With things like cream sauce, bread dumplings, beer, and fried cheese, Czech food isn’t exactly on the heart-healthy list, but rather on the cheat-day list. As we only had a limited amount of time and didn’t want to eat out everyday, we choose two main dishes accompanied by a couple snacks along the way.
A truly Czech dish, which comes in many different variations, however most will agree that it consist of a piece of beef covered in a cream-vegetable sauce made of carrots, celery, and parsley roots accompanied by bread dumplings. We must admit that at first, this didn’t look very appetizing, however once you try it it’s actually quite good and you find yourself soaking the rest of the sauce with the delicious bread dumplings.
A popular late night snack, smažený sýr consist of fried breaded Edam cheese and a side of (traditionally) boiled potatoes, however often served with fries instead. We decided to try it at a local workers pub and at $3.50 it was a delicious and filling meal. We actually shared it because the fried cheese was the size of our heads, and the accompanying potatoes were about seven small sized perfectly cooked whole potatoes.
Our tour guide spoke quite fondly of these open-faced sandwiches and in his opinion, this is something he considered traditional Czech foods. They looked similar to the Swedish open-faced Skagen toast, however the toppings are more meat oriented. Chlebíčky, with anything from potato salad and ham to other savory toppings, can be bought from bakeries and make for a great quick snack.
It was around two in the afternoon and we were already craving a post-lunch snack. Making our way to the Prague Free Walking Tour, we couldn’t help but notice the cinnamon scent dominating Wenceslas Square. It turned out to originate from some freshly baked trdelník. As soon as we saw the whipped cream and adjacent soft serve machine we were sold. We figured a three-hour walk justified the calories from this hollow, warm, and sweet dough-filled pastry, with refreshing soft serve ice cream and whipped cream on top.
The contrast between the warm dough and cold ice cream made for a great snack if shared; it is pretty much a full meal otherwise! As we found out later, even though this snack is quite popular in Czech Republic, it actually originates from the Hungarian-speaking part of Transylvania in Romania.
With a brioche like dough and a sweet poppy seed paste inside, the popular Czech koláček was nice to try, but not our favorite pastry from this region.
Unlike the koláček we definitely liked the Medovnik cake. This crumbly-layered cake, held together by layers of honey, definitely satisfied our sweet tooth. We accompanied it with an espresso and it was quite delicious. Try to go for a slightly more expensive (we paid 3.50$ instead of one of the cheaper variants) option, as it will make a big difference in the quality of the honey used.
Kofola, also known as the Eastern European coke, is especially popular in Czech Republic and Slovakia. We had high hopes for this drink, but did not like it at all. It taste nothing like coke, rather it tasted more like the lovechild of cough syrup and licorice sprinkled with anise powder. Needless to say, not our favorite from the region.
The Czechs are renowned for their world-class beer and for being the largest consumers of beer per capita in the world. There are plenty of beer tasting tours available, which can take up to six hours. However, we decided to try some beers ourselves at various occasions. We tried a few of the widely available beers such as the Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser Budvar, and Eggenberg. Although we liked the Pilsner Urquell, we weren’t as impressed as we though we would be. We actually preferred the Polish beers we tried a couple days earlier.
We, Mark & Herta, are currently backpacking through Europe, and eventually planning to settle in London. Beyond that? The possibilities are endless.Read Mark & Herta’s full story.