Jan 04 2008

Czech, Please! (don’t worry, more puns coming)

Published by at 9:27 pm under Prague

Most people travel the world to see the ancient buildings and natural wonders that the many nations have to offer. And I say: Good for them! But we travel the world to eat the food. There was a point in time when we could have denied such a vicious accusation, but that fleeting moment has long passed. Our names are Ben and Brittany, and we strike museums from our travel itinerary in order to make room in our budget for the appetizers, drinks, and sweets of the world. There it is, the first step toward a recovery that I will always resist.

Prague has skyrocketed to the top of my “favorite cities” list because it knows that the path to my heart goes through my stomach. Or, alternatively, my wallet. And when the Czech Republic’s delay in adopting the euro means that beer is cheaper than water, Prague is the belle of the ball. By way of tasty lineup, allow me to present the culinary distractions of Prague that thoroughly shielded me from absorbing any unnecessary culture.

Trdelnik in PragueWhat: Trdelnik
Where: Multiple competing booths in any Prague Christmas market
Huh?: Do not allow its abundance of consonants intimidate you into avoiding this cinnamon-sugar ring of fried dough. This is exactly what the International League of Purveyors of Easily Pronounce-able Desserts (ILPEPD) is deviously banking on, as they continue to peddle over-priced, low-quality snacks with 3 letter names. Eat a trdelnik, and viva la resistance! Just make sure you keep your napkin from becoming baked on to the hot, sticky exterior, lest your girlfriend make you eat the papery section while she enjoys trdelnik sans napkin.

Dumplings + Kraut + Gravy = Yaarg!!What: Dumplings and Sauerkraut
Where: Authentic Czech restaurants. Which means anywhere except Prague’s tourist-packed city center.
Huh?: For the equivalent of a couple US dollars, you can get a heaping plate of pork-filled potato dumplings and kraut, topped with thick gravy and a half-liter of beer. Yaarg! (read: manly Viking/Pirate roar of delight). Maybe girls have trouble with the Viking/Pirate roar, because Brittany’s version in these restaurants tends to sound more like a resigned groan. Bonus Insta-Authenticity Litmus Test: Does the restaurant staff speak English? If yes, try again.

Dough + Ketchup + Garlic + Cheese!What: Word can not be pronounced due to lack of vowels. Emit a low gutteral grunt in order to receive one from nearest Czech.
Where: Right next to trdelnik booths
Huh?: It’s basically fried dough again (hooray for Prague!) but with a Hungarian twist. The fried dough is flat, and covered in garlic butter, ketchup, and shredded cheese. A satisfying lunch, but only for the bold. Also, only for those who didn’t already have one yesterday. Trust me on this one, because it can get ugly.

What: Lo Mein. Yes, you read that right.
Where: Prague traditional town market
Huh?: Yeah… Before we ever made it to the town market, multiple locals told us about this authentic dish we simply HAD to try. They called it fried noodles, so we were instantly sold. When we found the recommended stall in the market, we knew exactly what to order. And when it arrived? Lo mein. Don’t get me wrong, I love lo mein as much as the next guy, but I think the Czechs are in for a rude awakening if they ever visit a shopping mall in the U.S., and find out what is being served at 3/5 of the restaurants in the food court. I, for one, didn’t have the heart to break it to them.

Look at that half-liter glass!What: Beer!
Where: In the bar, in the supermarket, in your heart
Huh?: The Czech Republic is home to some fantastic beers, which must be why no one drinks less than half a liter at a time. A 12 oz (33 cL) bottle is a rare sighting in Prague, and is generally associated with toddlers being weaned off the baby formula. In bars, I drank a lot of Kozel at 17 Czech crowns per half liter. (25 crowns = 1 USD). Pilsner Urquell is more like 25 crowns, and the cheapest water I ever found in a bar was 27 crowns. Out of habit, we asked for water with our first meal in Prague, a mistake that was not repeated. Looking back, the bottle of water is the fail-safe identifier of the Czech Republic rookie.

What: Medovnik
Where: Sweet shops in residential neighborhoods
Huh?: It looks like cake, tastes like Golden Grahams, and maybe best of all, can be pronounced by the Capitalist tongue. They’re also dirt cheap, which explains why old ladies don’t feel bad about shoving three of them in their mouths at once. We smuggled some of these onto the bus at the end of our Prague diversion, but short-sightedly polished them off before the bus could leave the station. Old Czech ladies everywhere would be proud.

Next time: Czech out the continuing journey of food at Christmas Eve dinner! (can’t say I didn’t warn you…)

NEXT: Christmas in Prague »



5 responses so far

5 Responses to “Czech, Please! (don’t worry, more puns coming)”

  1. Jodieon 05 Jan 2008 at 1:36 am

    I’d like to know how you two stay so thin!! I think you’ve found your new home. I’m adding it to my travel list.

    I have a suggestion – In your spare time (ha), I think you should devise a rating scale for every town you’ve visited – rating such things as food, things to do, friendliness, value, quality of beer/wine, weather, etc. You may have found a new career.

    Oh, and, your attentive readers are waiting patiently to hear about the Barcelona incident. Was there jail time???


  2. Abbyon 06 Jan 2008 at 12:32 pm

    Brittany, I’m wearing your denim skirt today. Please don’t hate me but it looks much better with my outfit than my gray one does! I miss you both sooooo much!

    love, me

  3. Jazlynon 12 Jan 2012 at 12:23 pm

    It’s great to read something that’s both enjoyable and provides pargmtadisc solutions.

  4. szbokrdyjon 15 Jan 2012 at 8:44 am

    HwyFDR hdfhmeqyvrvg

  5. party collar mardion 13 Oct 2014 at 8:24 am

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