Smažený Sýr – Say Cheese!

A slice of fried Edam cheese served with roasted potatoes, tartar sauce and beer.

Here, There and Everywhere!

Smažený sýr, fried cheese, is about as ubiquitous as any Czech dish could be. It can be found in any class of restaurant or pub. It can be served just as easily as an appetizer or pub fare as it can be a full meal. Cheap to buy in restaurants and dead easy to make at home, this food can be accessed by almost anyone regardless of social or economic standing.

As unusual an idea as fried cheese may be to a non-Czech, the easy availability of it will ensure that it is likely one of the first Czech foods a foreigner will try after arriving in the country; the addictive nature of it usually ensures that they will continue to seek it out.

Variations on a Theme

Typically, fried cheese is made with either Edam or Hermelín, though it can be found made with Gouda, blue cheese. Some restaurants offer variations using the notoriously smelly Tvarůžky cheese.

The cheese is coated in bread crumbs and then deep fried or pan fried. Typically, restaurants will serve it with some form of potatoes as a side dish and tartar sauce as a dip. Sometimes, in the winter months, you can find the tartar sauce substituted with cranberry sauce.

As strange a flavour combination as it sounds, I personally find fried Hermelín with a dollop of cranberry sauce a delightful thing.

Give it a Try at Home

These links both have good step by step guides to preparing fried cheese in a way that you would typically see it in the Czech Republic:

Recipe at Slovak Cooking

Recipe at Czech Gastronomy

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