There are some ethnic foods that seem to be rarer than others when it comes to dining in Manhattan. Polish cuisine seems to be one of those that I have trouble finding, other than a few select spots that are dotted around the city. Luckily, someone heard the outcry for this type of food, and has mobilized that need on four wheels.
The “Old Traditional Polish Cuisine” Truck, or OTPC for short (because I am not re-typing that name out each time),has one of the most unique and awesome looking trucks out there. You can easily spot this truck amongst all the competitors with its faux-wood paneling and homely design. Other trucks go for modern looks, while OTPC goes for a classic home-cooking feel. It’s comfort food at it’s most comforting, so let’s dive in and eat!
It may not be the most picturesque food I have photographed, but it sure was tasty! The “lite combo” ($10) features an enormous grilled kielbasa with four potato & cheese pierogies, but you can also order a combo with meat pierogies, and another with two of each. You can also order just pierogies or just the sausage.
With a light pink hue, the well-seasoned and moist kielbasa melts in your mouth, but bites back with that snappy casing. Positioned on top of a pool of thick and spicy horseradish mustard to dip in, the Polish sausage was easy to tear apart thanks to the convenient slits that come pre-sliced into it.
Your combo comes with four boiled cheese & potato pierogies, which have a nice sharpness from the fresh white cheese bits inside that are reminiscent of a more-delicately flavored ricotta in terms of texture. Fluffy potato insides with a slightly firm outside, these are a great side-dish for your sausage, and a wonderful change of pace from deep-fried potatoes that are too common in food trucks. Stuffed deep with a simple mix of potatoes and black pepper, they come topped with caramelized onions that have been softened just enough add a great bite and sweetness to the starchy side.
The meal also comes with generous slices of rye and a multi-grain bread to make sandwiches, soak up excess mustard, or do whatever with. It may not be home-baked, but it is bought from authentic Polish specialty stores, so that’s good enough for me in this case. There is also at least one, if not a pair of, gigantic crunchy bread & butter pickles to seal the deal.
If you are going to order from OTPC, why not go the distance and get a proper Polish soda? For another two dollars, you can get an 8 oz. glass bottle of Tymbark soda, usually apple & mint or raspberry & mint, depending on what they have on that day. Topped with an easy to pull off cap (thanks to an ingenious ring on top), the fragrant raspberry soda delivers a fresh waft of mint as you guzzle it down. Extremely lightly carbonated with a very fruity taste, the mint comes right after the berry taste in a succession of flavors that is a must when you visit this truck. Just make sure you get it when it’s cold – otherwise it tastes like mouthwash!
While the “Old Traditional Polish Cuisine” truck may have an obscenely long name, as well as a few items that are not necessarily made in truck, everything you get is fresh and delicious. Simple and rustic, it’s meat and potatoes done the old Polish way, nothing pretentious. Everything about this truck makes the customers feel like they are a guest in someone’s home and not just a faceless customer. Plus, they also have jelly-filled donuts sometimes, so how can you go wrong?