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Dining out

USEFUL DINING PHRASES:
  • • would like a table for … people.
    Prosím, stůl pro … osob.
  • • Waiter/waitress!
    Prosím Vás!
  • • May I have the bill, please?
    Zaplatím, prosím.
  • • Could I have it well-cooked /medium/rare/, please?
    Může to být hodně /středně/jen lehce/ propečené, prosím?
  • • I am a vegetarian. Does this contain meat?
    Jsem vegetarián. Není v tom maso?
  • • Where is the toilet (restroom) please?
    Kde je záchod, prosím?
  • • I would like a cup of /two cups of/ coffee (tea).
    Prosím šálek /dva šálky/ kávy (čaje).

BEST BITES:
Czech food is tasty and hearty, and not for dieters. The following items are most commonly found on a Czech restaurant menu, and are definitely worth a taste. Most of the Prague restaurants have an English menu, or the waiters speak English. Just ask, “Anglický prosím?” (English, please?) and see what happens. If you choose to eat in a pub rather than a tourist restaurant, you’ll be hard-pressed to spend more than 15 Euro for your soup, main and drink.

Bramboračka - potato soup
Hemenex - ham and eggs
Omeleta - omelette
Svíčková na smetaně - cut of beef in an orange vegetable cream sauce with dumplings, usually garnished with a dollop of whipped cream and cranberry sauce
Kapr - Carp, from local fish-ponds, served “smažený” (fried)or “přírodní” (natural)
Guláš - Goulash, served with bread dumplings
Smažený sýr - Breaded and fried cheese
Vepřová, knedlíky a zelí - (traditional roast pork with dumplings and sauerkraut)
ovocné knedlíky - (fruit-filled dumplings with cream or special sweet cheese)
jablečný závin - (apple strudel)

TIPPING:
The expected tip for good service is between 5 and 10 per cent, but if you think service was bad or unfriendly, you can forget the tip.

FAST FOOD:
You can find “rychlé občerstvení” (fast-food windows) on just about any street corner in Prague. Try a “párek v rohlíku” (hot dog with ketchup and/or mustard) or a “langoš” (fried dough with garlic, cheese or cinnamon sugar on top).

CZECH BEER:
Pivo (beer) is the secret to a happy life. Czechs must be a very happy people; as they are the world leaders in per capita beer consumption at 320 half-litres a year per capita. The first written record of Bohemian beer production goes back to 1088, but the history of brewing beer is much older.
Served cool by the half-litre with a thick, frothy head, it must be cool, not cold. A proper pilsner takes seven minutes to pour. To feel at home in Prague, you need to learn just one simple phrase: “Jěstě jedno pivo prosím” (One more beer, please).
• you most often come across draught beer which is popularly called “desítka” (ten) – it contains up to 4 % alcohol and also “lager” type beer called “dvanáctka” (twelve) which contains approximately 5.5 % alcohol. Occasionally, you will find special beers with higher alcohol content.
• most produced beers are light and clear and range from the bitter pilsner type to the light and slightly sweet bavarian type. The range is supplemented by dark beer; light and dark beer mixed together in the glass is called cut beer – popularly known as “řezaný”.

A small snack with your beer?
“Utopenec” (Drowned man) – so-called because it consists of soft, strong, spicy sausage filled with onion and spicy paprika, seasoned with pepper and covered or “drowned“ in a liquid made from water, vinegar and salt. After several days in cold storage, the smoked meat becomes a spicy delicacy.
Pivní sýr - a little cream is added to dairy cheese and it is whipped up into a froth into which a small amount of fresh garlic is pressed.
Topinka - This is a piece of dark bread fried in salt, garlic and lard or oil. It is traditionally served with scrambled eggs, grated cheese, meat mixture, or spicy cheese spread.
Pickled Hermelin - Hermelin is a camembert-type cheese. This one has been marinated in oil with onion, garlic, hot peppers and spices.
Salty pastries - various types of salty pastries are also usually available in our country to accompany beer. Pretzels are particularly popular.

SELECTED RECIPES:

GOULASH:

You will need to prepare the following to feed four sturdy lads:

Pork (shoulder) 500 g
Pork liver 250 g
Pork kidneys 200 g
Onion 400 g
Pork lard 100 g
Minced sweet pepper 20 g
Salt 20 g
Garlic 50 g
Smooth flour 80 g
Marjoram, caraway, ground black pepper, Pork stock

Procedure:
  • • Cut the pork into smaller pieces, add salt, pepper and garlic, mix thoroughly and leave it to stand in its juices overnight.
  • • Sauté the evenly chopped onion in the lard. When it starts to change colour add cubes of home-made bacon. As soon as the onion browns, sprinkle it with sweet pepper and after briefly simmering it pour in the stock. Add the marinated meat, cumin and simmer with the lid on.
  • • When the meat is semi-soft add the small chopped pieces of cleaned kidneys and liver. Simmer everything and afterwards slightly thicken the mixture with béchamel (see below). It is also traditional to thicken the mixture with breadcrumbs.
  • • Finally flavour everything with ground dried marjoram or pepper. It is often the case at pigkillings that the boiled heart, tongue, spleen and the like are put into the goulash.

