Everything you want to know about Czech Food but were afraid to ask!
Maybe you’re planning to travel to the rather wonderful Czech Republic? Maybe you’re just a glutton who is hungry to learn about food as well as being hungry to eat some? Maybe you got lost on the internet because you searched “exploding pants” ( I’m not judging you ) but whatever the reason I think you’ll enjoy this comprehensive ( possibly amazing ) and informative guide to Czech food and drink guide!
I’ll be covering just about everything you could want to know about this delicious cuisine. Look out for an upcoming post where I’ll be recommending 15 traditional Czech foods you really need to try.!
“Dobrou chuť”– Said before eating in The Czech Republic meaning “good taste.”
Before I visited The Czech Republic I had no idea what the food here was like. It’s worth starting this pants exploding Czech Food and Drink guide by stating that without doubt Czech Food is absolutely delishious and the beer is some of the best in the world.
Czech food is hearty, filling, and comforting. This is cold weather food. This is food that wants to lay down a layer of fat to keep you cozy through the dark march of winter. Czech foods wants to hug you, and it will. It will also notch your clothing sizes up a few digits. But it’s worth the calories because Czech foods are delicious.
It is meat and carb heavy and comes in massive portions. You might need some climbing gear…. Some of it’s fried. Sometimes it’s cooked in lard, sometimes both. I heard that yearly, vegetarians are rounded up and whipped through the streets with rashers of streaky bacon… alright not quite that bad but don’t expect a lot of vegetables and salads. This is winter is coming food minus the ice zombies.
Is Czech food healthy?
Not really. As previously mentioned it’s mostly big chunks of meat on a plate alongside a big portion of carbs and vegetables about as common as unicorns. In fact, The Czech Republic has been ranked no.1 as the world’s most unhealthy country according to a World health organisation report.
There are other factors such as the large amount of alcohol consumed ( beer is big in Czechia ) and the high percentage of smokers but still the food does play a big factor. That said, Czech foods are absolutely delicious. You’re on holiday. This isn’t the time for dieting! You didn’t want to live forever, right?!
Is eating in Prague cheap?
Eating in Prague and the rest of the Czech Republic is very reasonable. It’s not Asia or South America cheap but compared to Western Europe, The UK, and North America then it’s extremely good value for money. Expect to pay around £8 ( $11 ) for a main meal and a bit less for breakfast. Beer is very cheap ( more on that later ) and widely consumed.
I was continually surprised at the size of the servings in The Czech Republic. The food portions are HUGE. Some of the starters could pass for mains. Occasionally I wasn’t sure if to eat the food or climb it. One time I lost 2 Sherpas on an assent of a gigantic slab of meat. It never failed to surprise me how big the portions are.
Much of the time your carb of choice will be Czech Dumplings. In czech called Knedlíky. This is an integral part of the Czech food experience. The most common type are bread dumplings ( houskové knedlíky ) are steamed yeast dough. These have a pillowy soft texture and chew and are perfect for mopping up the rich sauces. There are also potato dumplings ( Chlupaté knedlíky ) and sweet dessert dumplings ( ovocné knedlíky ) stuffed with fruit! Dumplings are an important part of Czech cusine. Many a Czech relationship has begun with the words, “hello baby, I love your dumplings.” ( probably )
OK. Czech food is delicious but what else is there?
The Vietnamese food in The Czech Republic is outstanding and authentic. Did you know the Czech Republic has one of the biggest Vietnamese populations in the world outside of Vietnam?
There’s a large “Vietnamese town” called Sapa on the outskirts of Prague that is well worth a visit. Stepping foot here is like taking a step into Vietnam. You’ll find businesses, shops, and many restaurants. Great Vietnamese food can be found anywhere though!
These are really popular and mostly take place on the weekends although you’ll find some during the week. The most well known is one held down by the river on a Saturday morning/afternoon. This one was high on my list to visit. I put a lot of yummy things in my face. It’s called naplavka market.
What to drink in The Czech Republic
“Without question, the greatest invention in the history of mankind is beer. Oh, I grant you that the wheel was also a fine invention, but the wheel does not go nearly as well with pizza.”– Dave Barry
The Czech Republic, is of course, famously and rightly known as a beer drinking nation. It’s both cheap and delicious but it’s not the only choice! In this section I’ll be mainly be exploring the famous Czech beer but also some other drinks that are well worth trying on your visit.
