaurants such as Sushi77 and Wilbo are planning their expansion across Poland. The Dziennik reports Sushi77 is planning to open 20 new restaurants within the next year in other towns outside of Warsaw. This has only become possible with the increased availability of fresh fish distribution companies. National economic statistics indicate fresh fish import rose by 57 per cent in 2006, making it one of the most sought after fresh food products in Poland. By entering the EU, bringing back dining experiences from abroad, Poles are starting to consume more fish and increase their demands for quality.
Until now a typical Polish fish dish has been fried, marinated in oil, baked or breaded. Friday being the traditional non-meat eating day has seen the same old tired recipes reproduced on Polish dinner plates. Frozen fish fillets such as panga or cod, usually breaded and fried, would be served on a plate with potatoes and a salad.However with the increased availability of fresh fish in supermarkets Poles are beginning to experiment more, looking towards the west for inspiration. Salmon, trout and even sea food such as lobster, mussels, shrimp and octopus are entering the Polish home more regularly.
Ethnic food shops such as the Sklepik Naturalny on ul. Krupnicza in Krakow are becoming well stocked in produce complementing fresh fish dishes inspired by world cuisines. Offering their clients sushi rolling equipment for example is becoming more popular, although still expensive. The Sklepik Naturalny also offers its clients sushi making courses and traditional Japanese serving dishes for a more authentic effect.