From a delightful fried cheese to the perfect winter spit cake, here’s a look at ten foods you must eat in Prague.
There are many things to do and see in Prague, but there are also many things to eat and drink! Prepare your stomach and take advantage of strolls through the old town to digest all of the irresistible Czech food you must try while visiting the Golden City.
From comforting soups like kulajda to hearty meals like vepřo knedlo zelo and svícková and delicious appetizers like smažený sýr and bramboráky, here are ten typical Czech dishes.
Kulajda is also known as the Bohemian soup, a typical Czech dish enjoyed during the fall and winter when the mercury starts to drop. With a base of sour cream, mashed potatoes, mushrooms, and dill, the flavor is quite particular with a mildly sour touch.
Originally from Hungary, goulash is a spicy meat stew that was adapted to the Czech palate and is now a staple of the cuisine. In contrast to the Hungarian recipe, Czech goulash is made with fewer vegetables and more meat—usually beef, but there are also variations with chicken or pork. Depending on the thickness, it can be a soup or a stew. If you can’t live without meat, you must try this dish.
3. Smažený sýr
Smažený sýr translates to “fried cheese” and is usually sold as a snack at food stands in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, and is often accompanied by French fries, salad, or bread. Edam, hermelín, or blue cheese are used to make this hearty delicacy. The cheese is cut in thick ½”-wide strips, breaded, fried, and served—crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside.
4. Vepřo knedlo zelo
Vepřo knedlo zelo is one of Czech cuisine’s most famous dishes, prepared from pork loin roasted in an onion and caraway gravy. It’s often accompanied by sauerkraut and a type of boiled bread called knedlíky. Vepřo knedlo zelo is an emblem of Czech cuisine as it features all the fundamental ingredients: meat, pickled cauliflower, pickled tubers, caraway seeds, etc. This hearty and nutritious meal is even better accompanied by a traditional Czech beer.
Continuing the trend of hearty meals with meat bases, svícková won’t disappoint foodies who are always eager to dazzle their taste buds. Made with beef tenderloin and a traditional vegetable and cream sauce seasoned with black pepper, allspice, bay leaf, and thyme, svícková is served with cranberry sauce and knedlíky, which were mentioned earlier. Interestingly enough, this plate was exported to the United States by Czech immigrants during World War I, which is why an American version can be found in cities such as Chicago.
6. Steak tartar
One of the most popular dishes served at Czech restaurants is steak tartar, a delicacy feared by many because it is made with raw beef. The Czech version is intended to perfectly complement local beers, and in Prague, it’s usually served with bread fried in butter or lard and some garlic cloves. Rub the garlic on a piece of toasted bread, then enjoy the textural contrast between the crunchy bread and the silkiness of the steak tartar.
Kapr (carp) is the most consumed fish in the Czech Republic whether it’s fried, grilled or used as a soup base. Traditionally, it’s prepared for dinner on Christmas Eve because, traditionally, meat was not eaten on this occasion. Deboned and accompanied by potato salad, this dish is still prepared in Czech households today.
8. Veprové koleno
Despite not being exclusive to the country, pork knuckle, or veprové koleno in Czech, is one of the most beloved dishes, prepared by boiling the knuckles then seasoning them with onion, garlic, chili pepper, bay leaf, black pepper, and Tabasco sauce. The dish is usually served with spicy sliced radish, mustard, and bread —and don’t forget the beer.
Bramboráky are potato pancakes seasoned with spices, and this is where they get their name—brambora means potato in Czech. The necessary ingredients for making this appetizer, which is usually accompanied by a glass of beer, are potatoes, eggs, black pepper, marjoram, garlic, milk, olive oil, flour, and salt.
We finish off the list with a typical Prague food that has a sweet note: the delicious tradelník. The perfect dessert for combatting the cold, you will see (and smell) this spit cake at Christmas markets and street stands. Served hot, tradelníky are a type of brioche rolled into the shape of a chimney and usually sprinkled with sugar, caramel, and crushed walnuts. It’s fascinating to see how they’re prepared and then watch them bake in a special oven, fastened on to spinning wooden bars. Tradelníky are a common sweet in various countries of Eastern Europe such as Hungary and Slovakia.