Saturday, October 15, 2011

Visit Prague without leaving Manila

From tomorrow until October 27, the Dusit Thani Manila brings you an authentic Czech food feast at their Basix restaurant. For this very rare opportunity to sample the gustatory delights of a country that is pretty far from us culturally and geographically, the Czech embassy has actually flown in three chefs including one very famous one from Prague.


I had the pleasure of dining with the Czech ambassador and meeting the chef in June. We had a nine-course dinner and I have to admit that the food was very different from what I'm used to. But it's precisely this difference that made it mind-blowing. It made me think about food in an out-of-the-box way, because many dishes combined ingredients I normally would not eat together. So in terms of a cultural and educational experience -- and one so close to home, at that; no need for flights or visas -- it was very interesting.

And of course, the food was very good. I especially liked a couple of main courses and the dessert -- and I fully intend to enjoy these again at Basix this week. Who knows when I'll be able to visit Prague again? This is certainly the next best thing to it.


What's Czech food like? Someone asked me the other day.

A proper meal usually starts with soup, and some of the favorite soups include beef soup with liver dumplings, potato soup and garlic soup. Then you have a main course of meat -- usually a chicken, pork or beef stew -- served with potatoes or dumplings on the side. For seafood, salmon or trout are also popular.

As for dessert, I think among the most popular desserts are apple strudels and fruit cake. Czechs like rich desserts with lots of cream.

The preview dinner I had last June had some of these aspects, but the meal was also refreshingly unique and not at all heavy -- and I'm sure this is because of the calibre of the chef. See for yourself exactly what Czech food is all about by trying the buffet at Dusit Thani Manila.

And just in case you wish to try a real Czech dish at home, here is an interesting dish that is relatively easy to make with accessible ingredients.

Good Housewife's Chicken Legs

This is a favorite recipe of a model Czech housewife so -- as you can imagine -- you won't go wrong in serving this tried-and-tested recipe to family and friends. It's so simple that it's great to have this recipe on hand for unexpected visitors.

In fact, as I write this, I'm thinking of making it myself and serving it to some good friends coming over for dinner tonight. I was thinking of making pizza and a truffle pasta, but this is certainly easier. It's simple and pretty good. And then a wonderful aroma will fill your home and make guests hungry for dinner as soon as they arrive.

4 chicken legs
80 grams lean bacon
100 grams fresh mushrooms
100 grams sauerkraut
400 grams boiled potatoes, thickly sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of oil
Fresh herbs

Wipe the chicken legs with a damp cloth and then sprinkle with salt and lots of freshly chopped herbs. You can choose all kinds of herbs and experiment with the combination you like, over time.

Heat the oil in a pan and put the bacon in. Then chop up the onion and fry both chicken and onion in the mixture. Add the thick slices of boiled potatoes, mushrooms and sauerkraut.

Place the pan in the oven and roast slowly until chicken is done.

Happy eating! And see you at the Czech food festival at the Dusit Thani Manila from October 17 until October 27.


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