BEER is cheaper than water, so drink the precious beer. Lunch is the most important meal of the day and Czechs eat dumplings a lot. Eat, drink and be merry in Prague!
A meal starts with the "disclaimer soup" (okay, I made up that name). One of the recommended "typical soups", drstkova, is said to "taste better if you don't know what it is made of," the dining guide said. (I sense you're "Googling" now, which is good because it makes this story interactive. Since you're at it, find out what these other soups are: cesnecka, cesneckova polevka, zelnacka, kulajda.)
Pork and sausage take the limelight on the Czech plate. Menu boards all around the city will read "vepro-knedlo-zelo" or the "svickova" as the specials during the lunch hour rush. With the meat and sauerkraut served with creamy sauce and dumplings (aka "siopao" bun to you and me), and lots of it, the Bohemian population is happy and content, more so, after their dessert of studl (apple strudel), livanecky (small thick pancakes) or the medovnik (honey cake).
This is where my situation becomes difficult-I am in a no-meat diet. In the meat-loving country, vegetarians may have a problem. In most of the restaurants, there might be smazeny syr (fried cheese) or bramboraky (potato cakes), but both may be enhanced with meat as well. A specialty restaurant will be my best bet.
Maitrea recommended a vegetarian restaurant next to the Old Town Square, which was a short walk from the Emblem Hotel where I stayed. It's quite a popular joint, maybe because it stands out as different in the sea of meat-serving diners.
The vegetarian restaurant is on the ground floor and basement of the building of the House of Personal Development MAITREA in Maitreain Týnská ulicka 6 in the old town of Prague. The place exudes a very yogic vibe-the interior is dominated by calming natural tones of wood and beige, understated hue of Sanskrit symbols strategically printed on the beams, modern lighting fixtures, the overall design has fluid lines.
Form the menu, which included the vegetarian version of the Czech meat specialty combos, I picked the baked vegetable lasagna. I forgot that this dish is usually baked in a huge pan, portions cut from it and served in portions. Let's just say, I didn't enjoy the reheated dish that came from a frozen whole. I got my non-meat fare, if that's any consolation at all.
The adventurous side of me just had to stray from my diet and try the Czech specialty, and I did. A Filipina married to a local and runs a Filipino store pointed me to a pub that serves the "true blue svickova"-meat served with creamy sauce and buns.
Just like a local, I had a local brew with my meal, which was a good chaser for the few bites I had. I don't think I'm going to miss the svickova.
There's one more item that I did try out of curiosity. Almost around town, I saw people holding a cylindrical cake dusted with sugar. It's called the trdelnik and passed off as "an old Czech specialty", which the locals didn't know until a few years ago.
The alluring scent led me to a cukrarna (sweet shop) and got myself one. I took one bite and let's just say I'm not going to miss it either.
Oh, I got to try a sausage from a food stall in Wenceslas Square. It had a long line, which made me curious. I got myself one and took one bite to sample it.
I will confess to not being a foodie, my palate not of a connoisseur, and diet restricting. My short visit to Prague involved more sightseeing than food tripping. I broke my diet to try what's the local specialty, my way of taking a dip into the Bohemian culture.
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