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Prague’s typical food: more than just hearty soups

Prague’s typical food doesn’t conform to any precise and unmovable canons; the food that is typically eaten in Prague is a compendium of local cuisine plus dishes from other Central European countries.

One factor these dishes all share is that almost all are highly calorific. And with good reason: Prague’s typical food tends to be really filling because the climate means people need plenty of energy to combat the low temperatures, especially in winter.

Prague’s typical dishes

Soups are a runaway success among Prague’s typical dishes. They always have plenty of substance and almost always contain cabbage, potatoes, pork and various creams. Meat dishes, especially pork, served with a generous garnish is also a quintessential food of the city.

Prague’s selection of breads and cakes is also outstanding. In fact, Czechs have something of a sweet tooth and you’ll find a huge variety of pastries stuffed with fillings such as cream cheese, poppy seeds, plum or cherry compote.

 

 

Estos son algunos de los ejemplos más representativos de la gastronomía praguense:

Codillo

Tradicional Codillo

Most of Prague’s typical dishes are washed down with a good tankard of beer, virtually a national drink.

Here are some of the most typical dishes of Prague’s cuisine:

  • Česká bramborová: A soup made from potatoes, mushrooms and vegetables. It is eaten all year round and the ingredients change depending on what is available in the market.
  • Zelňačka: Another type of soup, this time made from fermented cabbage. Originally a Christmas dish, today it can be found on restaurant menus in every season.
  • Knedlíky: The main side dish typically used in Prague’s cuisine and across the Czech Republic; these flour or potato dumplings are oven-roasted then sliced and are used to soak up the sauces of stews and soups.
  • Knuckle: Roasted knuckle served in a style similar to that of other Central European countries.
  • Svíčková na smetaně: Roasted beef served with a thick vegetable sauce and also a red fruit compote.
  • Schnitzel: The typical thin, breaded beef or pork steak fried in lard or oil, normally served with chips and/or sauerkraut.
Sopa de Col

Zelňačka. Sopa de col fermentada

Goulash

Perhaps the most sought-after dish in the city’s restaurants is goulash, and purists don’t even consider it to be a typical food of Prague: it originated in Hungary.

However, Hungary and the current territory of the Czech Republic both belonged to the Austro-Hungarian Empire for several centuries so it’s easy to see how trade between the different areas of the vast political entity also had its parallels in the world of food.

This famous dish is a meat stew (although it was originally closer to a soup). Pieces of beef are normally stewed for hours in red wine and served with vegetables such as peppers and various spices.

Prague’s restaurants serve it with generous portions of knedlíky that are used to soak up the delicious sauce.

Goulash

Goulash

Vepřo knedlo zelo

This is definitely the star meat dish of Prague’s typical cuisine: a delicious stew made with pork fillet. The meat is cooked with plenty of onion and caraway seeds (a spice that is very common in Czech cooking.) It is served with sauerkraut and the omnipresent knedlíky.

This is the basic version because, as a genuine Czech national dish, vepřo knedlo zelo has been prepared in as many different ways as there are cooks.

So, starting from the same basis, every restaurant in Prague prepares and serves its own slightly different version and some fans of this dish like to spend time sampling its different variations during their stay in the city.

One important piece of advice: unless you’re really hungry, this hearty stew is considered a full meal in Czech cooking.

Typical pastries of Prague

These days the most popular pastry found among Prague’s typical food is trdelník, even though, just like goulash and other dishes that feature in Czech cooking, it’s been slightly ‘borrowed’. Many are convinced that it originated in neighbouring Slovakia, but, truth be told, it was most likely originally Hungarian.

Dulce típico de Praga

Trdelník cocinándose

Either way, trdelník have invaded most of the markets, street stands and patisseries in Prague to delight locals and tourists alike. They are made from a fermented flour dough that is rolled around a wooden stick and roasted over a fire for a few minutes, turning the stick continuously, until it turns a beautiful golden colour.

Once cooked they’re traditionally dipped in sugar, cinnamon, chopped walnuts, etc. although globalisation means they’re increasingly covered in chocolate, caramel, cream and all kinds of syrups.

Strudel

Strudel

As we mentioned above, Prague residents have rather a sweet tooth and its patisseries and restaurants also have many other types of sweet treats that you should make sure to try. Some good examples include:

  • Strudel: Central European apple cake with pastry, butter and lots of cinnamon.
  • Medovník: Up to eight layers of sponge cake joined together with a cream made from butter, condensed milk and chopped walnuts.
  • Kolače: A perfect (if calorie-intense) snack between meals. These little tarts are made from yeast dough, pastry or brik pastry that is filled with cream cheese, jam or a delicious sauce made from poppy seeds, honey and milk.
  • Buchty: A round bun with a variety of delicious fillings.
  • Palačinky: A type of pancake made from a slightly denser batter that can be stuffed with various different fillings.
  • Kremrole: A tube of pastry that is filled with cream or any other mousse-like filling.

 

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