Fry This!

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12.05.2005

Czech Fried Cheese

Over Thanksgiving, I had the pleasure of visiting the beautiful city of Prague, the capital of the Czech Republic. As part of the cultural immersion process, my friends and I subsisted on a diet of Czech food and Czech beer. What we discovered in the process was that Czechs and Americans have quite a bit in common, in particular, a love of deep-fried foods.

The Czech Smazný sýr (pronounced sma-zhe-nee see'r), which literally translates as "Fried Cheese", is one such dish. Usually served either alone as an appetizer with tartar sauce, or on a roll with mayonnaise as a sandwich, Czech Fried Cheese consists of a thick slab of an Edam-like cheese, which is breaded and deep fried, ideally giving it a crusty shell and somewhat stretchy interior.

I purchased mine from a lunch cart situated in Old Town Square, one of the most heavily-touristed areas of town, but the fact that there were many Czechs waiting in line at this cart led me to believe that for all intents and purposes, it was being served the way native Czechs like it. As advertisted, the fried cheese was served on a sesame seed roll and topped with mayonnaise, though the mayonnaise was not a variety an American would have recognized, as it was a lot less viscous than American varieties and was interspersed with bits of dill.

As I took my first bite, I could feel my arteries quiver in fear as the 100% lipid combination of cheese, mayo, and fryer cooking oil tickled my taste buds in a sensation that could only be characterized as one of pure ecstasy, akin to what one would have felt after their "first time" (at least if you were male, or if you were the girl who was with me). The consistency of the breaded exterior on my palate reminded me of a McDonald's Filet-O-Fish--the individual bread crumbs were discernible to the taste, yet maintained a uniform crispness through the bite. The cheese itself, though clearly melted in the frying process, maintained a respectable firmess through several bites, but as I worked my way through the center of the filet, the sandwich lost all of its cohesiveness, and finishing the rest of the sandwich became quite a messy affair, as mayo and cheese was spilling out of all sides and onto my hands and the +1,000-year-old cobblestone street below. However, that did not take away from the fact that this sandwich was absolutely delicious. The dill mayo complimented the cheese very nicely, giving the sandwich a slightly sour but pleasant lemon-like citrus finish.

I was extremely pleased with this sandwich, so much so that I felt compelled to order another one immediately after, my lactose intolerance be damned. So, for the equivalent of $1.40 USD (35 Czech Crowns), I couldn't help myself, and immediately got to work polishing off a second fried cheese sandwich in one sitting. If you ever find yourself in Prague, the Fried Cheese is something you simply should not miss.

2 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

No joke...this sandwich is delicious!

6:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just saw these on Travel channel... They look soooo good.

3:54 PM  

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