Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski) in Kraków, Poland

The iconic Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski) in Kraków, Poland
The iconic Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski) in Kraków, Poland

For over 25 years, the Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski) has been serving the best kielbasa in Kraków, Poland. This street food institution of Kraków, operated by two gentlemen dressed in white coats, has been serving wood-fired Polish sausages (kielbasa) out of their iconic PRL-era blue Nysa van parked in front of Unitarg Market Hall (Unitarg Hala Targowa).

In recent years, food trucks have become popular in Kraków. These food trucks, which serve a wide variety of delicious yet affordable food, have gained an almost cult-like following with foodies. This is no different for the Blue Nysa Van. The van has remained popular year after year even with its off-the-beaten-path location on Ulica Grzegórzecka, about a 15 minute walk from the tourists of Main Square (Rynek Główny).

If you are in the mood for something unique, local, affordable, and delicious, then I highly recommend you make the trek to the Blue Nysa Van to experience it for yourself.

The line in front of the van, Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski), Kraków, Poland
The line in front of the van

Even though the Blue Nysa Van is only open from 8:00PM to 2:00AM, you can pretty much bet on there being a line out front. The van is popular with locals, in-the-know tourists, foodies, and especially the late-night bar crowd. Who wouldn’t want a delicious kielbasa after a long night of drinking Polish beer and vodka?

While there was a line on the sidewalk in front of the van on my visit, it moved quickly and was well worth the wait. The best part about waiting in line was watching the whole operation unfold in front of me. It was a show over 25 years in the making.

Each of the two emotionless men, who were dressed in white coats, had their specific jobs. One of the men was taking and calling out orders. The other man, who was tending the grill, was rotating about a half dozen sausages in each hand over an open flame. The smell of the smoke coming out of the wood-fired oven reminded me of a BBQ I would have back at home. There was just something special about the smell of meat being cooked over an open fire. While the line moved quickly, the intoxicating smell of the smoke and meat made the wait seem longer.

Standing only table
Standing only table

Another thing to mention about the Blue Nysa Van was the lack of a dedicated seating area, common with most food trucks. With so many parks, greenbelts, and squares in Kraków, it’s not too difficult to find a place to sit down and eat. If you want to eat like a local, with the locals, then I recommend grabbing a spot at the standing only high-top table on the sidewalk near the van.

Blue Nysa Van Menu

The menu at the Blue Nysa Van (Kiełbaski z Niebieskiej Nyski), Kraków, Poland
The menu at the Blue Nysa Van

The menu at the Blue Nysa Van was quite simple as would be expected at a food truck. While the menu was in Polish, you didn’t need to speak or read Polish to order with only one main item on the menu. And that item was the kiełbasa or kielbasa, a meat sausage and staple of Polish cuisine.

For those who are interested, I used Google Translate to help decode the menu. On the menu was Kiełbasa Bułka (sausage and roll), Kiełbasa (sausage), Herbata (Tea), Oranżada (carbonated soft drink), Bułka (roll), and Opakowanie Termiczne (foil for take away).

Kiełbasa Bułka (Sausage Roll)

The most famous Kiełbasa Bułka (Sausage Roll) in Kraków
The most famous Kiełbasa Bułka (Sausage Roll) in Kraków

There was only one item to order on the menu at the Blue Nysa Van, and that was the Kiełbasa Bułka (10 zł or about $2.53), a Polish sausage served with a roll. You could also order the Kiełbasa without a roll (9 zł or about $2.27).

This rustic dish was as simple as can be. Served on a paper plate, you had a perfectly grilled kielbasa, a simple roll, and a squirt of ketchup and mustard. Sometimes simple is better, especially when it’s only one item.

The star of the dish was the flamed grilled pork kielbasa. There wasn’t anything too special with this kielbasa, and that’s what made it great. You had meat cooked over fire, one of the greatest combinations I can think of. The casing had a crispy bite after being grilled over an open flame until seared to perfection. The best part of this sausage had to be the smoky flavor of the fire and wood infused into each bite. The hint of smoke enhanced the flavors and spices of the meat without overpowering it.

Bułka (Roll)

Complimenting the kielbasa was a bread basic roll. This forgettable cold roll reminded me of French bread in both taste and texture. The roll was crispy and flaky on the outside while soft and light on the inside. I wouldn’t say the roll was stale but it definitely wasn’t freshly made.

It was interesting to watch everyone at the table eating their roll differently. Some people sliced their roll in half and placed the kielbasa inside creating their own sausage sandwich. Some people pulled off a piece of the roll at a time and dipped it in the mustard and ketchup. And, some people ate the entire kielbasa then ate the roll after. Do what works for you.

For the price and quality, I see why the Blue Nysa Van is so popular after all these years.

Service

Since I do not speak Polish, my interaction with the gentlemen running the van was limited to ordering. With that said, I could tell that the men knew what they were doing. Even though it was only two of them, they managed to take orders, handle money, tend to the fire, grill the sausages, and handout dishes while making sure the line moved quickly. Their operation was a well-oiled machine with over 25 years of experience.

Conclusion

For me, it wasn’t so much about the food at the Blue Nysa Van, but the experience itself. While the wood-fired Polish sausage was delicious, there was something special about eating at this iconic Communist-era street food van. It took me back to another era. There was something special about rubbing elbows with the locals while eating on the streets of Kraków. This experience is one I won’t soon forget.

So, if you are looking for a formal sit-down restaurant in Kraków, then the Blue Nysa Van is not what you are looking for. If you enjoy delicious yet affordable local Polish street food with a story to tell your friends, then the Blue Nysa Van should not be missed on your visit to Kraków.

Pros

  • Delicious and smoky grilled kielbasa, which I think was the best kielbasa in Kraków
  • Local spot with over 25 years of history
  • Great experience where locals go to eat
  • Open late

Cons

  • Cash only
  • Limited menu
  • Standing only
  • Only open at night

Hours

Monday-Saturday: 8:00PM-2:00AM
Sunday: Closed

Address

Grzegorzecka 4, Krakow, Poland
GPS Coordinates: 50.058458,19.948663

Map

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