Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Hidden Treasures

I recently took some friends on a shopping excursion around Prague. Many people gently complain that you can't find ANY exotic food in Prague. I beg to differ, and I believe that you can find some great groceries in Prague for decent prices. You just need to know where to look. So here is my list of never fail grocery go-to's.

Asian Food Shop
Gorazdova 3, Nove Mesto
(Tram Stop Palackeho Namesti)

This large place has anything and everything Asian. Sauces including soy, fish, hoisin. Vinegars, fresh tofu, frozen shrimp, frozen dim sum, MASSIVE bags of rice, even black rice! Why I go here? In a little fridge in one of the rooms they have little bags of bean sprouts. Delicious on salads, for only 20 crowns. Total bargain.

Arabian Food Shop (Farah)
Myslikova 5, Nove Mesto

This not so large place has a great variety nonetheless. Consistently carries lamb. Large vats of spices, beans, etc. They make fresh harissa, baklava, and have olives galore. Tahini, garbanzo beans, baba ghanoush, roasted corn, rose water, orange water, halva...the list goes on and on. Why do I come here? Cheap garbanzo beans and tahini to make my own hummus, and yummy pita (white AND whole wheat!)

Happy Bo Ling Groceries (seriously)
Belehradska 81, Vinohrady
(Tram stop I.P. Pavlova)

This place inevitably ALWAYS has a good deal on SOMETHING. They had figs for 9 crowns a piece one time, salad for 3 crowns a head, etc. etc. One of the best parts about them is that their grocery section is open from 7 to 23 EVERY DAY. They have an astonishingly comprehensive variety of fruits and vegetables, as well as frozen shrimp, fish, etc. Vats of chinese chip mix, banana chips, dried cranberries, nuts, etc. This place will ALWAYS have very large sweet potatoes as well as squash. I also come here for the certainty that they carry large bags of fresh coriander (cilantro) basil, mint, parsley, etc. Herbs are a bit expensive at 49 crowns, but they're always clean and fresh.

Olympia Greek Groceries
Radhostska 3,
(Tram stop Radhostska)

REALLY friendly place. They have about 30 different kinds of feta, and make their own greek yogurt, eggplant spread, tzatziki, baklava, and all these different, interesting salads. A decent assortment of cheeses too: I recently got a smoked ricotta that was absolutely indescribably good. Also great greek spices that you can give as gifts along with greek wines. Why do I go here? The yogurt really. It's just so thick and good. How can you say no? The owner even gave me a goats milk yogurt to try (for free!) last time I was there.

International Food Shop (Diana Svet Orisky)
Belehradska 87, Vinohrady
(Tram Stop I.P. Pavlova)

This place has EVERY single kind of dried fruit or nut that you could want. Seriously. They also have chocolate coated, yogurt coated, carob coated, DIA chocolate coated yummies, as well as a wide variety of caramels. Good spice and loose tea assortment too. Why do I come here? My sister LOVES "Prazene mandle" (almonds cooked slowly with sugar so they devlop a sugary crust and are DELICIOUS hot). This place not only has almonds, but they have sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and hazelnuts done in the same way. No fail. Every day. 32 crowns for 50 grams. Not bad!

U Zavoje
Havelska 25, Stare Mesto


You WILL miss this place if you're not careful. It's actually down a little passage that looks like the entrance to a restaurant, but just look for the gorgeous yellow circle that says "syr" (cheese) and you'll be there. This place probably has the absolute hands down BEST assortment of cheese in Prague. The lady there is no nonesense, but speaks very good english and will usually let you sample all sorts of goodies. They have sheep, cow, and goat milk cheeses there. They even have a price list of all the cheeses they have in case you want to check it out. A tasting event goes on every Tuesday as well. My favorite? Small black tome, and raclette.

Havelske Trh,
Havelska, Stare mesto

This open air market is only good during the week. You have to get there around 2 or 3, because the vendors are leaving soon, and they're marking down all their products. On Fridays, this ESPECIALLY happens. I have snagged massive bunches of coriander (cilantro), mint, basil and the like for TEN CROWNS a bunch. They will also mark down peppers, tomatoes, cucmbers, pears, and apples. The mean price per kilo for these? about 12 crowns. It's so cheap. So good. But you really have to go at the right time. Don't even try on the weekends, it's a total rip off.

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