Prague 2011 - Food

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Food in the Czech Republic consists primarily of meat and starches. I lumped it together with German food (meat and potatoes) and figured I'd be eating at "foreign" restaurants a lot. To my surprise, I mostly liked it and ended up eating Czech for the majority of my week in Prague.

Perhaps the most memorable incident happened at the Lokal, a very large beer hall. Next to me was a table with two women and a man, all of whom ordered the same meal. They picked up their pieces of fried bread (I thought at first it was a toasted dark bread, but learned better later) and rubbed their raw garlic cloves all over them. Then they smeared them with what appeared to be raw hamburger. As it turns out, steak tartare is very popular in the Czech Republic so I'm assuming that's what it was.

So when I was at U Fleků a couple days later and I ordered what the english menu called "Beer cheese, butter, onion, toast" and got two raw garlic cloves with my fried bread, I made like I knew what I was doing and rubbed the garlic on the bread. The onion was raw, chopped fairly fine and dumped all over the almost liquid cheese - which was itself quite pungent - so it was a damn good thing I wasn't planning on spending any time with anyone for the rest of the day. It was actually quite tasty, but staggeringly antisocial.

At another pub I ordered "Roast pork, smoked pork, sausage, sauerkraut and dumplings." Trying to find out what meat was in the sausage from my waiter with his very limited English (and my non-existent Czech) was entertaining: when I asked, he said "sausage." I asked what was inside the sausage, and the answer was still "sausage." I finally got around to mentioning pork and beef (I don't eat beef) and he said "pork." Dumplings aren't exactly what we expect either: they're more like rounds or slices of a dense bread, often of two types, one made of wheat and the other of potato. They go well with the gravy. 
by giles