Beer is an important part of Czech culture. and take their beer very seriously. The price of beer has even been a campaign issue during elections! The Czech Republic is by far the largest beer drinking nation in the world by a massive 78 percent according to The Czech Beer Alliance
This consumption works out to 468 beers per person per year… That. Is a lot of beer.
Czech beer is extremely good and very cheap too. It’s typically served cold in a glass with a thick creamy head of foam. The amount of foam depends but more on that further into the article. It typically comes in either light or dark brews with the lighter brew being the most commonly drunk. The thick creamy head is to keep the air from the beer and thus it stays fresh and tasty.
The most popular beer in Czech Republic
By far the most popular beer in the Czech is Pilsner Urquell which you’ll find served pretty much everywhere. It is by far and away the most popular beer served in The Czech Republic.
The golden pilsner style was invented and first brewed in 1842 in the town of Pilzen where it is still made to the exact same recipe and with the same methods today. Pilzen is a simple day trip from Prague. You can visit the brewery and take a tour.. I’ve not personally been on this tour but heard good things about it.
Three ways to enjoy Czech beer.
Probably unknown to many tourists are the three ways you can order beer in the Czech Republic.
This is the standard pull of beer. You don’t have to specifically ask for this. If you order a beer in The Czech Republic this is what you’ll get unless you specifically ask for one of the other styles. This is beer with at least an inch of thick creamy foam on top.
This is a small amount of beer with a large amount of foam on top. Šnyt is 2 parts beer and 3 parts foam. This is a beer for when you have either a big meal or you simply don’t want to drink a lot of beer.
This Czech beer pour is all foam. Mlíko translates to milk. It still tastes of beer but much sweeter and light. A good beer to have with a dessert or simply just to experience it!
How cheap is a beer in the czech republic?
As already mentioned the beer is very cheap in The Czech Republic. How cheap is the beer?! In fact often a beer is cheaper than water in the Czech Republic. The average price of a in a pub or restaurant ( at the time of writing ) is 45 czk which equals £1-58 or $2.18! The Czech Republic is a paradise for beer lovers or if you’re a raging alcoholic.
This is a traditional alcoholic Czech drink. Becherovka is a herbal liquer either drank as a shot or mixed as part of a cocktail. It’s made in a town not too far from Prague called Karlovy Vary. You can even vist the Becherovka musem there! I personally didn’t enjoy it much but it’s an interesting experience. You should definitly try it at least once! And hey, you might really enjoy it!
This is a seasonal Czech drink. You’ll only find it in September/October. Burcak is sometimes called young wine. It’s the very first fermentation stage as the grape juice begins to ferment. The taste is fruity and sweet. It’s almost like a very light wine cider. I absolutely loved the stuff and brought it wherever possible. It’s very low in alcoholic content and easy drinking. If you are in The Czech Republic at the right time this is a must try.
Kofola is a carbonated soft drink invented in the former Czechoslovakia during the soviet era when Coke and Pepsi were scarce luxury items. Today it’s wildly popular and served on tap ( which tastes the best ) in many pubs and restaurants. Although invented to rival Coke and Pepsi it’s not actually a clone of those drinks. It has its own taste which is slightly herbal with a lemony citrus twang and a hint of cola flavour. I really enjoyed it. I generally don’t enjoy carbonated soft drinks because they are too sweet for me but this I enjoyed. If it was available here in the UK then I would be tempted to drink it.
The Czech Republic has a surprisingly excellent coffee culture! There’s plenty of wonderful cafes and coffee shops of all kinds. The coffee was wonderful. I was surprised at how good the coffee is almost everywhere. If you are into coffee then you’ll be spoilt for choice at the selection of artisan coffee joints. It’s not all great beer in the Czech Republic but also fantastic coffee too!
Czech food and drink guide – what else do I need to know?!
The last part of the guide will talk about some important stuff you might need to know that dosen’t fit into the food or drink section. I cover such things as tipping in the Czech Republic and what things you might need to be aware of or look out for.
Tipping in Czech Republic?
It’s always tricky when you’re in another country to know how much to tip or even should you? So should you tip in the Czech Republic? Yes you should! Don’t be stingy! It’s easy to work out. Just round up the bill to the next hundred Koruna or if that seems to little or maybe you’re in a fancy place then tip around 10 percent of the bill.
