Beer cheese - a soft cheese, with a strong, cheddar-like flavour. you should add a splash of beer to the cheese, and then mash it all together, and serve it on traditional czech bread - å umava the name of a region in south bohemia is the most common bread, a very tasty dense loaf made from rye and carroway seeds.
Or syreäky - traditional cheese with a very strong aroma, and very much an aquired taste. often served deep-fried, but can be eaten alone, just with some chopped onion, mustard and bread. sometimes also marinated in beer 'syreäky v pivu'. this cheese naturaly contains almost no fat less than 1%.
If you want a warm, bigger, and more complicated meal which goes excellently with beer, get some of the typical Czech meals based on fatty meat pork, duck, or goose with sauerkraut and knedlÃky dumplings. Another excellent option is a whole pork knee with horseradish and bread ovarovÃ© koleno s kÅenem.
Tipping is a standard 10%, and is not normally added to the bill. Don't be confused by the percentage figures listed at the bottom of the bill - by Czech law, a receipt must show the VAT paid 20% in most cases - the VAT is already included in the final amount, and you should add 10% to this. It is normal practice to give the waiter the tip before you leave the table. Tip is not obligatory - if you weren't satisfied with services offered, don't bother tipping.
In a vast majority of better restaurants located in major cities you can pay by credit card EC/MC, VISA, but don't be surprised if a few will not accept them. Make sure to check the door for respective card logos when entering the restaurant or ask the waiter before ordering. Czechs sometimes use special meal tickets stravenky to pay in some restaurants - these are tax-preferred and subsidised by employers. You won't get these tickets unless you get a job in the Czech Republic, just don't be surprised when you see them.
meals you usually do not get in a restaurant
Generally, probably the best place to really try the Czech cuisine is to be invited for such a meal to somebody's home. However, it is not so easy, because people today tend to prepare simpler and more international foods. Traditional Czech cuisine is often reserved to Sundays or some holidays or prepared by old grandma when her children visit her. This is not a rule, but it is a common situation. In common restaurants, even the better ones, the traditional Czech food usually does not match what the old grandma serves. This does not mean that the food is bad or not tasty, but it is missing something that the home preparation can provide. In luxurious restaurants specialized in Czech cuisine, the food can be excellent, but the luxurious style and creative improvements by the chef often do not match the style of the traditional folk cuisine. Again, this is not a hard rule. Sometimes you can compliment the food in a restaurant "As if my grandma prepared it."
There are some dishes that are usually not served in any restaurants or pubs, are usually made at home and are worth trying if you have the opportunity. Brambory na loupaÄku "potatoes to be peeled" is a cheap and simple meal usually made in the countryside. Whole unpeeled potatoes are cooked in a big pot and put in the pot itself or a bowl on the table. You just take a hot potato from the pot, peel it yourself, put some salt, butter, and/or curd tvaroh on it and eat it. Drink it down with lot of cold milk. For such a simply meal it can be incredibly tasty, especially when eaten in the countryside after a day spent outside and chatting over it.
Picking mushrooms in forests is a very popular activity in the Czech Republic. Probably not surprisingly, collected mushrooms are eaten then. In restaurants, usually only cultivated mushrooms are used. If forest mushrooms are served in a restaurant, then usually only as a minor addition to a meal. Homemade mushroom meals are a completely different story. A classic example is SmaÅ¾enice the name is based on the verb 'smaÅ¾it' - to fry, also known as mÃchanice to mix - forest mushrooms, the more kinds the better, are sliced to small pieces, mixed and stewed with some fat, onion, and caraway. Later, eggs are added to the mixture. SmaÅ¾enice is served with bread. SmaÅ¾enÃ© bedly are whole caps of parasol mushrooms coated in breadcrumbs and fried. ÄernÃ½ kuba literally black jimmy is a traditional Christmas fasting meal made from dried mushrooms and peeled barley. HoubovÃ¡ omÃ¡Äka mushroom sauce, served with meat and bread dumplings is also popular. Fresh or dried mushrooms make also a nice addition to bramboraÄka s houbami potato soup with mushrooms. Kulajda is a soup from mushrooms and cream. Soups and sauces are the most likely forest mushroom meals to find in a restaurant, because they contain relatively small amount of mushrooms.
If you want to pick mushrooms by yourself, be careful. There are hundreds of species, some of them very tasty, some merely edible, but some poisonous or even deadly. There is also a species used as a hallucinogenic drug. A tasty and edible species may look very similar to a deadly species. If you do not know mushrooms very well, you should be accompanied by an experienced mushroom-picker.
Finding a vegetarian meal in the Czech Republic is not as difficult now as it once was. In tourist areas at least, such as Prague and the Bohemian Paradise, most restaurant menus contain a vegetarian meals category bezmasÃ¡ jÃdla or vegetariÃ¡nskÃ¡ jÃdla with 2-3 options. People may have their own interpretation of 'vegetarian' though, and it is not uncommon to find dishes such as "broccoli bacon" or prawns listed under "vegetarian meals".In traditional restaurants the choice in vegetarian food is usually limited to fried cheese, dumplings knedlÃky, omelette, potatoes cooked, baked, fried or as 'potato pancakes' and sometimes a Greek salad or cooked vegetables. Be advised that vegetables practically always have to be ordered separately, even if they appear to be part of the dish: e.g. the vegetables listed in a menu option called "potato pancakes with vegetables" are most likely a garniture consisting of a few leaves of lettuce and a slice of tomato.
Bigger towns have foreign cuisine restaurants, mostly Italian and Chinese, which can serve you meat-free dishes such as vegetarian pasta.