The Food of Vienna

Vienna, Austria is the capital of classical music. Composers like Haydn, Mozart, and Brahms all wrote and premiered the majority of their works in this city, and it is still one of the best places in the world to hear live music. What people forget to mention about this lovely city, is that it is also an amazing place to eat. Basically, if you love food and music, Vienna is the place for you.

A must, of course, is the most famous dish: Wiener Schnitzel. Wiener means Viennese in German, and schnitzel is a thinly pounded piece of meat, usually veal or pork, that is fried and  served with potatoes and a slice of lemon. For a classic Viennese experience, one may choose any quaint looking restaurant around the city and order schnitzel and a haus bier. However, this can be on the pricey side, especially if you choose the veal. So, if you are in Vienna for an extended period of time and don’t want to splurge on every meal, I highly recommend the street food.

Some people denounce street food in foreign countries, but in actuality it is the best way to truly sample the culture of wherever you are. If you walk down Kärtnerstrasse, a pedestrian street in the heart of the city that I like to call “the Times Square of Vienna,” you will pass a street food stand on every corner. To continue your sampling of classic Viennese food, the first stand you should try is a würst stand. These sell all types of hot dogs and sausages. The best part is that rather than a bun, they are served in a hollowed out baguette. A crowd favorite is the Käsekrainer, which is a spicy sausage filled with cheese.

In addition to these classic Austrian foods, there are many other things you can sample. The Turkish influence in Vienna is very prominent, especially in regards to food; the döner kebab is  almost more common than the würst. Döner is a wrap filled with kebab meat, either chicken or lamb, yogurt sauce, red cabbage slaw, lettuce, tomato, onions, and if you like spicy, chili flakes. The freshness of the crunchy vegetables with the smoky meat and cool yogurt sauce combine to make the tastiest wrap ever. It’s no wonder these stands are everywhere. If you are a vegetarian, you can still enjoy this miraculous creation with falafel. In fact, there are many stands that sell schnitzel sandwiches, döner, falafel, and Asian noodles; so really you could sample them all at once if you are indecisive. The best part? All of these meals cost around 3.50 euros (5 euros if you throw in a Gösser or any other Austrian beer). So grab a meal to go on Kärtnerstrasse and take a seat outside the opera house, where they stream the productions on a screen outside for free, and enjoy the full Vienna experience.

-Anna Weber

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