Czech Republic food scams and what to avoid
Beware the ham! IF you’re not careful you might get caught out by this HAMbush…
Around Prague’s Old Town Square you will see places selling ham. You should probably avoid them. Not only are they expensive in the first place but they will try to scam you. The prices are listed per 100g. If you don’t specify how much ham you want they will slice you off an absolutely enormous chunk of meat. You’ll end up paying a fortune for it. Be wary of the Old Town Ham Scam!
Beware the tourist traps. In any big city around the world. You’ll get charged much more if you’re sitting in a prime tourist spot and the same is true in the Czech Republic. For example most of Old Town Square’s restaurants and cafes should be avoided. Just walk away a little and you’ll find some gems. However, there is one on the corner that serves amazing food at reasonable prices! In fact, it was my favourite restaurant in Prague. It’s called Mincovna and I highly recommend it.
Many a Czech food and drink guide will list the Trdelník as a traditional Czech Food. However, it’s not Czech. ( Although not everybody agrees ) this sweet pastry probably comes from Hungry. It’s not that they don’t taste good but you should be aware that you are not trying something Czech. So in the words of Ice-T “ya gotta CZECH yoself before you wreck yourself” I think we can all agree with that. He does also say in the song that “shotgun bullets are bad for your health.” this man is a font of wisdom!
Last but not least: Will my pants explode?!
Yes, they might. It’s possible because you ate too much delicious Czech food but worth the risk!
And so our gastronomic trip comes to an end…
And here we here we are, stuffed full of information, at the end of our journey. We shared some smiles and learned some things. I certainly hope you enjoyed reading this and found it useful. If you’re interested in The Czech Republic or planning a trip there you might be interested in my last post: Travelling to Prague
Initially this was going to feature 15 delicous traditional Czech foods you should try but I soon realised this was already long and it would make much more sense for them to exist as two separate articles. So if you are planning a trip or just interested in Czech food, please look out for this one soon.
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Until next time. Stay smiling. Stay hungry. Stay safe. Happy travels and good eating!
Even though the Czech Republic is one thr most unhealthy countries in the world 🌎, the Food Explora in me will love to indulge and explore the food culture. Thanks for sharing a very interesting read.
I remember having good food in Prague. Great post. Dumplings are amazing!
we love exploring the food when on our travels. The Czech Republic is on our list and there’s some yummy things here to try, thank you.
Loved this article, especially the image I now have of vegetarians being whipped through the streets with rashers of bacon!! Not because I have anything against vegetarians or because I feel they should be whipped, just because it made me laugh out loud!
When we were in Ukraine we made the mistake of ordering starters and main. Turns out the starters were more like sharing platters! Sounds like maybe the same here?
Great blog post!
Another great post. Again, I really appreciate the humor you put in your writing. I can’t believe that people drink beer with as much foam as that third variety (mliko)! Those pours would not go over well at college parties in the USA.
I learned a lot reading this, I had no idea there was such a range of food and also the health issues encountered in the country. Thanks for the education!
Another great read! Love the fun facts like the mention of Sapa. I didn’t know that! Laughed out loud when reading about the Mliko and the old town ham scam.
Martin, this was very interesting to read. I didn’t know anything about, luckily I had a sneek peek on IG. Never tasted the Czech beer, but I disagree… Belgian beer stays the best! 🙂 I also loved the phrase where you lost 2 sherpas! Lovely! You are so colorful in writing! Vietnam in the Czech Republic, never heard of it. And if the neigbourhood is called Sapa, I would instantly take the plane! The piece about the 3 ways to serve beer, amazing! I wouldn’t go for the one with the most foam, but would laugh when my hubby would drink it… he has a moustache…
A very nice image of the food there. Love your stories! Continue to write, it’s always a little trip in my mind to read!
Great read, Martin! It doesn’t surprise me to hear about the health statistics – lots of my favourite dishes there are mouth-wateringly unhealthy!
So many little things made me smile as I read through. I spotted pork knuckle on the photo of the menu – this was probably my absolute favourite dish when I visited Prague! I’ve also *never* seen a pint with a head as huge as the Mliko!
Finally, thanks for calling out the ham scam. I was pretty appalled at the Christmas Markets in Prague by the “per 100g” prices – some people were getting charged 7 EU for a bowl of no more than 5 garlic mushrooms. Grim, especially when there are so many great places to eat in the city.
Thanks for sharing!