Top 10 Foods You Must Try in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a small country in central Europe, most known for housing the fairytale city of Prague. While visiting, it is essential to bring a checklist with you of must-try foods that are traditional to the country. To make your life easy, we made that checklist for you! Here are ten foods that we think you must try while paying a visit to the Czech Republic:
1/ Tatarák - Beef Tartare
At first an alarming site for most tourists, beef tartare is one of those menu items that will win your heart - so long as you don’t think too much about it. Czech tartare is traditionally served as raw beef with a raw egg yolk on top. Alongside of the beef are plenty of different seasonings, spices, sauces, raw onions, and pickled vegetable variations. The dish comes with deep-fried bread and huge cloves of raw garlic. The trick is to mix the steak with all of the fixings, grind your raw garlic clove on the fried bread, and then spread your meat and spices mixture onto the bread. And then, of course, you eat. You have to trust us when we say, you’ll love it.
2/ Klobása - Sausage
While sausage is famous in most countries found in the central European region, there is something special about sausages in the Czech Republic. While they are on practically every traditional Czech food menu, the best time to eat Czech sausage is at one of the Prague-wide Christmas markets. There’s nothing like biting into a piping sausage seasoned to perfection on a cold winter’s day.
3/ Štědrovečerní Večeře - The Czech Traditional Christmas Dinner
Beginning about a week or two before Christmas, you will begin to see stalls all around Prague selling live carp. Yes, you read that right. Live fish. Traditionally, a few days before Christmas, the family buys this live carp and keeps it in their bathtub until Christmas Eve. That evening they prepare the carp and then pan-fry it. It is served at Christmas dinner along with fish or cabbage soup and homemade potato salad. Quite different from the American Christmas dinner, if you find yourself in the Czech Republic around Christmas time, see if you can join a Czech family for the meal to truly experience this cozy holiday as a local.
4/ Smažený Sýr - Fried Cheese
While fried cheese is found in many pockets of the world, including the US (hello, mozzarella sticks anyone?), the fried cheese in the Czech Republic has got to be some of the best. Edam cheese is typically used, but don’t be surprised if you find some variations with gouda, blue cheese, or muenster. Most restaurants will serve their fried cheese with a homemade tartar sauce for dipping. Sound funky? Maybe. But it’s a must-try when in the Czech Republic.
5/ Guláš - Goulash
Originating in the Austro-Hungarian empire, goulash is a typical Hungarian dish. However, Czech people absolutely love it - and for good reason. Czech goulash tends to be a thick stew with hints of paprika and tender beef. Served alongside the goulash are typical Czech bread dumplings (more on these later). This dish hits the spot after walking around Old Town on a cold December day.
6/ Chlebíček - Open-faced Sandwich
Chlebíček is the perfect midday snack. These open-faced sandwiches are popular across the Central/Eastern European region and for good reason. Think a piece of bread topped with butter, cream cheese, or some variation of a soft spread. Next is some type of meat, cheese, egg, or fish (or all of the above); typically the protein is paired with a vegetable or parsley garnish. Chlebíček is practically everywhere you look in the Czech Republic - from train stations to local bakeries, you can always count on these cute little guys for a midday snack.
7/ Utopenec Nebo Nakládaný sýr - Pickled Sausage/Cheese
The perfect pairing with your Pilsner Urquell and served on most late-night menus, pickled sausages and cheeses are a typical bar snack. While it might sound a bit outlandish, these pickled delicacies are the perfect vinegar-fat variation to get you through the night. Normally they come in a jar mixed with pickled vegetables and are served with fresh bread. Top the bread with the pickled mixture of your choice and enjoy!
8/ Vepřové Koleno - Pork Knuckle
When asking Czech natives what a “classic Czech dish” consists of, you will more than likely hear an overwhelming answer of roasted pork knuckle. Czechs tend to love this hearty, cozy dish. Typically the pork is marinated in a dark beer before roasting for hours. Find pickles, cabbage, potatoes, or salad as side dishes for this large and filling meal. You can’t leave the Czech Republic without trying this traditional and locally-loved dish!
9/ Česneková Polévka - Garlic Soup
Česneková polévka is the perfect soup to cozy up with on a long winter’s day. This strongly flavored, delicious soup is made with garlic, croutons, potatoes, broth, and depending on who is cooking - an egg and some melted cheese. Czechs take great pride in their locally-grown garlic, and furthermore great pride in this soup. Known to cure just about anything - from a common cold to a hangover - this is a Czech winter delicacy that you can’t miss out on.
10/ Knedlík - Bread Dumpling
Ah, bread dumplings. Mentioned earlier in this article when touching on Czech goulash, you can find bread dumplings along the side of many soup/stew dishes in the Czech Republic. The traditional dumpling from the region is made with stale bread which has been boiled into the perfect partner to warm stews, as their duty is to sop up any remains. It is an unspoken Czech rule to never eat the dumplings on their own, as they are meant to gain their flavor from the warm stew they partner with.
As you can see, traditional Czech food is quite heavy and hearty, but it pairs perfectly with the long winter that the country endures. Most of these foods are the perfect way to fill your stomach and your soul when your body is exhausted from the cold. If you are a vegetarian - have no fear! There are plenty of vegetarian restaurants around Prague and even most Czech pubs offer some veg options. If this list of ten must-try Czech foods hasn’t convinced you to book your trip to Prague today - I don’t know what will! Book with us!
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