The full name of the bialy is "Bialystoker kuchen": a baked thing from Bialystok, Poland.

Sadly, there are no bialy bakers in Bialystok today; little remains of Jewish life after the Shoah. The bialy is still alive, if not thriving, in New York.

Bialies are roughly the size and shape of a bagel, although they are topologically different. Bagels are made by pinching a hole in the center of a ball of dough; bialies have no hole, but the center of the dough has been pressed down with two fingers to create a flat area. This crater is then graced with minced onion.

The traditional way to eat a bialy -- though certainly not the most common way -- is either plain or with some butter or cream cheese spread on top. Most people, however, slice their bialies like bagels and put cream cheese inside along with other bagel toppings like lettuce, tomato, slices of onion, and lox or nova.