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Czech Food – 18 Traditional Dishes You Simply Must Try

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If you are visiting the Czech Republic and are keen to try some delicious Czech food, then you’ve come to the right place.

Whether you are a foodie that’s feeling adventurous, or you want to inject a little Czech flavor into your home cooking, our article is packed to the brim with exciting and flavorsome Czech dishes.

All-in-all, we’ve compiled a list of 18 traditional Czech dishes that you simply must try when you visit the Czech Republic.

Whether you’re a lover of succulent meats, rich sauces, or want to try something sweet, this list has a flavor for all types of food lovers.

Introduction to Czech Food

best czech food

The Czech Republic is well-known for its unique architecture and hearty beer, with the country boasting the highest per-capita consumption of the beverage in the world.

However, when it comes to food and drink, there’s so much more to this beautiful country than just a trinket of cold, refreshing beer.

The Czech Republic boasts a wide range of traditional foods with a diverse palette of flavors. And this shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, due to the sheer number of influences in Czech food.

Many neighboring Balkans countries have all lent a hand when it comes to food. This has created a unique and flavourful range of Czech dishes and cuisine.

Full of mouth-watering soups and rich sauces, meat lovers in particular will enjoy many of the delicious Czech foods on offer.

We’ve compiled a list of eighteen traditional Czech foods and dishes that you simply must try when you visit the country.

18 Delicious Czech Foods to Try

1 – Bread Knedliky

Bread Knedliky - Czech food

Knedliky is the country’s simplest food. These wholesome dumplings are ideal for soaking up all of the tasty juices and sauces that Czech cuisine has in abundance.

Bread knedliky can be sweet or savory. They are served as a side for almost every sauce-based dish.

Czechs say their number one rule is not to spread butter on knedliky, but instead use juices and sauces.

Traditionally, they are made with slightly stale bread. However, modern-day versions are commonly made from fresh ingredients.

Once the dough is mixed, it is rolled into a collection of smaller dumplings. These dumplings are steamed or boiled in water.

These bread dumplings are usually served as side dishes for svíčková, gulash, and various meat and vegetable dishes. They are great for soaking up those mouth-watering sauces.

They are never eaten dry. But if you like the taste and eat one dry dumpling in front of a Czech, expect them to eye you as if you’ve done something odd!

Knedliky has been Czech cuisine’s trusted side dish for centuries. No soups, stews, or sauces can be eaten without it.

2 – Svíčková Na Smetaně

Svíčková Na Smetaně - Czech food

Svíčková na smetaně is definitely not a simple dish to make. It requires around three hours of preparation to prepare and cook.

However, it is considered by many to be one of the country’s best sauce-based dishes. Svíčková na smetaně is a national Czech food, usually prepared for special occasions.

This classic dish consists of is a quality cut of beef, or beef sirloin, slowly roasted and served with vegetable puree.

To make the puree, the vegetables are cooked together with the meat. Once cooked, they are removed, and pureed together with the juices from the meat.

The roasted beef is covered in cream sauce and topped with cranberry sauce, whipped cream, and a slice of lemon. It is served with bread dumplings.

Svíčková na smetaně may be difficult to make, but it is definitely worth the wait. As Czech food goes, it is right up there as one of the stand-out dishes.

3 – Goulash

Goulash - Czech food

While originally a Hungarian dish, goulash has been adapted into Czech cuisine, and it is now a popular and flavorful dish typically prepared during winter.

Goulash is a rich, meaty stew. It consists of chunks of stewed beef in a thick meat sauce seasoned with paprika. It is commonly served dumplings or knedliky on the side.

Goulash can also be made with pork, or wild boar in the fall. It is usually served topped with shredded onion, and a few chili peppers for some extra heat.

The taste of goulash is similar to that of rich beef soup that is heavily marinaded. It is not overly spicy, but you will notice the tang of paprika and herbs.

Locals like to soak and mop up the sauce with the dumplings or knedliky.

4 – Kuřecí Kapsa

Kuřecí Kapsa - Czech food

Kuřecí kapsa is delicious Czech dish of stuffed chicken breasts. It has a heavy German influence, with a few Czech touches to make it a very unique and flavorsome dish.

The chicken breasts are thoroughly grilled with German ham and cheese. Mushroom and parsley are added to the cheesy filling.

This dish is a true firework of flavors. The texture of the grilled chicken with the flavored ham and creamy cheese inside is a delicious combination, making this a truly flavorful Czech food by anyone’s standards.

5 – Vepřo Knedlo Zelo

Vepřo Knedlo Zelo - Czech food

Vepřo knedlo zelo one of the Czech Republic’s national dishes. Vepřo knedlo zelo is a dish of roast pork and cabbage with hearty dumplings. The meat is roasted and served with an onion and caraway gravy.

Czech people typically use sauerkraut in the preparation of this meal, but red cabbage can also be used.

