Czech Food

Pass the dumplings

October 2, 2009
duck, cabbage & dumplings on a plate


Learning to appreciate traditional Czech food

When I arrived in Prague after living in San Francisco, I was dismayed to find vegetarian options limited. The exotic fruits and vegetables that I’d taken for granted at California’s markets were non-existent or else exorbitantly priced, particularly over the winter. Instead, the typical Czech hospoda (pub) offered hearty meat and potato dishes. For the most part, I found the vegetarian Czech cuisine tasty and novel, if a bit greasy. I particularly liked sides like bramboračky (fried potato pancakes) and croquetty (fried potato balls), as well as less-greasy salads and soups. After a few filling meals of řízek (fried breaded pork filet) and svičkova (roast beef with gravy), though, my body was yearning for something lighter and greener. Eating every meal in a restaurant grew old fast, and I soon realized that if I planned on staying here for any length of time, I needed to wrap my head around food shopping and food preparation abroad.

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