Eat Smart

Tastes Abroad: I’ll take the Czech!

by Rebecca Toback, blogger

Prague is known by American tourists as a very cheap place to travel. One US dollar is equal to 16.49 Czech crown. But the amount of money you get to the Czech crown is really irrelevant if the prices are inflated to equal the same as they would in America. So when you order a beer for 39 Kč and you say, ‘Wow that’s so cheap!’ youhave to ask–is it really? Or is the math just a bit too hard, when you’re a bit too tipsyto figure out the actual price. And when you go to dinner and order the ravioli for 155 Kč, but you’re only given 5 raviolis, the reality starts to sink in that maybe the Kč currency isn’t that rewarding.

Despite the difficulty deciphering the value of money in Prague, my friends and I still sampled the Czech cuisine and were surprised at what Prague had to offer. On our first night ou,t we stumbled upon a pub that had a sign outside: Pilsner Urquell. It was the first time we had seen the sign since we were in Prague, so we thought that was the name of the bar. Well. the joke was on us, because Pilsner Urquell is the name of the most commonly brewed Czech beer. And about 100 other places have that same sign outside their doors to lure customers in. The menu featured lots of different cheeses, some  fried, as well as gnocchi with spinach, cheese and chicken meat, soups and meats. I ordered the grilled eggplant with yogurt sauce, which was cooked perfectly and was very tasty. It wasn’t like anything I’ve had before, but definitely something I would order again. The Pilsner Uruquell sign that brought us in did us well. The bill came out to about 170 Kč per person, including a pint of beer each. My sober math tells me that’s about $10, which is better than any meal of the same quality in London.

If you’re looking for an even cheaper and quick meal, Prague has tons of stands on the street that sell fried cheese (a Prague specialty), 1- inch sausages served with their famous sauerkraut in a bun, and of course French fries, which come with ketchup, curry ketchup, mayo, and spicy mustard. The fried cheese is basically like a mozzarella stick patty, except instead of mozzarella cheese, they use other kinds like goat and edam cheeses. Then they put it on a bun with a choice of sauces. Basically, it’s an even unhealthier version of a mozzarella stick.  My friends and I were excited to try it, but we were not impressed with what we tasted. Others of my friends went for the spicy beef sausages and were loving their meals. They were full until dinner the next night and didn’t regret one bite.

Prague isn’t a place where people are dying to go and try the food, but my experience this weekend was one I’d Czech out again for sure!