There are sour and sweet varieties of this dish, and the recipe can include other meats, including beef and chicken.

6 – Kulajda

Kulajda - Czech food

Kulajda is a beautiful cream soup of mushrooms and potatoes. The combination of mushrooms and sour cream help add both sweet and savory notes to the dish.

Kulajda soup also includes diced potatoes and a considerable amount of dill. A poached quail’s egg is added atop of the stew before serving.

It is often served with a drizzle of sunflower oil, which helps add to the richness of the dish.

Although you can eat this Czech dish as a starter, the soup is surprisingly filling. Hence, it more than acceptable to order it as a main meal.

7 – Zelňačka

Zelňačka - Czech food

Zelňačka is another delicious and traditional Czech sauerkraut soup you must try when visiting the Czech Republic.

The base of the soup is formed from a generous amount of sauerkraut. It also includes smoked sausage, potatoes, sour cream, and sometimes mushrooms.

It is often topped with a drizzle of green pumpkinseed oil, similar to the way kulajda is served.

Zelňačka has a soft, lush taste, similar to a chowder. It is a rich and warm Czech dish, and is enjoyed throughout the country.

8 – Bramboráky

Czech food: Bramboráky

Bramboráky are the traditional Czech potato pancakes. They are made from shredded potatoes, crushed garlic, milk, cumin, marjoram, some flour, eggs, salt, and pepper.

All ingredients are mixed well into a dough, including grated celery, cabbage, leeks, and diced onion.

Onc mixed, ladles of dough are poured into a pan and fried until crisp and golden brown on both sides. They are served immediately, and as a very popular street food at festivals and events.

Bramboráky pair beautifully with goulash. Many Czechs enjoy these delicious potato pancakes with a cold beer. They are Czech food loved by everyday people, that’s for sure.

9 – Tatarák

Tatarák - Czech food

This strange but delicious Czech food is a dish of raw minced beef mixed with diced onion, egg yolk, paprika, pepper, salt, mustard, diced cucumber, and tomato sauce. The dish can be made with either beef or pork.

You can find it served pre-mixed, or its ingredients placed separately around the plate so you can mix your own tatarák to taste. It is served with fried toast and garlic.

How do you eat it you ask? You grate the garlic against the toast and spread the meat on top of it. Tatarák pairs well with a glass of cold beer.

Since the dish includes raw meat, it is best to choose only trusted restaurants to eliminate the risk of bacterial contamination.

10 – Pečená Kachna se Zelím

Pečená Kachna se Zelím - Czech food

This hearty Czech food is a dish of roasted duck with red cabbage and dumplings or with sauerkraut.

The ingredients combine to form a dish that’s got a little of everything when it comes to flavor. There is saltiness, richness, tanginess, and sweetness in every bite.

Roasted duck or roasted goose is very popular in the Czech Republic. These cooked birds are eaten regularly by families at the dinner table, but also served on special occasions such as New Year’s Eve.

11 – Vepřové Koleno

Vepřové Koleno - Czech food

Pork knee is the key ingredient of Vepřové koleno. Czech cooks even leave the bone in the meat, once it has been plated.

The meat is very tender. It is marinated in dark beer to enhance the flavor, and eaten off the bone.

This succulent Czech meat dish is served with bread, pickles, horseradish, or spinach and potato dumplings. It is a Czech food that meat-eaters will thoroughly enjoy.

12 – Smažený Vepřový Řízek

Smažený Vepřový Řízek - Czech food

Smažený vepřový rízek is a hearty Czech dish. It is essentially the Czech version of a pork schnitzel.

To make Smažený vepřový rízek, cuts of pork are pounded until thin and even. They are then coated in breadcrumbs, flour, and eggs.

Each cut of breaded pork is lastly fried in vegetable oil or pork fat, until golden, with a crunchy exterior.

This flavorsome Czech dish is served with lemon, fresh parsley, boiled or mashed potatoes, or potato salad.

Some versions of Smažený vepřový rízek include marinating the pork slices in lemon juice for around half an hour before being coated in breadcrumbs.

If you’re not a lover of pork, you can also try the chicken version of this dish, smažený kuřecí rízek.

13 – Česnečka

Česnečka - Czech food

Česnečka is one of the oldest soups served in the Czech Republic. It is a garlic-base soup topped with raw egg, which is added at the end of the cooking process.

Because it is added at the end, the egg actually cooks courtesy of the heat of the soup.

Sometimes Czechs add small pieces of pork, sausage, or cheese to the dish. It is usually served with crunchy croutons, both in the broth and on the side.

Česnečka is also known as a hangover soup, and you’ll be surprised how effective it is. And regardless of how their head is in the morning, this is a Czech food loved by millions across the country.

