Though a “real” pierogi in the US might resemble a “real” Polish one, the difference lies in the many varieties that have broken from the pack in either region and the way in which pierogi are served. Traditional pierogi fillings include potato, cheese, cabbage, or meat – and chances are you’ve encountered these versions in the US, as well as Americanized varieties like, for example, Mac & Cheese, Jalapeno, and Bacon Cheddar (via Baba’s). Americans may have our pierogies to go on any day of the week while for Poles, pierogi are often served for special occasions like Christmas, Easter, weddings, or birthdays (via Eater, Asenzya, and Grandma’s Pierogis).
In Poland, you’ll find many more traditional takes on the pierogi than the mashup of fillings you might normally encounter in America. According to Culture Trip, On the north coast of Poland, there’s pierog z łososiem, stuffed with salmon caught fresh from the Baltic Sea. Pierogi z szpinakiem are green, filled with fried spinach, and topped with sour cream, a nice option for Polish vegetarians (if such a thing exists… kidding). The eastern city of Lublin boasts mouthwatering pierogi Lubelskie filled with a curious combo of buckwheat, mint, and bacon on onion, one you’d be hard-pressed to find in the US. Rest assured though, you don’t have to go far for a solid Polish dumpling outside the old country, even if it’s missing mint. Go forth and pierogi!