Sunday, November 13, 2011

Prague, It's What's for Dinner

In Denmark, the typical formation of a sandwich is open-faced, with some sort of spread and meat on top of a dark, dry, dense rye bread.  It is called a smørrebrød, which literally translates to butter and bread.  In Prague, my friend and I went exploring and discovered these delicious sandwich-things, which resemble the typical Danish smørrebrød.  One had some brie spread + brie + more cheese (heaven help the lactose intolerant) and another had potato salad, turkey and pickle.  All together, lunch cost a grand total of ~ $1.80.  Believe people when they tell you Prague is CHEAP. 

A typical dinner in Copenhagen for one person costs somewhere between $50 and $150.  If you really want to go all out, the world's best restaurant, Noma, is conveniently located in Copenhagen and offers a lovely seven course meal for around $1000.  In Prague, however, a meal at a normal restaurant goes for $5-$10.  Taking full advantage of the fact that I could actually afford to go out to eat in Prague, I wasted no time seeking out some real, authentic Czech food.  

Enter goulash.  And bread dumplings.  And Becherovka.  Goulash is your basic roast meat in a thick brown gravy, complete with some onions and paprika.  Bread dumplings may be the heaviest white bread concoction ever, created specifically to soak up some of the gravy and expand in your stomach to epic proportions.  Becherovka... well, according to Wikipedia it's "flavored with anise seed, cinnamon, and approximately 32 other herbs."  According to Ashley, it tastes like licorice pumpkin pie shots and BURNS going down.  The people I went to dinner were casually sipping it (sipping!) like an after dinner coffee, whereas I pawned mine off on a girl conveniently celebrating her 21st birthday (No, here's to you, Carrie).

Unlike many other cities, the market place is alive and well in Prague.  All of the days we were in the city, the main square near the clock tower was transformed into a bustling market place, selling baked goods, meats and mulled wine.  While it was fun to walk around the square and see what was being offered, it definitely was marketing towards tourists and prices were hiked up.  

How cute is this little future pyromaniac?! 

One morning, the three of us took off on an off-the-map adventure, following the advice of some locals who told us about a "real" market.  Supposedly, this was a home-grown farmers' market that was a good place for an unconventional lunch or some souvenirs.  After walking for over an hour, past the Prague Castle and into a working class Czech neighborhood, we found a small park with a square in the center.  There, more than 30 tents had been set up by locals who were selling everything you could imagine: fresh fish, fresh meat, home brewed wines, spice mixes, vegetables, cheeses... the list goes on.  I had a field day.

For the record, 13 Czech Koruny is 70¢.  How was I going to say no to a poppyseed roll?  I am Czech, after all.  And it was flaky and homemade. Alright, force me.

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