Prague 101: How to order Czech dumplings

Whenever friends from abroad are visiting Prague, they always want to eat dumplings. The problem is, they just want to be able to say they have had dumplings so they order them randomly as a side dish to–say–schnitzel. See, that doesn’t really work. Schnitzel is dry, dumplings are dry. Now, if you ordered a side of steamed cabbage/sauerkraut to smother your dumpling in, you could MAYBE get away with that…but it is a strange combo.

We are talking about “side dish” dumplings here, typically either bread or potato dumplings (not about dumplings filled with fruit — that’s dessert). The advantage of dumplings is that they soak up the sauce, so they should always be ordered with a “saucy dish”, for example:

  • goulash
  • svickova (roast tenderloin & sour cream sauce) – see picture
  • vepro-knedlo-zelo (pork roast with cabbage; cabbage is just wet enough to pose as “sauce” here)
  • Beef with creamy dill sauce, mushroom sauce, tomato sauce…you name it.

Sauce is the magic word. So please don’t walk into a restaurant and order a chicken fillet with dumplings. You would like it about as much as a hamburger with rice.