Czech cuisine is similar to the cuisine of its neighboring countries (Germany, Austria, Slovakia). Meals are hearty and rich to warm up in the winter season. The Czech Republic has a wide selection of field crops, fruits, vegetables, fish, and meat. A popular activity is to pick mushrooms so you can find them added to many dishes.
As the Czechs say, soup is the Grund (base) and it is an important part of the Czech cuisine. Traditional soups are thick and rich. The most typical ones are potato soup, garlic soup, goulash soup, tripe soup, bean soup, cabbage soup with sausage, beef broth with liver dumplings and noodles, garlic soup with ham, and mushroom soup.
The meat, especially pork, beef, and poultry, dominates the cuisine. Popular dishes are also made from minced meat, freshwater fish, rabbit, and venison. Traditional dishes include pork schnitzel (řízek), pork with dumplings and sauerkraut ( vepřo knedlo zelo), roasted pork knuckle or roasted duck, a variety of stews, fried or baked carp, or meatloaf.
The traditional Czech fish is carp, reared mainly in the southern Bohemia and also exported to other countries. Carp and potato salad is the traditional Christmas dish.
Popular dishes in beer pubs are fried cheese (colloquially ”smažák”), as well as pickled and marinated cheeses. The Czechs love their cheese on everything.
Czechs consider their beer to be the best in the world. It is delicious, world famous, and it has a long tradition. The most famous are Pilsner Urquell (Plzeňský Prazdroj) and Budweiser Budvar (Budějovický Budvar), but other popular beers are Staropramen, and Krušovice. According to statistics, Czechs consume the most beer per capita in the world – about 300 beers per person per year.
The most popular non-alcoholic drink is the Czech version of Coke – KOFOLA. Ask for it! It tastes like a lemon cola and it is very refreshing.
Coffee is also well loved in this country, however, all the coffee shops offer mostly coffee from Italian suppliers. In the winter season, you can buy mulled wine (in Czech Svařák) from a street vendor.
The herb liqueur Becherovka is very popular and it is also good for digestion.
Commonly found are wedding cakes but with different flavors and fillings, such as poppy seeds or marmalade. The locals can also offer you an apple roll or strudel, gingerbread, honey cake, or a bunt cake.
At the Prague markets, you can smell the sweet spit-roast cake called TRDLO, which is made of rolled dough, grilled above hot coal, and covered with cinnamon sugar. The sellers state that TRDLO is a medieval Czech cake, however, it actually originated in Transylvania (yes, the land of Dracula). Crepes with different flavors and fillings are also offered at many places in Prague.
Another popular item in the sweet shops or cafes is a honey cake called MEDOVNIK, which was brought to the Czech Republic by Armenian and Georgian entrepreneurs, and it has gained immense popularity. The dessert has a long shelf-life and therefore it is very popular with restaurants and cafes.
Knedliky (dumplings) with fruit fillings are another Czech favorite, so some restaurants serve them as a dessert, but Czech families often have them as a main course. There are bread, potato, and custard dough dumplings with a variety of fillings as well. The sweet version is often topped with a type of curd cheese (tvaroh)– shredded or creamy, cinnamon sugar, or fried breadcrumbs.
The savory version can be filled with minced meat, pieces of bread, or lard.
Enjoy your stay and eat and drink the Bohemian way! You know what they say: What happens in Prague…