14 – Rajská Omáčka

Rajská Omáčka - Czech food

Rajská omáčka is a traditional Czech tomato sauce, usually served with beef. The sauce is delicious and creamy, and made with pureed tomatoes.

The tomatoes are boiled until the sauce reaches the right creamy consistency. The tart taste of tomatoes is enhanced with different flavors like allspice, peppercorns, bay leaves, and sugar.

In the summer, Slovakians cook a version of this dish includes fresh thyme and basil.

If served with beef, the beef is first roasted and sliced. Once plated, it is doused in creamy tomato sauce and served with bread dumplings.

You can also try rajská omáčka with stuffed peppers, roasted meats, meatballs, pasta, and other Czech food.

15 – Moravský Vrabec

Moravský Vrabec - Czech food

Moravský vrabec is a popular Czech dish, meaning ‘Moravian sparrow’ in English.

Originating from the Moravian region of Slovakia, this wholesome dish consists of pork, sauerkraut, and dumplings.

The meat is taken from a cut with a higher fat content, such as the shoulder, and cut into small chunks. The pork chunks are marinated and roasted.

When it comes to the other two main ingredients, they can vary in type. Some chefs and cooks prefer using bread dumplings and red cabbage, while others prefer potato dumplings and white cabbage.

Moravian Sparrow is a rich and filling dish, so don’t plan an active afternoon if you have it for lunch.

16 – Ovocné Knedlíky

Czech food: Ovocné Knedlíky

One of the most traditional Czech desserts goes by the name of ovocné knedlíky. In English, this name translates to boiled fruit dumplings in English.

These dumplings are made with either potato or leavened dough, or a mixture of fresh quark cheese and wheat flour.

They are filled with fruit, usually plum or strawberry, and served hot with butter or, occasionally, with curd cheese.

Sometimes you can find them with cinnamon and sugar, or a vanilla cream sauce. The filling might also include blueberries or lightly sweetened apricots.

Ovocné knedlíky dumplings are cooked in boiling water. They are a dainty and delicious little Czech treat, particularly if you like fruity desserts.

17 – Koláče

Koláče - Czech food

Koláče is a colorful pastry, and a common sight in Slovak bakeries. This rich dessert consists of a portion of fruit, such as prunes or apricots, encased in a ring of puffy, sweet dough.

These cookies are eaten as an everyday comfort food. They are also served during the holidays and at church suppers. Traditional spices used in the recipe include nutmeg and mace.

The cookies can be filled or decorated with a combination of cream cheese, apricot, prune, poppy seed filling, or various fruit jams.

This Czech dessert can be enclosed or open-face. Every family has its own recipe of koláče, that is passed down from generation to generation.

18 – Trdelník

Trdelník - Czech food

Our final Czech food takes us to a popular dessert that’s enjoyed across the country.

Trdelník is a grilled or baked dough pastry. It is made by wrapping the dough around a metal or wooden stick.

The dough is then dusted with sugar, and topped with nuts and cinnamon. Once the dough is wrapped around the stick, it’s roasted over an open flame.

The name comes from the word trdlo, which translates to ‘wooden stool’, referencing the shape of the dessert.

Modern versions of trdelnik with Nutella or ice cream are offered by some vendors in Prague. It’s the perfect warm Czech food for the cold winter days.

It is a truly delicious Slovakian dessert. You won’t struggle to find it at food markets and sold by street vendors.

Try this deliciously crispy and fun dessert while exploring the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic, Prague.

Czech Food Summary

That’s a wrap! We reached the end of our wondrous tour of Czech food and dishes you simply must try.

Alive with color and rich in flavor, there are some truly mouth-watering dishes on this list of foods. Typical Czech food covers a broad range of flavors and combinations to satisfy both keen and casual foodies.

When you visit the Czech Republic, be sure to have this list handy so that you can request Czech food at local vendors and traditional Czech restaurants across the country.

One final time, here’s the full list of Czech foods we covered in this article:

1 – Bread Knedliky
2 – Svíčková Na Smetaně
3 – Goulash
4 – Kuřecí Kapsa
5 – Vepřo Knedlo Zelo
6 – Kulajda
7 – Zelňačka
8 – Bramboráky
9 – Tatarák
10 – Pečená Kachna se Zelím
11 – Vepřové Koleno
12 – Smažený Vepřový Řízek
13 – Česnečka
14 – Rajská Omáčka
15 – Moravský Vrabec
16 – Ovocné Knedlíky
17 – Koláče
18 – Trdelník

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Friday 24th of March 2023

Too bad the actual recipes aren't included

Ray Markham

Tuesday 7th of February 2023

How can I get the recipe for Kolace


Wednesday 18th of January 2023

very informative had a British and polish review

Frank McGee

Sunday 4th of December 2022

Reading these Czech recipes bring back memories of my Mom and Grandmother they could really set a table with real Czech dishes! Thanks for stirring those memories for me!