Traditional Czech cuisine is particularly hearty and varied. German and Austrian influences give pride of place to meat.
Czech cuisine is characterised by the presence of potatoes and root vegetables. Vegetables of any other kind are rather rare on the plates.
In Prague, the most famous is undoubtedly Prague ham (pražská šunka), a variety of white ham often served with whipped cream.
You can also try the various salads, including the šopský salát, which consists of tomatoes and cucumbers topped with feta cheese, a sweet salad with carrots and apples, and a salad of grated cucumbers with vinegar and sugar.
Czechs say: Polévka je grunt, maso je špunt (Soup is the base and meat is the finish). In other words, soup is an institution in the Czech Republic. It is a must for any lunchtime meal, whether in summer or winter.
Among the most popular are potato soup (bramboračka), cabbage and bacon soup (zelňačka), garlic or onion soup, chicken or beef broth (vývar), lentil soup (čočková) or the surprising tripe soup (dršťková). For dill lovers, kulajda, made with potatoes, egg, mushrooms and cream, is a real treat.
Typical Czech dishes
Although it is Hungarian, goulash is an integral part of Czech gastronomy. Czechs prepare it in many different ways: with peppers, with tomatoes, with wild boar, with beef, with beer, as a main course or in soup... Goulash is traditionally served with knedlíky, slices of bread baked in water and very thick.
For those who like a sweet and sour mix, two dishes are recommended. The svíčková na smetaně (roast beef in cream sauce with cranberries) and vepřo knedlo zelo (pork served with sweet cabbage and knedlíky). This second dish can also be served with duck or goose. A true Czech holiday dish!
Breaded dishes are another important component of Czech cuisine. Almost every foodstuff has a breaded version! Try breaded cheese (smažák), breaded mushrooms (smažené žampiony) and breaded cauliflower (smažený květák).
As the Czech Republic is far from the sea, fish is not a common food. Carp, which comes from the ponds of South Bohemia, is nevertheless the traditional Czech Christmas dish.
Czech desserts are a legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Apple strudel is one of them, as well as typical Viennese cakes (sacher, black forest...).
You can also taste many desserts made with cottage cheese, poppy seed, cinnamon, vanilla, plum...
Another local speciality: the small dishes served in the brewery (hospoda or pivnice), to accompany your mug of beer. Reserved for the curious, for strong stomachs and for those who have long since thrown away their diet! A useful glossary of terms:
If you want to try a Czech culinary speciality, try chlebíček!
This bread sandwich, or "open sandwich" as the English translate it, is ideal at any time of the day, if you are feeling a little hungry. Traditionally topped with potato salad, a slice of ham, a slice of gherkin, pepper and a hard-boiled egg, chlebíčky are now trendy little snacks that have been modernised and offer a wide range of flavours: goat cheese, beetroot, feta cheese, salmon... There is something for everyone!
Czechs eat chlebíčky on New Year’s Eve, on a special occasion to celebrate and sometimes when they receive guests.
It’s pretty, it’s good, and it’s Czech!