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Prague Cuisine: Take a Look Inside

on February 3, 2020

Introduction:

In this article, I would like to give you an overview of what Prague cuisine has to offer. You know, the sheer variety of Czech food might be a little overwhelming. That’s why I wrote this little piece, so you won’t end up thinking it’s all about pork knee. On the contrary, you will learn about Czech soups, meats, sauces, dumplings, pickled food and other kinds of meals that make Prague cuisine so special! I’ve also added some must-try suggestions along with places where you can have it.

We can’t imagine our meals without onion, garlic, horseradish, bay leaf, caraway seeds, sweet paprika, dill, parsley and marjoram. But again, these flavors are typical not only for us, but the whole central European region and you will find a combination of these in most Czech dishes. So here they are:

Czech Soups:

WHEN AT HOME, LOCALS LIKE TO EAT SOUP BEFORE EVERY MAIN COURSE.

TO NAME A FEW: Bramboračka (Potato Soup), Zelňačka (Cabbage Soup), Česnečka(Garlic Soup), Držťkovka (Tripe Soup), Koprovka (Dill Soup), Houbová (Mushroom Soup), Hrachovka (Pea soup), Slepičí (Chicken Soup), Hovězí (Beef Soup) and Kulajda.

MUST-TRY: I highly recommend Kulajda, a beautiful soup full of Czech flavors such as dill, mushrooms, potatoes, cream, vinegar and poached egg.  Restaurant Kolkovna V Celnici offers Kulajda for 75czk. The location is great and the busy atmosphere of traditional Czech pub even better.

OR, if you feel adventurous – go for Držťkovka: tripe soup with caraway seeds, garlic, onion, paprika and marjoram.  Kantýna, a place specialized in quality meat near Wenceslas’s Square, is the place to go.

Czech Sauces:

THE REASON WE EAT SAUCES IS BECAUSE WE LOVE FRANCE AND WE NEED TO DIP OUR DUMPLINGS SOMEWHERE.

TO NAME a FEW: Svíčková (Candle Sauce), Rajská (Tomato Sauce), Koprovka (Dill Sauce), Segedínský guláš (Segedin Goulash), Houbová (Mushroom Sauce), Křenová(Horseradish Sauce) and Hovězí guláš (Beef Goulash).

MUST TRY: Svíčková – beef sirloin with root vegetable cream sauce and dumplings. Café Imperial at Na Poříčí street has a good one, but make sure to book your table at least a week before. Go ahead and try the signature dish of Prague cuisine!

OR: Koprovka – A fragrant and delicious creamy dill sauce. Try the vegetarian option at Vinohradský Parlament –  the biggest Staropramen restaurant in the Czech Republic located near Náměstí Míru metro station. While I am not a big fan of Staropramen beer, they cook really well. It’s a family-friendly restaurant where you can taste great Czech food at local prices.

 

Czech Meats:

WE EAT ALL KINDS OF MEAT, BUT ESPECIALLY PORK AS WE HAVE A LONG TRADITION OF HOME-SLAUGHTERING.

TO NAME A FEW: Pražská šunka (Prague Ham), Jitrnice (White Pudding), Jelito (Black Pudding). Špekáček (a Kind of Sausage), Sekaná (Meatloaf), Talián (Another Kind of Sausage), Huspenina (Pork in Aspic), Tlačenka (Haggis), Řízek (Schnitzel) Pečená kachna (Roast Duck), Vepřové koleno (Pork Knee), Krkovice (Pork Neck), Španělský ptáček (Beef Roll), Moravský vrabec (Moravian Pork), Hovězí jazyk (Beef Tongue) Tatarský biftek (Steak Tartare) etc.

MUST TRY: Sekaná: finely cut beef and pork meat mixed up with breadcrumbs, onion and egg, seasoned with garlic, salt, pepper and herbs. Naše maso, a butcher’s and restaurant in Dlouhá Street, has a delicious one.

OR: Steak Tartare, originally a French meal, is a dish made of raw ground beef with raw egg yolk on top. But the way we serve it is completely Czech because we add wide variety of spices and garlic to it. Great place to taste it is Kantýna near Wenceslas’s Square!

Dumplings:

THEY HAVE BEEN INSPIRED BY GERMAN CUISINE, HOWEVER FRUIT DUMPLINGS COULD BE CONSIDERED TYPICALLY CZECH INVENTION – ESPECIALLY THE PLUM ONES!

TO NAME A FEW: Houskový (Bread Dumpling), Bramborový (Potato Dumpling), Karlovarský (Karlovarský Dumpling), Chlupatý (Hairy Dumpling), Ovocný (Fruit Dumpling)

MUST TRY: plum dumplings at Krystal bistro in Karlín or U Sedmi Švábů in Malá strana are a great example of Prague cuisine!

 

Pickled Food:

WHY DO WE PUT SO MANY THINGS IN JAR? IN THE PAST, WE NEEDED A WAY TO PRESERVE FOOD FOR COLD WINTERS. PEOPLE OBVIOUSLY LIKED THE WAY IT TASTED BECAUSE THE TRADITION CONTINUES.

TO NAME A FEW: Kyselé okurky (Gherkins) Nakládaný hermelín (Pickled Cheese) Utopenec (Pickled Sausage) Zavináče (Pickled Herring), Nakládaný chřest (Pickled Asparagus) Nakládaná cibule (Pickled Onion) most of which goes well with beer.

MUST TRY: Pickled hermelín with a glass of Pilsner at Mlsnej Kocour – a restaurant near Namestí Míru metro station.

 

Miscellaneous:

TO NAME A FEW: Smažený kapr (Fried Carp) Bramboráky (Potato Pancakes), Kysané zelí (Sauerkraut), Chlebíčky (Open-faced Sandwiches) Saláty (Mayonnaise Salads) Olomoucké syrečky (Curd cheese) and much more!

MUST-TRY: Chlebíček at Zlatý Kríž in Prague – it’s where all locals go.

Conclusion:

So here it is. An overview of Prague cuisine that will hopefully enable you to enjoy our food more in case you are visiting Prague in the near future. You might think I left out Czech sweets. You’re right – and for a good reason. There’s an article dedicated to Czech sweets only in Local Food Tour Prague blog! So read on…If you’d like to know more about the golden era of Czech gastronomy, click here.

by Christian Szabo | Sep 24, 2018 |