Czech cuisine is highly influenced by the country's neighbours in Central Europe with an emphasis on meat stews, hearty soups, dumplings and sauerkraut. The day's main meal will consist of two or three courses starting with a soup with the main course roasted meat served with vegetables and finished with a dessert. Meat and vegetable-filled dumplings often accompany meals as a side dish. With a host of varieties growing wild in the forests of the Czech Republic, when in season mushrooms are a common component in dishes.
Buckwheat (pohanka), pearl barley (kroupy) and millet grains (jáhly) feature heavily in home-cooked dishes though in restaurants these are usually substituted for pasta or European-style noodles. Potatoes - boiled, mashed, roasted or fried - will be served alongside the main event with sourdough bread, rye or wheat, served with soup.
Czech desserts tend to contain some form of fruit whether it's plum and apricot dumplings served with butter or cream and sugar, or pastries filled with fruit, curd and poppy seeds. Pancakes and crepes are also popular served with jam.
Beer has a long tradition in the Czech Republic and is the national beverage, in fact, the Czech Republic has the highest beer consumption per capita in the world. The Czechs prefer pale lagers that are light in flavour and the majority of beers brewed here are pilsener lagers. Such is the Czech love of beer that a number of beer festivals are held throughout the year.
Safe eating while travelling in the Czech Republic
The Czech Republic has very good hygiene standards so travellers have an extremely low risk of getting sick whilst on holiday. Nevertheless, basic precautions still apply and you should avoid eating anything that looks old or like it might not have been cooked thoroughly (especially meat and fish). A good rule of thumb is to look for restaurants that have a queue of locals outside, as this will be where the best food is usually found – people don’t wait for food without a good reason.