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Stand And Eat At A Deli

It is said that the best things in life are the simple ones. The Czech deli is an example of this truism. The complexities of a restaurant—finding a table, ordering drinks, reading through the menu, waiting for the waiter, ordering, waiting, getting the bill, tipping—are all avoided at a Czech deli.

Czech delis provide enough variety for a complete meal and a place to stand to enjoy it. It is a restaurant at its most simplest.

There are two components to a deli meal: the meat and the bun. The meat requires specific attention during the selection process because you need to decide between sliced or mixed in mayonnaise salad. The bun is easy—it is just a bun and you only need to decide how many you want.

You know what sliced meat is, so let’s skip that. The mayonnaise salad, though, requires explanation. There are potato and fish salads. Each of these consists of ingredients held together by mayonnaise. Potato salad is a Czech staple served with schnitzel on Christmas Eve, but it is also complements a bun. My favorite is the fish salad because of its bitter aftertaste, which so perfectly counterbalances the bland-mouth effect of a bun. Put a spoonful of bitter fish salad in your mouth, let your tongue absorb the taste, then quickly follow with a bun tear. Chew to mix.

This process, a spoonful of salad followed by a bun bite, is what you will see lunchers performing as they stand around waist-high round tables. There are no chairs at the deli. Find an open spot and mark a section of the table by placing your paper plate down. Grab hold of your bun like you’re holding a baseball bat and start alternating—fish/bun/fish/bun.

Don’t expect kindness and handholding at the deli. Delis are for busy people. The staff is efficient, which is mistaken for rudeness by tourists. If you attempt to perform the shoulder shrug, hand-in-the-air thing, it will be returned with exactly the same gesture. The deli is an assembly line for feeding people. The women behind the counter expect you to utter the smallest number of words in the quickest manner possible. Don’t bother asking what something is or how much it costs; it will only annoy the staff and the people behind you. Take a chance, point at a salad, grab a bun, and place money down. Move along. Nobody is interested in what you feel like eating or what tastes you feel like avoiding—just pick something, eat it, and get out.

The Czech deli is perfect when you need to eat without going through the whole dance of eating out. It is a big fridge you can open, grab something from it, and eat.

Did I bring you pleasure? :)

I hope you find this website helpful. I created the website because I love Prague, I enjoy writing about it, and I get a weird kick out of helping you make your trip to Prague more enjoyable.

I wrote a book about local travel in Prague. The book is my pride, my joy, my unbiological offspring. It was written with a passionate heart. If you find this website helpful consider getting my book full of useful tips that will instil in you the confidence to wander the local streets of Prague. The book is included in the popular (proud to say over 1000 sold) Prague Local Explore Kit.

Thank you,
Roman : Prague 2023

Prague Local Travel Kit