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!
Tip: Visit Expats.cz Food & Drink for great tips on Prague restaurants, Czech cuisine, and more

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 knedlík v 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.
  • 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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