'I have to lie down afterward': How readers' dining habits have changed since moving to Czechia

We polled our readers on how they've adopted to the flavors and customs of the Czech meal time. Here's what you had to say.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 09.11.2023 14:00:00 (updated on 15.11.2023) Reading time: 3 minutes

We recently polled our readers to understand how their eating habits may have changed since moving to the Czech Republic. The responses provided intriguing insights into how culture influences what we put on our plates.

Many reported that while they still enjoy the tastes of home, dietary choices, and meal planning have taken on a decidedly more Czech flavor over time. Our readers also shared the foods they've grown to love and those they haven't quite acquired a taste for.

Mealtimes have shifted

Anyone who works in a predominantly Czech office knows that Czechs appreciate a warm and heavy early lunch, and a light cold dinner, and often skip breakfast entirely (or are partial to a quick pastry). Your responses confirm that you've shifted your meal times to align with the local dining patterns.

One reader said that living in Czech has actually encouraged them to start eating breakfast: "I used to never eat breakfast back home (U.S.) but now that I have a job with a 7 a.m. shift I've gotten used to eating a light, quick meal in the early morning."

Another reader noted that he has adapted the Czech love of early lunches. "I used to have lunch around 2 p.m., but now it's more often around noon.

One responder, however, said that while he's noticed the tendency toward a noon-time feast, such midday meals tend to knock him out: "My friends like to go for lunchtime specials. If I eat that much heavy food plus beer at lunchtime I have to go lie down afterwards.

Czech foods you love to hate

  • Czech dumplings: "Any kind. No taste, no texture, loved by Czechs."
  • Caraway (kmín): "It pervades Czech bread and cooking...in whole seed form it is unbearable! Is there nothing Czechs won't put caraway in?"
  • Pig's blood soup: "It tastes like slurping hot silt."
  • Kulajda soup: "It is sour and inedible."
  • Pork knee with cabbage: "It's a heavy meal that is overrated and old fashioned."
  • Fried cheese: "The vegetarian meal on most menus and I'm sick of it!"
  • Olomouc cheese: "Tried multiple times but I couldn't handle the smell."

Beer is a staple beverage

Survey-takers didn't miss a chance to comment on the widely documented Czech love of beer saying that they incorporated more pivo into their diet upon moving to the Czech Republic.

"I drink a beer (or two!) daily because how could I resist?" said one responder. Another reader commented that while their eating habits hadn't changed much at all their drinking habits had: "I drink much more beer here than I used to drink in my home country."

Some found the beer habit to be an easy one to acquire. Being able to pair local cuisine with "local cheeky beers" made adapting to the local way of eating "not too hard."

Diets have become lacking in fresh, colorful food

For one responder, a Frenchman, adapting to the Czech way was quite a change, but he told us living in the far east of the country close to many farms gives him access to fresh meat and lovely homemade sausages.

Others found that their eating habits are more characterized by what they don't eat.

"We eat a much more restricted diet here than we did in the UK, where a mix of fresh vegetables is typical as part of a hot meal," wrote one reader.

Many types of vegetables and fresh fish familiar to Brits are hard or impossible to find in the typical supermarket in Czechia, e.g. sugar snaps, mange tout, purple sprouting broccoli, kale, beansprouts, hake, scallops, haddock, smoked cod/haddock, and authentic Indian spices."

Others agreed that moving to the Czech Republic gave their diets a much more unhealthy bent. "More meat, fewer vegetables. Vegetables to a Czech person means salad to other people," wrote another user. Yet another reader said that they eat fish less fish and add caraway to their cooking more.

Czechia made me anti-pastry

Many readers mentioned that they started eating more and more fresh bakery products and making a meal of bread and cheese.

One reader, however, said that while they never used to be able to resist dessert, living in Czechia has ended their cravings for cakes and pastries.

"Now, nothing tempts me anymore including bábovka (a ring-shaped cake), strudel, kolaček anything plum-flavored or with poppyseed," they said.

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