Sampling Some Czech Specialties in Prague
Prague is a dynamic and cultural rich city that I was luck to call home for 2 wonderful years. Filled with fascinating history and breathtaking architecture, it really feels like fairy tale land. For the Czechs, their food is such an important part of their culture. Meaty, hearty and filling, you’ve got to embrace the carbohydrate love here and get ready to kiss your hunger goodbye after a great meal! It’s the kind of food that’s stick-to-your-ribs good, intended to keep you warm through the long, cold winters, and bring together family and friends over lively, hearty meals!
Here are some of my favorite traditional Czech dishes that you’re bound to find on any menu at a Czech restaurant in Prague:
Guláš – Pronounced “goulash” in English, this is a Czech staple. Although it originates from Hungary, the Czechs have made it their own with a milder, meatier flavor. It’s usually made with beef, but you can find pork or chicken or a combination of these as well. The meat is covered with a hearty gravy and sopped up with bread or potato dumplings (knedliky.) Best consumed with a pint of Czech pivo (beer)- it’s the national drink and the Czechs make it better than anyone!
Garlic Soup (Cesneková polévka) – This is a staple in the soup category for Czechs. Each restaurant does their version differently, but it’s typically heavy on the garlic and often covered with a piece of cheesy bread or some other form of carbohydrate to soak up the deliciousness!
Svicková – My personal favorite of all the Czech dishes, svicková is made with beef slices marinated in a slightly sweet gravy sauce, topped with cream and cranberry sauce and served with dumplings. Sounds like a crazy combination, but it is so. good.
Smažený Sýr– Translated to “fried cheese”, this is just what you might expect: a big hunk of fried cheese either by itself or put on a bun and usually served with mayonnaise and/or ketchup. You’ll find it at restaurants, but you can also grab a fried cheese sandwich at any of the street vendors in Wenceslas Square or all around the city! Your arteries might not thank you, but your tastebuds will!
Grilované Klobásy- Grilled sausages are a favorite of the Czechs, and you can find them at all the street markets as well as the beer gardens- as they pair especially well with a pivo!
Medovnik- Traditional Czech honey cake, it’s somewhere between dry and moist with a unique flavor including cinnamon, honey and something else I can’t quite put my finger on (get to know a Czech babi?ka, or grandmother, and maybe she can tell you the secret ingredient!)
Palacinky– These are Czech pancakes, usually served with fruit, ice cream, whipped cream or sometimes just a dusting of powdered sugar. The Czechs do sweets well, and a nice little dessert is a great way to end a hearty Czech meal…right before laying down for a long winter’s nap!