Cycle 3 – Item 333
3 (Mon) December 2012
Czech Pub Praha Special
at Pub Praha
-Itaewon, Yongsan, Seoul, Republic of Korea-
Project 30/30/30: 33 of 45 (see also 45/45/45)
Throughout the past November, I challenged myself to eat 30 dishes from 30 countries over the course of 30 consecutive days – and succeeded. I will continue the project until I run out of dishes or countries or restaurants or steam or money, aiming for 50.
Czech Republic is the 33rd country.
Pub Praha is a Czech restaurant. Or so the signage claims.
The menu featured 6 types of sausage, none appearing particularly Czech right off the page: the Frankfurter and the Regensburger by definition being German in origin; the Caper Huhn referring to “chicken” by the German “huhn;” the Jalapeño containing a chili pepper not commonly used anywhere in Europe, including the Czech Republic; the Garlic containing soy sauce, also not a conventional European/Czech ingredient; leaving the incongruously spicy Hot Chili. While I don’t doubt that Czechs would enjoy such sausages, I do question whether they’d regard these as their own. Indeed, I’m admittedly ignorant about Czech cuisine in general, but I wonder if sausages of any kind constitute a significant part of their culinary tradition, not the counting the inevitable spillover from neighboring countries, like Germany. Anyway, the rest of the menu was also less-than-distinctly Czech, items ranging from generic pub grub, like chicken wings, to random curiosities, like Canadian poutine.
Authenticity aside, the sausages on the whole were pretty good. All handmade, the casings exhibited good snap, the fillings rough and juicy. The Frankfurter and the Regensburger stood out in terms of taste, one aggressively smoky, the other heavily herbal. The Caper Huhn and the Jalapeno each provided, in its own way, pleasant pops of flavor at every bite. The Garlic was the most balanced if boring of the bunch. The Hot Chili was bland. I’d ordered the Pub Praha Special, which came with one of each sausage, plus mashed potatoes, mixed green salad, saurkraut, and mustard dipping sauce. The saurkraut was okay, though not quite fermented, rather reminiscent of cole slaw. At 26,000 won, the 6-sausage platter represented a marginally better deal than the smaller plates ranging from 14,000 to 17,00 won for 3 of any single variety, but it was still a bit pricey.
Perhaps more important to many, Pub Praha also offers a selection of “authentic” Czech beers. I never had a chance to ask whether that meant “Czech-style” or actually “from the Czech Republic.” For example, whereas the Pub Praha Pilsner sounded like it could be a proprietary microbrew made locally, the Premium Weizenbier was described on the menu as “Belgian Wheat Beer,” so it could go either way, case by case.
In verifying the meaning of the term, I just discovered that pilsner is a style of pale lager originating from the city Pilsen in the Czech Republic.
(See also BOOZE)
(See also GLOBAL FOOD GLOSSARY)
(See also RESTAURANTS IN KOREA)