There is nothing better than being in a foreign country and trying their local cuisine. Being a vegan or vegetarian in Eastern Europe can prove difficult when choosing to eat more traditionally. They are avid meat lovers, Pork, Duck, Chicken, Beef, you name it, it’s being served in one form or another. Most meat dishes are accompanied by knedliky, also know as dumplings, a wheat flour roll boiled in water until cooked. Considering we did not want to venture down the meaty route, we decided to try the vegetarian side dishes in a traditional Czech Restaurant.
To delve into the Czech cuisine, we chose The 7 Angels restaurant, which was situated a stone’s throw away from Old Town Square. The Art Nouveau themed eaterie only offered one Vegetarian main dish, a mushroom risotto, leaving the side dish menu as our only chance to experience authentic Czech food. We ordered sides of Potato Cakes, Plain Dumplings and both white and red stewed cabbage. The cabbage itself was a far cry from the pickled jar type, proving to be quite sweet and soft. The dumplings weren’t as tasteless as they appeared and filled your stomach soon enough. To our surprise, the potato cakes contained pork, a hidden unpleasantry, and an error on our behalf. At that, we left the Traditional Food consumption to the meat eaters and stuck to eating at Western restaurants where the food contains no hidden surprises!
On one of the many days we struggled to endure a hangover, we seemed to always crave Chinese.This was one of the many Asian restaurants that happened to be tucked away from the main streets, in a shopping mall or an arcade. Asian Cuisine in Prague tends to be advertised on large boards, photographs and prices of the food are clearly labelled, offering large portions for a cheap price.
By this point, I was craving Tofu and rice and was lucky enough to find many vegetarian and vegan dishes on the menu. To our delight, none of the vegetarian dishes stretched over £4, meaning the large portions were well within our budget. My buddy and I ordered vegetable spring rolls, hot and crispy with a slight chilli kick to start. I proceeded to order a Tofu & mixed vegetable rice dish which cured my hangover in an instant!
When visiting Prague you cannot avoid trying one of these delights, a Trdelnik. The pastry is made from rolled dough that is grilled, wrapped around a large stick and rolled in walnuts. The pastry itself is quite dense and doughy with a sweet nutty outer shell. It is also inexpensive, as you should pay no more than 50Kc for a try.
Lucky for the two of us, our deep rooted love for falafel and hummus was topped up in Prague also. Just as Asian Cuisine presented itself in abundance, middle eastern kebab and falafel eateries could be found most corners in the New Town. Perfect for a spot of lunch or a hangover snack, falafel in a pitta with their garlicky sauce went down a treat each time.
Wherever you go in the world these days it seems as if you can find a Pizzeria anywhere. We set our sights on Pizzeria Corto another eaterie located in the Old Town, advertised much like the Asian Cuisine, photos and prices advertised on the pavement. The Italian decor and menu transported us to Italy and thankfully so did the pizza. I tried the Pizza Marinara, a cheeseless olive oil, tomato and garlic base with a sprinkle of rocket on top costing a mere 145Kc (£3.50). The menu offered a range of Pizza and Pasta dishes, all at inexpensive prices, and at a fast speed. It appeared they also did free pizza delivery which would be a bonus if your hotel wasn’t situated far.
As much as we loved eating out, we also made many a packed lunch. We packed a large quantity of prepacked flavoured couscous and wholefoods pots to accompany salad when venturing into Prague sightseeing. Due to the cold weather, we used our hostel room windowsill as a fridge to keep our food items cool. Luckily for us, Billa supermarket was around the corner, providing us with a wide range of fruits, vegetables, hummus, snacks and of course Czech Beer! Thankfully Prague is an extremely westernized city, meaning eating as a vegetarian is simple and easy providing you do your homework a little! (Particularly the contents of potato cakes!)