  • Béchamel – also referred to in Czech cuisine as “zásmažka“ – is smooth flour combined under heat with fat or oil. It is either prepared in a light colour or in various darker shades, according to the duration of the frying of the flour in fat and with regard to the dish which is to be thickened with the béchamel.

Varieties of goulash in Bohemia :
  • • the most usual form is beef gulash made from shins
  • • goulash with peppers and tomatoes and beans is popular
  • • Znojmo goulash is made with sweet and sour pickled cucumbers
  • • pieces of various smoked meats are very often put into gulash
  • • during the mushroom-picking season, try goulash with freshly steamed mushrooms
  • • a traditional dish is potato goulash, prepared with onions, smoked meat and boiled potatoes – naturally combined with pepper sauce – and in some cases, further refined with cream

SIRLOIN OF BEEF IN CREAM SAUCE:

  • • is served with bread dumplings. It is an excellent dish based on larded beef which is baked or braised with a vegetable base. Afterwards this base is used in the preparation of a thicker cream sauce which is sweetened to taste. Sirloin of beef in cream sauce is decorated on the plate with a spoonful of cranberry sauce and a slice of lemon.

ROAST PORK WITH STEWED SAUERKRAUT AND DUMPLINGS:

  • • a very popular dish colloquially known as pork-dumpling-cabbage (“vepřo-knedlo-zelo”). Naturally roasted pork with salt, caraway and garlic served with potato or bread dumplings and stewed sauerkraut or sweet cabbage and fried onion. It has a sweet and sour taste.

Recipe for stewed sauerkraut and dumplings:
bread dumplings for ten people
wholemeal flour 900 g
milk 400 ml
diced stale rolls 250 g
yeast 50 g
eggs 5 kusů
salt and a little sugar

  • • Put two pinches of sugar into tepid milk, salt, yeast and a third of the flour. Mix everything well and let it rise.
  • • After the yeast has risen add the eggs and the remaining flour and mix everything into a smooth non-sticky dough. Slightly coat the rolls – finally work the balls into the dough, cover and let rise. Afterwards mix the dough again, cut it into equal parts and roll out oblong dumplings.
  • • After leavening, boil them in salted water for 15–20 minutes. Turn them over several times while boiling. After removing the boiled dumplings from the water, it is necessary to prick them with a fork or skewer so that the boiling dough can exhale the bitterness and won´t go hard.
  • • You cut regular round slices from the roll with a knife or thread.

These light bread dumplings are the perfect accompaniment to sauces and gravies that go with meat in Bohemia.

STEWED SAUERKRAUT – 10 portions ::

White sauerkraut 1500 g
onion 200 g
rendered lard or fat 100 g
smooth flour 50 g
granular sugar 50 g
salt, cumin, water

  • • Cut the sauerkraut into short pieces, add boiling water, add a little cumin and put it on to boil. Stir occasionally.
  • • Fry the finely chopped onion in lard, fat or oil. When it starts to brown, sprinkle it with flour, let it stand for a short while and afterwards take it off the heat.
  • • Add sugar to the half-stewed cabbage and mix it well with the onion mixture and simmer while constantly stirring until it is completely stewed.
  • • Salt according to taste or make it more sour or sweet.

CZECH BUNS:

on a tray in the oven

smooth flour 800 g
wholemeal flour 400 g
eggs 3 ks
milk 500 g
yeast 40 g
sugar200 g
vanilla sugar25 g
butter or fat 200 g
oil 150 g
salt 20 g
poppyseed, cottage cheese and jam filling of around 800 g
lemon peel from a single lemon

  • • Slightly heat the milk and mix the sugar, yeast, wholemeal flour and salt into it. Sprinkle on the smooth flour and leave it to rise in a covered casserole dish.
  • • Sprinkle sieved flour onto the leavened dough, add the eggs, lemon peel, vanilla sugar and the melted butter. Mix everything carefully and knead it into the smooth non-sticky dough. Then leave it to rise in a warm place.
  • • Mix the risen dough – stiffen it and spread it out on a pastry board with a rolling pin. At the same time, sprinkle flour on the dough. Then cut it into approx. 4 x 4 centimetre squares, put the filling in the middle of them and then seal them well and place them on the oiled tray and oil the individual scones where they touch the other ones.
  • • After rising bake them in the oven at medium temperature until golden.
  • • Remove cooled scones from the tray and sprinkle them with castor sugar.