Indeed in every hospoda (local pub, restaurant), you’ll almost never get pre-cooked meal that were just warmed up – it’s almost always home made dishes. And when trying local food (which in fact is often considered local to Central Europe and not only Czech Republic) you’ll have the opportunity to try some classics.
A soup as a starter, a Czech tradition
As a starter, you’ll notice that Czech people very often have a soup, even in hot summer months. Lunch menus which are offered in local restaurants and often called “poledni menu” are traditionally menus including a main dish and a soup. The variety of soups is endless : chicken/ beef consommé with noodles, mushroom cream soup, spinash cream soup or gulášova (soup derived from the famous guláš) are amongst the most common ones.
Don’t miss the Plzeňský guláš!
As a main dish, make sure you get to try a real classic : a beer guláš (with Pilsner beer in that particular case). You may argue that guláš is originally Hungarian, but as mentionned earlier on, we may consider that this dish is local to the whole region. This dish may sometimes be served with bits of spicy red pepper, so make sure you tell the waiter if you’re not a fan of spicy food! If you had to compare this dish to another renowned international dish, it would be to a « bœuf bourguignon » in France or an Irish stew in Ireland.
In typical Czech restaurants you’ll also have the opportunity to try the chicken or pork schnitzels, called Smažený kuřecí řízek for chicken and Smažené vepřové řízek for pork, which are very similar to the famous Wiener Schnitzel. Still, if you want to try something typical from Czech Republic and that you rarely find in other countries of the region, have a try at the Smažený sýr (fried cheese) or commonly called smažák which is often served with potatoes. It’s generally made of eidam cheese (similar to a French camembert) or blue cheese.
As far as street food is concerned, the klobása (Czech sausage) is a real classic. It is usually served on a small paper plate, a piece of local bread (Šumava) and local mustard. You may also try smoked ham which is pretty common in the country.
Czech Republic may not have a lot of internationally renowned desserts, but amongst the classics, you may still want to try the medovnik which is a cake made with honey – dessert which is also popular in Russia and former soviet republics. You may also want to try the trdelník, a pastry made of flour which is rolled and generally covered with sugar and nuts. In touristic districts, you’ll find a lot of small shops selling these trdelník and for instance on Malostranské náměstí square or on the old town square you’ll find several ones.