Czech food is hearty and suitable after a hard day in the fields. It is heavy and quite fatty, and is excellent in the winter. Traditional food inclues knedlíky (translated as dumplings but more like slices of white bread), served as a side-dish with Czech classics such as guláš, similar to Hungarian goulash but with a thinner sauce and less spicy; Svíčková na smetaně, beef sirloin with a creamy root vegetable (carrot, celeriac, parsnip) sauce, served with a tablespoon of cranberry sauce, a slice of orange and whipped cream; Vepřo-knedlo-zelo, the combination of roast pork, knedlíky and sauerkraut. The latter combines very well with the world-famous Czech beer, the major brands being Pilsner Urquell, Gambrinus, Budvar, Staropramen, Velkopopovický Kozel and Krušovice.
Other Czech dishes include pečená kachna, roast duck again served with bread or potato dumplings, and red and white sauerkraut; moravský vrabec, known as ‘Moravian Sparrow', but which is in fact pork cooked in garlic and onions; smažený kapr, fried carp breaded and served with a very rich potato salad and eaten on Christmas Eve; pečené vepřové koleno, roast pork knee, served with mustard and fresh horseradish; bramborák, garlicky potato pancakes; smažený sýr, breaded deep-fried edam (the most popular cheese in the Czech Republic) served with boiled potatoes or french fries and tartar sauce; párek v rohlíku, long, thin hot dogs with crusty rolls and mustard or ketchup. If you must, you can always get hranolky — french fries. And of course, the ubiquitous zelí (raw cabbage), which is served with absolutely everything. Game is also very good, and includes dishes such as kančí, wild boar, bažant, pheasant and jelení or daňčí, both types of venison. These are almost always served either with dumplings and red and white cabbage, or as guláš.
Don't expect a wide selection of zelenina, vegetables, unless in the countryside — peppers, tomatoes and cabbage are the most commonly-seen side dishes, often served as a small garnish.
US-citizens may be surprised when they find «American potatoes» in the menu. These are like fried or baked potatoes, usually spiced.
Also try traditional beer snacks, often the only food served in some pubs (hospoda), and designed to be washed down by a good beer:
Utopenec — (means ‘drowned man' in Czech) a pickled sausage with onion, garlic and other vegetables and spices.
Zavináč — (rollmop) a slice of pickled fish, most often herring or mackerel, rolled-up and filled with various pickled vegetables (sauerkraut, onion, sometimes carrot or pepper).
Tlačenka s cibulí — (brawn with onion) a slice of haggis-like meat pudding, sprinkled with vinegar and garnished with fresh onion slices. Beware, can be rather acidic due to vinegar.
Nakládaný Hermelín — pickled Brie-like cheese, often marinated with garlic and chilli.