If you don’t try a traditional Czech meal served up with a well-chilled, well-poured and mighty tasty Czech beer while you’re here, you might as well not have come to Prague at all. Taste some of the local flavour (e.g. Pilsner Urquell, Budweiser, Radegast, Gambrinus) and you’ll see why Czechs are so fond of it.
Czechs have a soft spot for soups, hence the old Czech saying “soup is the basis – those who do not eat it will not grow tall.” Here are a few of the most popular Czech soups.
- Goulash soup – a thicker beef-n-potato soup, seasoned with paprika, pepper and marjoram.
- Potato soup – a thick vegetable and potato soup seasoned with marjoram.
- Tripe soup – a spicy soup made from beef innards.
- Garlic soup – a popular soup served to those suffering from hangover or illness that will put you back on your feet.
- Chicken soup – clear chicken broth with glass noodles and bits of vegetable – a lighter soup.
- Beef broth with liver dumplings – beef broth with tasty little liver dumplings.
Czech cuisine is rich in meat – the favourites are pork, beef, chicken and duck but you’ll find goose, rabbit and venison dishes here too. They are prepared in many ways but one thing is almost certain: They’ll come with a generous portion of sauce – usually of the rich, creamy variety – and dumplings to sop it up with. The most common types are bread dumplings (made of flour, egg, yeast and breadcrumbs) and potato dumplings (similar but their namesake replaces the last two ingredients). After the dough is prepared, they are formed into loaves, boiled in water and then sliced up to serve. Dumplings are so popular with Czechs that they created a sweet variety – usually filled with fresh fruit (plums, apricots, blueberries…) and sprinkled with farmer’s cheese and powdered sugar. Fruit dumplings are so well liked they have even been elevated to main dish status.
A few of the classics:
- Pork, dumplings and cabbage – baked pork with dumplings and sweet-n-sour cabbage.
- Duck with cabbage and dumplings – baked duck with potato dumplings and cabbage.
- Roast beef in cream sauce – interlarded roast beef in cream sauce, served with cranberries and bread dumplings.
- Beef in tomato sauce – boiled beef in a creamy tomato sauce, also served with bread dumplings.
- Potato pancakes – the batter is made of finely shredded raw potatoes, flour, eggs and spices, and then fried.
Snacks to nibble on as you enjoy your beer:
- Utopenec “drowned man” – pickled sausages with onions.
- Olomouc tvaruzky – ripe cheese with a very strong aroma, served with onions and mustard.
- Marinated hermelin – a camembert-type cheese marinated in oil with hot peppers and spices.
And a sweet treat at the end:
Czech buns with poppy seed, plum jam or cottage cheese filling.