What do you think of when you think Prague? Unfortunately, most people can't even tell me what country it's in (the Czech Republic, in case you were wondering).
What do I think about when I think Prague? The Charles Bridge, post-communism, art, and most importantly, the food. Since settling down here for study abroad about a month and a half ago, I have tried so many new and unique things that I really could not get in other parts of the world.
So if you're ever in Prague, make sure you try at least one of these bad boys; you won't regret it.
1. Trdelnik ("Tree-dell-nik")
You may have seen this about a year ago, when the "doughnut ice cream cones" from Europe became an Instagram trend. Well, these doughnuts are actually fresh, toasted dough rolled in cinnamon sugar and coated with your favorite filling on the inside.
My favorite? Caramel. And just as an insider's tip, don't go for the ice cream filled ones. This requires the trdlnik to harden and cool, and it isn't nearly as good. Try to get one outside of Old Town Square, or even outside of the city, because they tend to be the best.
2. Guláš ("Goo-lash")
Guláš is one of the most traditional dishes in the Czech Republic. It is one of my favorites as well, and the first thing I tried when landing in Prague.
There are two ways to eat this meal: larger pieces of meat in a thick, spiced sauce topped with onions and served with bread dumplings, or in the form of a soup. Both are absolutely excellent.
3. Burčák ("Boor-chack")
Burčák has become my new favorite drink since coming to Prague. It is a "baby" wine as I like to call it—wine that has just begun to ferment and only has about 5% alcohol volume.
It is cheap and delicious, and originates from the wine region of the Czech Republic, Moravia. If you hate the taste of alcohol - or like the taste of grape juice—definitely try this drink. The only downside? The good stuff is only sold in the fall, at the end of the harvest.
4. Fried Cheese
This dish is delicious, and pretty much the only typical Czech food that is also vegetarian. It's basically one big mozzie stick, despite the fact that it is made with Edam, not Mozzerella, because it's cheaper. The cheese is breaded, fried, and served with french fries.
The dumplings that you can find in the Czech Republic are unlike anything I have eaten, ever. Most are made from bread, and sometimes you can find bacon in them as well. They are soft and never get soggy, making them the perfect addition to any dish (it helps that they usually come on the side anyways). They are best paired with a fat plate of guláš so that they soak up all of the sauce.
6. Vietnamese Food
Seriously, you need to try it. Any of it. All of it.
Surprisingly, Vietnamese food is huge here in Prague. A majority of Vietnamese citizens came during the communist regime, in which they were given jobs in textile factories. Not only have they become the third largest minority in the country, but they have introduced some of the best cuisine I have ever had in my life. Seriously, you need to try it. Any of it. All of it.
I know what you're thinking: "Really Dani? Toast?" Yeah, toast. Don't hate. Toast here means something a little different than back home in the States. A toasty, as some places call them, is basically a toasted sandwich with fillings ranging from jams, to cheeses, to meats, to a combination of a lot of things. My favorite? Toast with raclette and chorizo from the U Sýráku market stand at various farmers markets throughout the city cannot be beat.
A toasty, as some places call them, is basically a toasted sandwich with fillings ranging from jams, to cheeses, to meats, to a combination of a lot of things. My favorite? Toast with raclette and chorizo from the U Sýráku market stand at various farmers markets throughout the city cannot be beat.
Ah, Pilsner. Only the best beer I have ever had in my life (which maybe isn't saying much considering indulging for me is anything better than a Natty Ice, but still.) This beer is actually a Czech beer, brewed originally in the town of Plzeň. Fun fact, almost all of the beer produced in the world was derived from Pilsner. Another fun fact, it's pretty much cheaper than water here. It made buying a $12 beer at Oktoberfest that much more painful.
Fun fact, almost all of the beer produced in the world was derived from Pilsner. Another fun fact, it's pretty much cheaper than water here. It made buying a $12 beer at Oktoberfest that much more painful.
Forget pizza, chips, McDonalds, or any of your usual late night eats. This is the only drunk food acceptable in Prague (along with KFC). It's cheap, it's delicious, it's filling, and it won't leave you feeling sick to your stomach after. You can find it pretty much on every street corner after a night out. Karlovy, the five story club, even has a stand built in right next to their exit.
10. "Iced" Coffee
If you walk into a coffee shop here and ask for an iced coffee expecting your usual cold brew with two pumps of caramel and soy, you are sadly mistaken. An iced coffee here is actually vanilla ice cream with espresso shots, an "espresso float" if you will.
11. Svíčková ("Svitch-ko-vah")
Along with guláš, this is another traditional Czech dish. It is sirloin in a sauce with cranberries, served with dumplings and whipped cream on top. It is definitely interesting, but a must try for anyone who appreciates a little bit of sweetness in a dish.
There are plenty of reasons to visit Prague. I have fallen in love with the architecture, the history, and the people since being here. But to really experience all that it has to offer, you need to experience the cuisine that dates back centuries. Do it for the trdelnik.