Czech Food – Parek

Czech Hot Dog – Parek

I did a general post about Prague Hot Dogs but I thought I’d write a special one just for the Párek (in Czech it sounds like Pah-reck). The big difference is that most sausages are grilled over a fire or on a hot plate but Párek is either boiled or steam cooked. The word Párek literally means a pair i.e. bread and sausage makes sense. But Czechs generally don’t eat hot dogs from a roll. Instead they prefer a separated sausage and piece of bread. The thing with a Párek is that its definitely a pair because the sausage goes INSIDE the roll. Let me explain.

signage in czech that says they sell the czech hot dog called parek.
The sign to look out for if you want Párek.

I’ve put the regular signage above so it reads “Párek v Rohlíku” which translates as “Sausage in a long roll”. You’d be expecting a long roll cut on one side and the sausage put in the middle right? Well the Czechs like to put that roll on a small metal pole i.e. the roll is pushed down lengthways onto a hot pole and the effect is to leave a cylinder shape inside the roll. Now you get the question whether you want ketchup or mustard (Czech mustard is not hot) and depending on what you want it gets squirted down the the bottom of the hole. Then the sausage is inserted into the hole so the condiment is forced up the sides. I often see it described as a Frankfurter. The shape is the same but it neither smells nor tastes anything like a Frankfurter.

man on a railway station platform holding a czech hot dog called parek
A Párek bought at the Masarykovo Train Station

So pictured is what you should get i.e. a long roll with sausage sticking out of one end and maybe a splash of condiment colour, with a paper bag or napkin. The sausage sticking out might make it look like you’ve got a bigger dog but in reality it usually means there’s more bread at the base so eat from the top and the bottom.

Are There Different types of Párek Sausage?

sign in czech selling the parek hot dog in the vienna style
Sign for Párek which specifically gives the type

I’ve also put signage above where it says “Párek v Rohlíku” but underneath it adds “Vídenské Párky”. Like on the Prague Hot Dogs post where I described different versions of Klobasa, a Párek can come in regular or spicy. Where you see the word “Vídenské” it means the regular pinkish-brown Vienna-style sausage. You may also see an option for “Debrecin” which is the darker rougher looking spicier version (don’t worry, not that spicy). Large supermarkets may have a dedicated hot dog vendor in which case there will be several types but the sausages are grilled and these are NOT considered to be Párek.

Any Párek Options?

Apart from the type of sausage the only other option you will find it is in a “pub food” environment when the first question is “how many?”. In a pub Párek is served with bread, usually mustard and maybe horseradish (hot) and there is a word you need to understand called “Nožičky” (sounds a bit like nosh-itch-key). It basically translates at a “leg” i.e. how many legs do you want? In a pub they will automatically assume that you want TWO sausages but it’s up to you indicate what you want and you’ll be charged accordingly.

Where to Find Párek?

A Eurohotdog Párek vendor stand in prague
A Eurohotdog Párek vendor stand in prague

As a hot dog this is generally what we call “booth food” which means you should look outside of large shopping centres, metro stations and transport hubs. They are less common in markets because in that environment they prefer to grill the sausages. In the picture above you’ll see a “Eurohotdog” stand which are generally the cheapest option in the city. I can remember my first Párek at the Masarykovo train station was CZK11. Now it’s CZK35. That’s inflation for you.

Something Related or a Few Minutes Away

Food and Drink – Prague Hot Dogs

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Food and Drink – Halušky (Gnocchi)

Food and Drink – Hot Street Food

Tour Tips: Here are some food tour operators that have been here a while and have good reputations