Czech Republic is a country nestled in the heart of Europe, neighboring Germany, Poland, Austria and Slovakia. Previously known as Bohemia, the Czech Republic is known for its historic castles, its bustling capital Prague, its beer and of course its cuisine.
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Most Popular Czech Dishes
Czech cuisine has much in common with Eastern European gastronomy, with meat, stews, soups, potatoes, sour vegetables and breads being common staples. Most Czech food can be described as homely, filling and warming, with the cold winters a likely reason why such hearty dishes are so popular.
It is well known that the Czechs consume the most beer of any country in the world, and their Pilsners are exported worldwide. Beer is commonly consumed alongside main courses in Czech dining.
Breads, pastries and sweet desserts make up the remainder of staples in Czech cuisine, being widely available to sample in local restaurants and food stalls. So without further ado, here are the absolute must-try Czech dishes along with links to recipes for you to try yourself.
Svíčková Na Smetaně (Sirloin on Cream)
Svíčková na smetaně is a sirloin steak served on cream. For the sirloin, the meat is braised for a particularly long time in vegetable stock, which means that the beef will literally melt in the mouth.
A slightly sweet cream sauce is prepared from the vegetable stock. Svíčková is served with Bohemian bread dumplings.
Vepřo Knedlo Zelo (Roast Pork Dumpling Cabbage)
Vepřo Knedlo Zelo is tender, slowly roasted roast pork seasoned with salt, caraway seeds and garlic. It is a dish that is particularly popular in the Bohemian region.
Vepřo Knedlo Zelo also tends to include steamed sauerkraut and Bohemian dumplings made from yeast dough.
Hovězí Guláš (Beef Goulash)
Czech beef goulash (Hovězí Guláš) is a thick stew made from fresh beef, chopped onions, seeds and spices. It is one of the most famous dishes of the Czech Republic.
Goulash is widely famous across Central Europe, the most famous version being from Hungary. It’s a thin soup with meat, potatoes and paprika.
Smažený Sýr (Fried Cheese)
Smažený sýr is a snack which is essentially a golden yellow cheese in crispy breadcrumbs, fried and served with French fries and cold Tatarka (tartar sauce).
Bramboráky (Potato Pancakes)
Larger Bramboráky are potato pancakes made from white potatoes seasoned with garlic, marjoram and salt, sometimes refined with bacon, lard, cheese and served with pickled sour vegetables. Smaller Bramboráky are also often served as an accompaniment to meat.
There is an age-old dispute about whether the origin of potato pancakes is from Bohemia, the Rhineland region, Bavaria or South Thuringia – but it will never be decided because a wide variety of potato pancakes are part of traditional cuisines throughout Central Europe.
Česnečka (Garlic Soup)
Česnečka is a garlic soup which is made with Kassler (Prague ham), leek, potatoes, garlic and onions. Bread cubes are roasted in lard and added into the soup or sometimes fresh brown bread is served on the side.
Česnečka is eaten as a breakfast and is said to be an excellent hangover cure.
Kulajda (Mushroom and Potato Soup)
Kulajda is a soup dish consisting of potatoes, onions and forest mushrooms cooked with caraway and bay leaves until they are half cooked and soft.
Then the soup is bound with sour cream and flour. To top it off, eggs are poached in the soup and a terrine or plate is garnished with plenty of fresh dill.
Trdelnik is a sugary snack made from dough wrapped around a stick and then baked on a fire with a variety of different topping added.
After removing the stick there is a roll of hollow dough left, so it is not compact and heavy. You can then choose your topping, which is usually made up of sugar, walnuts, or cinnamon. Some people order it with a scoop of ice cream, especially on summer days.
The name Trdelnik comes from the word trdlo which is the wooden stick although these days an iron rod is often used.
Palačinky (Thin Pancakes)
Palačinky are thin Czech pancakes, similar to French crepes but made with a different batter and cooking method. They are typically served as a sweet snack or dessert, often filled or topped with a combination of jam, fruit, sweet cheese, ice cream, whipped cream and occasionally nuts.
Their most traditional form is curled up, like delicate cigars, but they are also sometimes folded into a triangle or stacked on top of each other.
Grilované Klobásy (Grilled Sausages)
Grilované Klobásy are grilled sausages that are usually served with Czech black bread, mustard, fried onions and sauerkraut. There are many different types of sausage, the most interesting of which is the deep red Pražská klobása (Prague sausage), which can be a little more expensive but has a nice piquant taste.
Grilovane Klobasy is usually served with dark rye bread and sliced onions and is available in almost every single pub in town. Outside of the pubs, Wenceslas Square is a place where a true sausage festival takes place day and night, with klobása kiosks serving their aromatic food on every corner.
Bublanina is a soft sponge cake topped with different kinds of fruits including cherries, blueberries, strawberries, apricots and fragrant plums and pears.
The word “Bublanina” means bubble in Czech, a reference to the way the batter bubbles up around the fruit.
Knedlíky is a type of dumpling made using flour, milk and yeast. It is known for its unique cylindrical shape, similar to a roll, that is then boiled and sliced into flat and oblong dumplings. They are often eaten as a side to savory dishes such as soups and stews.
Buchty (Sweet Filled Buns)
Buchty are Czech baked buns prepared using yeast dough, which includes a sweet stuffing, brushed with rum and melted butter. Some of the commonly used fillings include tvaroh, poppy seed, chocolate, or plum jam. Buchty is usually topped with powdered sugar or vanilla sauce, but one can also consume it plain.