Mňam! 15 scrumptious Czech food and drink sayings

Bread, pastries, dumplings, and beer don’t just feature in Czech culture and cuisine, but in the language, too!

Katrina Modrá

Written by Katrina Modrá Published on 14.08.2019 07:30 (updated on 14.08.2019) Reading time: 2 minutes

This is an updated version of an article published in 2018. See the original here.

A sampler of sayings

  • To have a dumpling in one’s throat. / Mít knedlíkv krku.
    Eng: To be speechless; to have a frog in your throat.
  • Without work, there are no pastries. / Bez práce nejsou koláče.
    Eng: No pain, no gain.

czech pastries

  • To walk around hot porridge. / Chodit kolem horké kaše.
    Eng: To beat around the bush.
  • To be in the rice. / Být v rejži.
    Eng: To be in the soup or hot water; to be in trouble.

Drinking wisdom

  • A different kind of coffee / To je jiné kafe
    Eng: Used to describe something that is vastly better than something else (i.e. In a class all its own.)

czech coffee

  • Beer makes beautiful bodies. / Pivo dělá hezká těla.
    Eng: A warning against the misleading effects of alcohol perhaps?

Daily bread & butter

  • Everywhere bread has two crusts. / Všude je chleba o dvou kůrkách.
    Eng: Life is pretty much the same wherever you go (the grass isn’t always greener).
  • Whose bread you eat, sing his song. / Koho chleba jíš, toho píseň zpívej.
    Eng: Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.

czech bread

  • Better at home a slice of bread than a whole cow abroad. / Lepší doma krajíc chleba než v cizině kráva celá.
    Eng: Home, sweet home.
  • If you have butter on your head, do not go out in the sun. / Když máš máslo na hlavě, nelez na slunce. 
    Eng: Fly under the radar and out of the spotlight.

Cooking & eating

  • Hunger is the best chef. / Hlad je nejlepší kuchař.
    Eng: Beggars can’t be choosers.
  • What you cook at home eat at home / Co se doma uvaří, má se doma sníst.
    Eng: What happens at home stays at home – don’t air the dirty laundry.

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  • Love goes through the stomach / Láska prochází žaludkem.
    Eng: The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.

Fruity phrases

  • The cherry on the cake. / Třešnička na dortu.
    Eng: The icing on the cake.
  • Pack your five plums/ Sbalit si svých pět švestek.
    Eng: Get lost, pack it in, pack it up.

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