• 16.3.2017
  • Tereza Vítková

Beginner's Guide: Czech Food

Beginner's Guide: Czech Food

What kind of traditional food do we eat in the Czech Republic? Well, that's not easy to answer as our Czech cuisine borrows all tastes of Germany and Hungary's schnitzels, strudels and goulashes, but adds the culture's own unique twists. On this short culinary tour, you'll find out what foods are Czech staples or delicacies. Dobrou chuť!

Guidilo - Czech food tlacenka                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Photo by Krahulík
Beer snacks (Něco k pivu)
Brawn with vinegar and onions
(Tlačenka s octem a cibulí)
Also known as „pressed meat" or "head cheese", consisting of little pieces of meat in jelly/aspic from connective tissue boiled to mush, served with onion, vinegar and bread.

Pickled cheese (Nakládaný hermelín)
Hermelín cheese is a bloomy rind cheese similar to brie or camembert, marinated with peppers, garlic and onions in oil. It's a very popular pub snack that comes with beer.

Pickled Sausage (Utopenec, literally „drowned man")
A thick pork sausage pickled in sweet-sour vinegar marinade with black pepper, bayleaf, onion and chilli peppers, served cold with rye bread.

Guidilo - Czech food knedlickova polevka                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        Photo by Jan Vašek
Soups (Polévky)
Czech Republic is a soup country. Soup is the traditional meal starter. It may even be served as the sole main course, together with bread. Definitely worth to try:
Beef soup with liver dumplings (Hovězí polévka s játrovými knedlíčky)
Potato soup (Bramboračka or Bramborová polévka)
Tomato soup (Rajská polévka)
Cabbage soup (Zelňačka)

Guidilo Czech food                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Photo by Jan Vašek
Main Courses
(Hlavní chod)
Meat is the main ingredient of most Czech dishes. Meals are accompanied with spongy and fluffy bread dumplings (knedlíky), boiled potatoes (brambory), mashed potatoes (bramborová kaše) or rice (rýže). French fries and croquettes are also common in restaurants.

Beef Sirloin with dumplings and Cream Sauce (Svíčková na smetaně)
A marinated beef sirloin in a cream sauce with a teaspoon of cranberry compote on a slice of lemon and whipped cream on the top. It

Roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut (Vepřová pečeně s knedlíky a se zelím aka Knedlo-vepřo-zelo)
This meal is referred to as being the true soul food of the Czech Republic This dish consists of a pork base covered in dumplings and sauerkraut. Although it is can be a bland dish and high in fat, it is a popular favorite of Czech locals and seen on many menus in Prague.

Beef / Pork Goulash (Hovězí / vepřový guláš)
A stew usually made from beef, pork or game with onions and spices. Czech guláš is not to be confused with Hungarian „gulyás" which is a soup more similar to Czech gulášovka (a soup). The Czech version is closer to the Hungarian „pörkölt".

Schnitzel (Řízek)
These are usually small slices of veal, pork or chicken covered with Czech traditional „triplecoat" (trojobal), made from putting and pressing a piece pounded and sliced into smooth flour on both sides, then covered in whisked egg and breadcrumbs and fried on both sides. Řízek is served with potato side-dishes.

Fruit dumplings (Ovocné knedlíky)
These are whole fruits or pieces of fruit coated with potato or curd dough and steamed then served with butter or cream, sugar and sometimes milled poppy seed or quark.

Guidilo - Czech food Medovnik                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Photo by Viktor Hanacek
Desserts (Moučníky)
Dessert comes in many varieties. Some are rather fatty due to the use of butter (máslo) and whipped cream (šlehačka), some are light and fluffy. In general, Czech desserts and cakes (dorty) are not overly sweet.

Marble cake (Bábovka)
A typical sweet bakery product. A lot of Czechs remember the time when they were children and there was always a marble cake on their grandmother's kitchen table. Usually is the cake prepared with dark and light parts, hence the term marble cake.

Kolache (Koláče)
A type of mainly round yeast pastry consisting of fillings of fruits, curd, poppyseeds or doughnut. It can be small, middle or pancake sized. Fillings can be seen.

Honey Cake (Medovník)
A delicious type of honey layer cake. Sliced and iced in many very thin layers, not moist, nor dry.

Apple strudel (Jablečný závin)
Apple strudel is traditional Czech pastry that have its origin in Austrian cuisine and consists of an oblong strudel pastry jacket with an apple, raisins and wallnut filling inside. Can be served warm or cold, usually sprinkled with powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream or whipped cream.

Prague offers a lot when it comes to the food... Don′t know how to deal with so many restaurants here? Ask our food specialists Lucie A. or instead of going to a restaurant, accept an invitation to eat home-made meal from Vlasta E.!
You can also read our Advanced Guide telling you more about really weird Czech food...

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