Food and I have always had a special connection. Me, being a writer, have always been fascinated with the origins of food yes, but also been acutely sensitive towards the emotion a good and tasty meal can invoke in a person. Food has always been a subject of deep interest to me, and the one rule I always live by is : Always judge a country by it’s food and beer. During my stay in Prague, I discovered many a hidden culinary treasures that this beautiful city has to offer. From traditional delicacies to world cuisine with a local twist, this Eastern European city will not disappoint you. Read on to discover the amazing food and beer that Czech Republic has to offer.
To move around in Prague.
Before you start going around town and vaporizing the food, it’s important to know how to move around the city. The first thing you need to do is to get yourselves a 12 hour ticket. One ticket costs 110 CZK (Czech Krona) which would translate to around 4.29 Euros. Completely worth it. With this ticket, you can use any mode of transport the City of Prague has to offer for 12 hours from when it’s been validated on the first mean of transport you use.
Getting your hands on this ticket is also not that difficult. They are available at every Tobacco shop, (of which there isn’t any shortage in Prague) and they are available at every underground station across Prague. If you are travelling with a child under the age of 15, you can even purchase a discounted ticket for half price.
Away from the main city, i.e. Prague 1 and Old Town, it can get a bit difficult to get your hands on the tickets. Also, if it’s late at night, most tobacco shops will be closed, so there’s a better, quicker and more Eco friendly option. Just text DTP110 to 90206 from your number and you’ll get a ticket on text that’s valid for 12 hours. The amount will be added to your phone bill. You can text DTP24 to the same number for a 30 minute ticket as well.
Also, the connectivity in the city is excellent. You get free wi-fi at most tram stop and google maps in pretty reliable. Getting around in Prague is pretty simple if you take the public transport. The city is well connected.
Food in Prague
Okay, so we ate quite a bit of food on our last day in the Czech Republic. I will spare you the details of how we paced ourselves because we did it completely wrong and ended up with bad tummies. But, the food we ate brings water to my mouth thinking about it even now.
Breakfast like the English.
This one time I was on a date with this German girl who was studying to be a lawyer. We took a walk around one of Prague’s most beautiful gardens and talked to hours. Then in all seriousness she asked me what my priorities in life were. Without hesitation, or even the intent to make a joke, I told her, “breakfast, lunch, literature, beer and then dinner.”
Unfortunately, the people of Czech Republic do not share my sentiment about breakfast. Coming from India, I know that in my country, breakfast is nothing but enthusiastic. Entire books have been written on breakfast and shows created around breakfast in India. In Prague however, the best breakfast you can hope for is English Breakfast. That’s more traditional than any other local breakfast. My personal recommendation would be the Lumberjack at Globe. Its a small little restaurant on Pstrossova in Prague 1.
A very Goulashy Lunch.
Yes, now lunch is closer to a celebration in Prague. Traditional food would include Goulash. Now Goulash, this beauty is beef curry, made of tomato and spice, very close to Indian curry that is served with bread dumplings or fried potato dumplings. I have been a fan of Goulash for a very long time. Goulash is originally Hungarian, but the Czechs have embraced it as their own. A variation of this dish has can be found across Czech Republic, Austria and Hungary, but that deserves an article to itself.
Goulash it available pretty much everywhere. It’s a very local dish, so many people would recommend local places that are cheap to try this dish, but I would recommend Kyvadlo on V Jame road. This isn’t exactly local, but rather on the touristy side, which makes the Goulash at this restaurant amazing. Czech locals hate eating goulash, it’s their staple. The chefs at Kyvadlo turn this staple dish into something magical with tender meat and fried potato patties with cheese, it’s just wonderful. It’s a must try.
Also, if you’re feeling a bit adventurous and feel like eating on the heavy side, try out the Goulash soup. On paper, the only difference is that, the meat is minced in a Goulash soup and it is served in bread. Yes, that’s right, it’s served IN bread. A circular bread that has been hollowed out acts as the soup bowl that is meant to be eaten with the Goulash soup, but it is very rare to see even a local finish an entire soup on their own.
16 hours to prepare this delicacy. 30 minutes to eat it.
There is only one dish that I would recommend for dinner. It’s a biggie. It’s a local delicacy. It takes 16 hours to cook and it just cannot be eaten by one person alone. Yes, I’m taking about the Pork Knee. It’s marinated for 12 hours in citric acids that already begin to cook the meat. Then it is slow roasted over an open flame for another 4 hours, making the meat tender, juicy and just flavorsome. This would be my top pick for dinner at Prague, and of all the places to eat, I would recommend U Zpevacku. During spring time, you can sit outside and enjoy this delicacy with one liter of dark Kozel beer on tap. It’s definitely a must try in Prague.
Another popular options, which is also a Czech Delicacy and even preferred by the locals is fried cheese. Almost every restaurant will serve it to you. Just ask for friend cheese. Although, if you’re an ardent fan of hogging food like I am, I would recommend you give it a miss. There isn’t a lot going on in terms of flavor, but it is rich in texture.
Must try beers in Prague
Popular opinion across the world is that German and Belgian beers are some of the best across the globe. I would argue that the Czech provide a stiff competition to that, to such a level that a lot of Czechs believe that their beers are the best in the world. What’s exciting is that they have a host of beers to pick from. They have Stropramen, Kozel, Pilsner and many more. I would highly recommend Kozel Cerny. It’s a dark full bodied beer. Yes, it does have a slight sweetish, caramel lingering taste to it. Best part, it costs 11 CZK.
Another pro-tip : avoid buying booze at mini marts. There will be tonnes of them across Prague, but they’re always just stupidly expensive. However, past 10PM, they will be the only option to buy other than bars, so stalk up. You can try Potravinis too, but they too are more expensive than Billa or Tesco.
Okay, so apart from bottles, there are a host of bars you can hit to get some great beer. If again, you’re feeling adventurous, you can try the World’s strongest beer. It’s called Xbeer33. You can find it at U Medvidku. It doesn’t really taste alcoholic, but something like a mixture of jaggery and water. For those of you who don’t know what jaggery is, it’s a derivative of cane sugar, it’s sweet like caramel and brown and like a block of wax.
Also, this micro brewery, (or minipivovar as the Czechs call it) was established in the year 1466. It’s the exact same recipe of beer that has been followed since. It’s like taking a sip of history itself.
There are many fun bars around town, but one is as special as you want it to be.
I spent my time hanging out at Popo cafe, bar No. 7 or The Mill, because each of them meant something different to me. The beer was the same but memories were different. Make your own memories there and explore. Try some of the Bar at Zizkov, like Bukowski bar or Beer Geek. They’re all special in their own way.
What I would like to leave you with is, a challenge to find and drink at all bars they serve unfiltered beer in Prague. There are exactly 4 places that do so. I haven’t been able to find them all. I have found one and it’s at one of the places I mention in this article. Do find out all the places and let me know. I’d love to know where and how I missed out on them.