Prague Street Food Favorites
Prague street food will always have a special place in my heart. More than a decade ago, during my first trip to Europe, I was amazed to see little street vendors set up until dawn selling all sorts of snacks, sandwiches and pouring full 24oz. draft beers to go. All were available for around $1 or less at the time. To a nightlife-crazed college student, this was a dream come true. It was also one of the first times I tried actual street food and I began to fall in love with the concept.
While prices have increased in Prague over the last decade, it’s still an affordable city. It’s also one of Europe’s most beautiful, in my opinion. I was so excited to return here in November.
Some of Prague street food options listed below are available year-round. Others may only be accessible during seasonal markets and when big events are taking place. I haven’t listed prices or ranges because they can fluctuate based on whether you’re in a popular tourist area or further out of town. They can also become more expensive during peak travel times such as the summer months and during Thanksgiving and Christmas when the markets are set up. For these reasons, ask around about prices if they aren’t posted and use your best judgment. These foods will almost always be cheaper than restaurant options. In my experience, they’re also often better than when you get in many formal restaurants.
Whichever Prague street food options you choose to enjoy you’ll have a great time walking through the streets of Prague, taking in the jaw-dropping architecture and smelling the intoxicating smells of their delicious, hearty cuisine.
Trdlnik is a sweet pastry that is wrapped around a metal cylinder and grilled over an open flame. Sugar, cinnamon and nuts are then sprinkled on top. Part of the fun in ordering these is to watch them being made. They can take some time but be patient, as they are best when served perfectly grilled and still warm. These pastries originate in Hungary where they are called kürtőskalács. For their cylindrical shape, they are also sometimes referred to as chimney cakes.
Some trdlnik stands and shops will also add fillings to the inside upon request. This can be a simple smear of chocolate sauce or as complex as a sundae with fruit, ice cream and other toppings. The trdlnik pictured here was fantastic and was purchased from Krusta next to the old city end of Charles Bridge.
At first glance, langose may look like a typical pizza. This Prague street food is much different, however. To start, langose is made with a bread that is deep fried. While still hot, a tomato sauce that tastes like a combination of ketchup and garlic is poured on top, along with a generous pile of shredded mozzarella. The bread can be a little greasy but this street food makes for a nice snack. Particularly if it can be shared with someone, as it can be a little heavy.
Pražská šunka (Prague ham)
Ready for your main course? Make sure to try the Pražská šunka, or Prague ham. Grilled in front of your eyes on giant rotating metal skewers, it’s hard not to smell the meat before you see it. This is one of the most savory and delicious dishes available in most markets. The ham is usually paired with roasted potatoes and sold by weight.
Be warned, though! Make sure to have the food stall owner explain the pricing. If it’s by weight, make sure to ask if the potatoes and ham are the same price by weight so you know what you’re paying for. They may also try to get you to tell them how large of a piece you want, versus how much you want it to weigh or cost. They’ll almost always go over what you ask for so be prepared to barter with them. Don’t pay for anything extra unless it’s what you want.
One morning as I ran to my free walking tour, I just had to take a moment to order a sausage to go. The Prague street food markets usually have a number of local options but at the recommendation of the food stall owner, I went with the red sausage. Somewhat spicy, rich and flavorful, it was a great choice.
Sausages come in a number of sizes and varieties. They can be ordered by themselves or on a white or wheat bun. Toppings generally include ketchup and a spicy mustard that you can add yourself after ordering. Onions, relish and spicy peppers are sometimes available.
Smoky, delicious pieces of chicken or pork on a skewer should make every carnivore’s mouth water. Add a few pieces of onions and peppers and you’ve got a full Prague street food meal on your hands. Or, in your hands, if we’re talking street food. Grilled several at a time in front of you, stop by to see which one you want, point, and place your order. Sometimes sold by weight and other times by full/half skewer, make sure to understand the pricing before you order. This will help avoid any unwanted surprises and expense.
More a late-night guilty pleasure, fried cheese is as simple as it sounds. Breaded local cheese that’s fried with some ketchup and mayo on top. Available sliced into pieces on a plate or as a sandwich, this isn’t the healthiest Prague street food but it is one of the tastiest. Walking around later in the evening these sandwiches can be seen all around.
Czech palacinky, or pancakes, can be found in many markets. Similar to crepes, batter is poured on a hot plate and filled with either sweet or savory ingredients. The palacinky are then rolled up or folded over, cut into small pieces and served. The savory version make for a great snack or breakfast option. The sweet palacinky are a nice option for dessert.
Drinks on the Street
Depending on the time of year, there are a number of alcoholic drinks available from street vendors or as to-go options from restaurants and shops.
- Pivo: Czech for ‘beer’, pivo is available just about anytime, anywhere in Prague. On draft from street stalls, markets, restaurants to-go, corner stores, bars of course, beer is everywhere in Czech Republic.
- Burcak: A partially fermented wine, this fruity beverage is said to taste like cider or a wine spritzer. Depending on how long it’s been fermenting the alcohol level can vary between 1-8%. Be careful if you’re not sure how strong it may be. Burcak is generally available August through November. I didn’t have a chance to try it while in Prague but was able to locate an article on the top places to find this beverage.
- Svařák (Mulled Wine): More of a European favorite than a traditional Czech drink, svařák is available during the colder season. Mulled wine is essentially just heated wine with some added spice. Usually this includes cloves, cinnamon and either fruit or a splash of fruit juice. Sometimes sugar is added. Found at Christmas markets, food stalls and nearly every restaurant, make sure to give this a try.
Make sure to enjoy your time in Prague! It truly is one of the most beautiful cities in Europe. Hopefully this list will help you to eat and drink as you walk through the beautiful picturesque streets of this amazing city.
If you have any additions of street food or questions, please comment below!
Na zdraví! (Cheers in Czech)
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