As I shared to my readers before, I seldom post about food in my travel blog because, uhmm, I am technically not a foodie.
I mean, I love food, and I love eating and dining, but I am very picky with the food that I consume and I am even doubly picky when trying new things when I am in a foreign country. Specifically, I am very particular with the meat that I consume (I only eat beef, pork and chicken). I know, I know, it lessens my street cred as an adventurer but it’s something that I had to contend with early on, when I decided to start my travel blog.
During my recent trip to Prague, the capital of the Bohemian region, however, I practically threw caution to the wind in order to taste a delicacy that’s been one of my greatest motivations for visiting the city in the first place.
I just had to sink my teeth into Bohemia’s famous ‘Koleno’, or short for pečené vepřové koleno.
When I was finalizing my European itinerary, I happened to catch an episode of Anthony Bourdain’s trip to Czech Republic and there, he raved about this dish, that is just too tempting, and too sinful, I simply had to try it. I immediately changed my itinerary and made sure that I will have a longer stay in Prague to get a taste of this famous dish.
Actually, there is no secret or mad science behind koleno.
Koleno is simply pork knuckles marinated in beer and herbs, cooked for too long (around 45 minutes to 1 hour), until it is very soft and red. You’ll know a good koleno when it just melts in your mouth.
It is often served as a large chunk of pork knuckles, bone in, accompanied by horseradish and bread.
The result is a spectacle of a dish that’s long been considered as the king of Prague’s cuisine.
Take a stroll along Prague’s Old Town at the Wenceslau Square and you will see traditional restaurants trying to beat each other with “the best koleno” in town.
This dish is considered too sinful because its high in cholesterol and fats literally.
On my final day in Prague, I just couldn’t care less about my diet, that I went to the nearest Czech restaurant near the old town square and ordered a huge serving of koleno.
Supposedly, each serving is good for one person. In reality, it is good enough for sharing between three friends. But since I was craving for it, it was gone in less than 30 minutes (hahaha).
It was just so tender and juicy, and the meat and pork skin were so soft, I never needed to use my knife. The best way to enjoy it is to savor each chunk of meat, and wash it with red or white wine, as it brings out the flavor of the marinated pork.You can also try ‘pivo’ or beer in Czech.
And since Prague is known to be one of the most affordable cities in Europe, you can surely enjoy koleno without breaking the bank. A good serving costs an average of 15 to 20 Euros.
It was definitely an unforgettable dining experience, I would have surely missed if I insisted on being too picky and choosy.
Koleno doesn’t get enough credit in travel books or guide brochures about Prague.
But I am telling you, this dish is one of the best reasons to pack your bags and fly to the beautiful city of Prague in Bohemia.