Thursday, April 4, 2013

Austrian Food, Part II

I have been thinking about food a lot lately, mostly because I miss a lot of food in America. While I definitely do not feel home sick, I am looking forward to going home, mostly because of all the foods I miss. I do miss my friends and family, but this post is all about the food.

Before coming to Austria, I would have said that I didn't really like German/Austrian food. I've eaten sauerkraut and brats in the US, but German/Austrian food was not something I grew up with in Texas. In fact, I remember when my family lived in Texas and we would visit my relatives in Wisconsin and they were all eating bratwurst. I remember thinking it was the strangest thing, because in West Texas, no one eats brats.

However, after my many trips to Germany and living in Austria for a year, I have come to really like a lot of German/Austrian food that I would have formerly turned my nose up at.

Some things that I've discovered that I love include the following: pumpkin seed oil, pumpkin cream soup, (I've had this in the USA, but it's so amazing in Austria) Wiener Schnitzel, Preiselbeere, (lingonberries) Gulasch, dumplings, spätzle, lamb's lettuce (this isn't exclusive to Austria, but I've never had it in the US) Schweinebraten, and duh, sausages.

Pumpkin: Austrians love their pumpkin. I was actually a little surprised, because I thought pumpkin was more of a North American thing, seeing as how pumpkins did originate in North America. However, it seems like pumpkins here are only used in savory dishes. I haven't seen any pumpkin bread, pumpkin cake, pumpkin cookies, pumpkin pie or even pumpkin in a can. But pumpkin seed oil is amazing and the creamy pumpkin soups you can get in most Austrian restaurants are also amazing.

Wiener Schnitzel: I don't think I've ever actually eaten Schnitzel in the US, but I crave it all the time in Austria. It's a piece of meat that is pounded flat, breaded and fried. Most restaurants serve it here, but the best Schnitzel I've had was at Figlmüller's, a restaurant in Vienna. The Wiener Schnitzel served there is larger than the plate! I prefer Schnitzel made with pork and this is technically not Wiener Schnitzel, as that is made with veal, but it's still made in the "Viennese style." I also love to eat Schnitzel with a side of Preiselbeere. These are lingonberries, which are very similar to cranberries. I already loved lingonberries from my time spent in Sweden, but I love them even more now.

Blatantly stolen from another TA. Schnitzel from Figlmüller's.
Lamb's Lettuce: I don't recall ever seeing this type of lettuce in the US, but it's all over Austria. The first time I had it was when I was at Figlmüller's. It was served with the most amazing potato salad I've ever had. The salad was also drizzled with pumpkin seed oil of course!

Schweinebraten: This is basically roast pork. While it sounds like nothing special, I had some at one of my schools and it was one of the most amazing things I've eaten. Most people prepare it at home, but I have found a grocery store that sells it in slices.

Sausages: I'm actually a little disappointed by the sausage selection in Austria. It's much better in Germany and I was even impressed by the selection in Belgium. I included it in my list, because I do love the sausages in Germany. One of my favorite things is ordering a sausage and roll from a street vendor in Berlin.

Gulasch: I LOVE Gulasch! I think I crave it even more than Schnitzel now. I've had it many times, always with dumplings or spätzle. I've even had it made from venison and also had some served with a fried egg on top and a pickle on the side. I even had Gulasch in Hungary, and while it was good, I think I prefer the Austrian version better.
Gulasch with spätzle, a fried egg and pickles.

As for the foods I miss in the US, I miss Mexican food the most, to the point that when I was in Budapest, a city I do NOT associate with good Mexican food, I visited a taqueria and another Mexican restaurant. Hey, I was desperate! The food was pretty, good, however, and so was the margarita!
A burrito, a margarita and me in Budapest!

I know my first meal when I'm back in the US will definitely involve Mexican food somehow. I know I will miss Austrian food when I'm back in the US, but I bought an illustrated cookbook from Figlmüller's and will probably be attempting my own versions of Austrian food when I'm back at home!


  1. All very similar to German food - gotta love it!! I miss Mexican food by far the most, too!

    1. I know! I can't wait to chow down on Mexican food when I get back.

  2. I relate to this post so much! Australia is the same, they love their pumpkin but only in savory foods.

    I had this one thing in Austria and I can't remember the name of it, but it's kind of like a light and fluffy pancake with apples? I had it skiing while I was in Austria...Anyway. Delicious.

    1. Was it like a shredded pancake? Because that is the only thing I can think of.

  3. Mmmmmh, all of it is delicious :)
    Just looking at it makes me hungry now! I'm glad you like all the food in Austria and Germany.

    1. Yeah, writing this post made me super hungry!

  4. My husband loves German Bratwurst, he says it's a lot better than the one you get in America.

    1. Of course! I find German food disappointing in America and I think that's why I didn't like it for a long time.