Written by Taylor Heinicke (University of Wisconsin-Madison) Student Correspondent for CET Prague, Spring 2022
The “what food should I eat right now quiz” is probably my top Google search. I seriously never know what to eat. In Prague there’s access to every possible food option- a blessing and a curse (I think I’m just bad with making decisions).
So many of my friends went to Italy, or Spain, or France. Before we left for our respective semesters, they would longingly dream about the local cuisines, anxiously anticipating the bread, the cheese, the seafood. When I would inevitably be asked “Why Prague? What’s there?”, I gave the only response I knew: the beer.
“Beer cheese” at Czech restaurant after CET orientation
I did not come to the Czech Republic for the food. Although I had a vague idea of what Czech food was, the allure of (seemingly) unseasoned meat and boiled potatoes was never really there. Fortunately, my expectations have been exceeded slightly- despite being a meal that will fill you for the rest of the week, Czech food does have one outstanding quality: blueberry pancakes. For dessert. Sign. Me. Up.
Anyways, some of my friends from school were visiting Prague for the weekend recently and texted me for restaurant recommendations. Easy, I thought. The crazy part about Prague is that everything is so much cheaper than the western European countries and back home that you almost feel an obligation to eat out. Plus, beer is cheaper than water. It’s almost like they WANT you to drink here too.
Seafood pasta from tucked-away traditional Italian place near our apartment
Racking my brain for suggestions, I quickly realized that while I do eat out more frequently than I’m proud of, there was only one thing I wanted to recommend (aside from, of course, avoiding the Czech food). Kebabs.
This may seem silly. I have also recently been made aware that the abundance of kebab stores is not limited to Prague- it’s actually quite common across Europe. Nevertheless, kebabs are not just food; they are a culture. Across the street from my apartment is the kebab place that holds my heart (AND they sell pizza. AND it’s really good. AND it’s so cheap).
Everyone loves them. My roommates come home with kebabs and immediately another group is sent down in desperate search of what has no business being so good. Honestly, I don’t even know what I’m ordering half of the time because most of the menu is in Czech. But it’s so worth it.
The staff there are already like family (after only a month!). I truly miss them when I’m not there. They are my support system here: whether it’s walking in for late-night kebabs, or my slice of pizza on the way home from school, it’s always followed by the “How have you been?”. I love it. I live for it. And when I leave? “See you tomorrow!” Honestly, sometimes we go twice a day. Plus, I’m not sure if they ever really close. (Full disclaimer: You can see the store from my apartment window and I don’t think I’ve ever seen the light go off).
Never would I have expected to fall so head-over-heels over kebabs, but it happened. The overwhelming love for them might be the most shared connection across CET. It’s so comforting knowing that I always have a place to go. Long gone are the days of desperate food quizzes; if I don’t know what I want there’s always an easy answer: kebabs with the homies.
Our favorite Kebab place on Sokolská