We Don’t Eat Zebra
It comes as a shock to people when they see Zebra on the menu, causing people to run for the doors screaming about protecting our stripy friends. But don’t worry, its not Zebra its Žebra which means “Ribs”.
For a country with a large meat-eating diet it’s a meal which is not generally available in regular restaurants and when you see “Žebra” it’s likely to be written on a blackboard which indicates it’s a temporary offer.
You’d have to go to a “grill” or “steak” restaurant to find it on the standard menu. Ribs here are usually pork and the fashion is to serve it with a layer of crispy fat. Anybody who has recently had “baby back ribs” at their local TGI Friday will not recognise the way they serve it here. One thing that is the same is that you are generally expected to pick it up to eat.
There’ll be coleslaw or cabbage on the plate and possibly a hot chilli bell pepper for people who want it a little hotter (serving meat with a spicy sauce is not popular here). Very often described as “marinated” but, in what and for how long is open to question. Just give me ribs off the grill with a Jack Daniels and Honey glaze and I’ll be happy.
Don’t be expecting Haute cuisine, this will be greater than 400g of meat served on a plate with room for little else. As mentioned above, if you’ve got used to little ribs then you’re in for a shock. I’ve been in restaurants where Žebra is two large ribs on a plate. I’ve burned my lips trying to separate the fat from the meat and if you’re thinking about wearing that nice shirt then, forget it. It’s messy time and don’t expect wet-wipes.
You can eat it with a knife and fork but it’s kind of expected that when using your fingers that the actual running of the fat down the chin and the licking of the fingers is all part of the experience. At least I think so.
With a Czech beer to wash it down it’s an excellent choice for lunch so you can walk it off in the afternoon. If you want to see other popular Czech food options then try the Czech Food Top Picks post.