Soups, which are served primarily as the first course, form a traditional and indispensable part of the luncheon menu, as is reflected in a wide variety of thick broths. Beef or chicken bouillon - with noodles, rice or vegetables seasoned with salt and delicate spices form a standard choice in most restaurants. There are also specialty soups such as bouillon with delicious little liver dumplings, called játrové knedlícky, a special ingredient seasoned mildly with marjoram, garlic and pepper. Garlic soup (cesnecka) is one of the most popular dishes for two reasons. Firstly, it is often used as an aid to recovery in a morning following an overindulgence in food and drinking. It is also very easy to prepare. Thick soups prepared from meat and vegetables are often served as part of mid-morning snacks. Potato soup (bramborová polévka), a typical national dish with special family variations are seasoned with marjoram and sometimes pepper or caraway seeds which gives this dish its unique characteristics. In general, restaurants in the Czech Republic will offer two or three kinds of soup. Soups will appear on the menu under the category called "Polévky",
MOST POPULAR SOUPS
- Hovezí polévka or Bujón, It will be a clear beef soup and may have an addition of noodles (hovezi s nudlem) or small meat balls.
- Gulášová polévka or Gulášovka, a thick gulash soup that contains pieces of ham and sausage, onions and peppers.
- Bramborová polévka or Bramboracka, a thick potato soup with green vegetables and mushrooms. This soup is popular mostly in winter.
- Boršc, a left over from Russian times, this soup is similar to goulash soup with heavy use of cabbage and sausage.
- Cesneková polévka or Cesnecka, Garlic soup.
- Kurecí polévka s nudlemi, Chicken noodle soup.
- Hovezí polévka s játrovými knedlícky, Beef soup with liver dumplings.
- Zelná polévka or Zelnacka, Sauerkraut soup.
- Koprová polévka or koprovka, Dill soup, made from sour milk.
Bread is usually served with soup and in some places is free but, in others you will be charged a small amount for a slice or a long roll. If you have to ask for bread, say "mate rohliky prosim" (maatay-rohh-leeky) Do you have bread rolls?
- Šunková rolka se šlehackou a krenem - A roll of ham with cream and horseradish sauce
- Topinky (se sýrem) - Fried garlic bread with cheese
- Tlacenka s octem a cibulí - Brawn with vinegar and onions
- Smažené žampióny - Fried mushrooms
Game is ranked very highly as a delicacy of Czech and Moravian cuisines. Game meat has a distinctive flavor and specific aroma derived from aromatic plants from which the wild animals feed. Game meat is boiled, steamed, or roasted. It is served with piquant sauces and a variety of garnishes. Roast leg of venison or shoulder (pecená srncí kýta or hrbet) can be with or without a cream sauce.
Fresh water fish are ranked highly among the specialty dishes of the southern parts of Bohemia and Moravia. In modern restaurants, you will most probably find carp (kapr), a fresh water fish which has earned fame abroad for south Bohemian lakes as long ago as the Middle Ages. Carp is commonly served as fried fillets (smažený kapr), but baked carp (pecený) with caraway seeds or garlic might be considered equally appetizing. Another popular method of preparation is to serve carp prepared with vegetables or mushrooms. A fresh fish distinguished by its rich, juicy meat, carp is a popular alternative year round. Carp is also a vital part of the traditional Christmas Eve dinner, being served as fried fillets, or with a sweet, spicy black sauce. Trout (pstruh) - another fish which occurs in the local waters, is also common. Restaurant menus usually feature trout baked à la miller (dipped in flour), with caraway seeds, almonds or boiled and served in aspic (varený na modro).