Wenceslas Square Sausage Stands

Following in the footsteps of the klobása king, Brewsta casts a critical eye over Václavské náměstí's altars of indigestion

This article was originally posted on the Czech Please weblog.

It's rarely mentioned in any books, but St. Wenceslas is also known as the Sausage King. He is the patron saint of the klobása.

In his honor, every day and night, there is a sausage fest on Wenceslas Square. Top to bottom, on every corner, you will find crowds of people gathering around sausage stands and paying homage at these altars of indigestion.

I, myself, have made the pilgrimage many times. And I'd say some of the sausages are pretty good. That's not to say they are good for you. But, given the right circumstances, the right amount of hunger, and perhaps a little impaired judgment, they are a great, quick bite.

I much prefer the two stands at the very bottom of the square, the one on the corner Vodičkova or the one on the corner of Štěpánská. This is mainly because they are a relatively new design, with stainless steel exteriors, the larges variety of sausages, and easily viewable work and grilling areas.

One stand has a sign on it that says "Euro Food," but other than that, they don't really have names or identifying signs. They are apparently all run by a company called DMJ. It has a small website with a limited look at the menus and some pictures of the stands.

There's just one small table nearby, where you can stand while you eat, if you don't want to take it on the run. You'll probably have to share it with a horde of hungry tourists during the day.

For a long time, I favored the German sausages in a bun (Německé klobásky v housce) for 40 CZK. They put five of these little links in the bread. I get it with mustard (hořčice) and fried onion (cibule).

Not long ago, this item cost 30 CZK. Talk about inflation.

I was pretty disappointed with these sausages after a recent visit. They had been sitting on the grill for far too long, and a lot of the fat in them had been cooked off. They were dried out and almost hard.

This is the one of the problems with these places. They don't pay much attention to the cooking. The sausages might be overcooked. Or they might be undercooked. It partly depends on the ebb and flow of customers. The people who cook and serve the stuff don't seem to watch the grill too carefully. So, on another visit, I decided to be different and get the Prague sausage (Pražská klobása). This special one is a little pricer than the rest and goes for 50 CZK.

It is redder in color than any of the others and has a bit of a spicy kick.

It has a thick casing and a nice snap when you bite it.

After I took my first bite, I thought I saw big chunks of fat. But when I looked more carefully, I saw what appeared to be pieces of garlic in it. I didn't really get much garlic flavor from them, but I was happy it wasn't fat.

I'd say this was my favorite sausage of all, and I'll probably get it again.

I also liked the Bavarian sausage on a roll (Bavorská klobása v rohlíku) for 40 CZK. I got it with mustard and asked for sauerkraut. There is a jar of cold kraut next to where you order. The first time I asked for it, the lady put it on for me. The second time, a different lady just handed me some tongs.

It was well cooked, not too fatty, and had a nice pork flavor.

One problem with all these sausages is the bread. First of all, they are not of great quality to begin with. But the main problem is that they keep them all in a warming tray, I suppose, to keep them from going stale. However, they end up turning into rubbery, chewy things instead.

For the final experiment upon my stomach, I tried Wenceslas' sausage on a roll (Václavská klobása v rohlíku) for 40 CZK. This was my least favorite, mainly because it was the most greasy and fatty. It was big, but tasted more like a hot dog than a sausage.

I did not get a chance to eat the Moravian sausage. And I must confess I have not tried any of their other offerings, such as the fried chicken cutlet (smažený kuřecí řízek) or the fried cheese (smažený sýr).

I know people who swear by the fried cheese as the perfect stomach-lining snack when you are on a bender. That may be. It's just not my thing.

One more thing -- a couple of people on Prague discussion boards complained about being short-changed. It's never happened to me at one of these places, but it does seem there has been something of a short-change epidemic in the country. It's happened to me three times this year at places like gas stations and Christmas markets. Always count your change.

I leave you with the words of Good King Wenceslas -- who, unlike me, really loved all sausages equally and enjoyed nothing more than sharing a big spicy one with his queen:

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine, bring me pine logs hither

Thou and I will see him dine, when we bear them thither

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