Weird food stuffs – my Top 10 from Austria

Austria has plenty of great food – let’s get things straight right away that I am definitely not complaining here! All I am doing is bringing attention to some of the ‘stranger’ quirks I’ve noticed when it comes to Austrian people and their food. Read on for my most memorable ten.

  1. They love apricot jam

Apricot jam in Krapfen
Apricot jam goes in everything… especially Krapfen!

Forget all the other types of jam, apricot is King here. It goes in krapfen, in cakes, in pastries… they can’t get enough of it!

  1. They think this is a meal


This was dinner one night
This was dinner one night

They legitimately think that this, is an adequate evening meal. What more can I say?

  1. Toasted sandwiches with sauce and mayonnaise

Toastie with sauce and mayo
Add sauce and mayo… genius!

If you order a toastie (known here simply as a toast), it comes with a side of sauce and mayo, which you use to dip your sandwich in before eating. It’s odd, but it’s definitely not bad!

  1. They put pancakes in their soup!

frittaten soup
Crepes! In my soup!

True story. They take a standard beef broth, cook up a whole lot of crepes, cut them into thin lines and stir them on in. I guess it’s the equivalent of croutons, but it just doesn’t gel for me. Croutons themselves soak up the flavour of the soup, whereas pieces of crepe just add slimy suckers that aren’t quite noodles.

  1. Bread and soup

While I’m on the subject of soup, instead of dunking their piece of bread into the soup and eating it, they tend to take a slurp of soup, followed by a bite of bread, or vice-versa. Croutons are put into soup as usual. And on an extra note, for such a big soup country, I can’t remember ever seeing a soup spoon, except in a very fancy restaurant. Are they going out of style?

  1. Bread and butter

Just give me some butter to go with my bread!
Just give me some butter to go with my bread!

Moving onto bread, being offered bread with your meal is very common, but there’s generally no butter with that. I was delighted when one day in the canteen at work a visiting English guy asked where the butter was for his bread roll. It’s not just me!

  1. They put horseradish in EVERYTHING!

See the massive pile of horesradish... there won't be any left at the end
See the massive pile of horesradish… there won’t be any left at the end

I suppose every country has some kind of food ingredient they tend to overdo. Like dill in Ukraine or Guinness in Ireland. For Austria… it seems to be horseradish. It’s in every sandwich and is regularly used in cooking and as a topping for meat or fish. It spices up just about everything and leaves your mouth burning and your sinuses clear. Strangely enough, I like it – it’s kind of like the buzz you get from hot English mustard or wasabi.

  1. They eat this – Leberkäse

Looks gross.. tastes... well you should try it for yourself!
Looks gross.. tastes… well you should try it for yourself!

We have nicknamed it ‘Austrian Koala’, because it’s solid like a koala, and it’s kind of a national treasure in Austria (and Germany). It’s made from… oh I don’t even want to know what* and features worms of cheese squirting out of it. You cook it up, cut off a thick slab and slap it in a Semmel (bread roll) with sauce and mustard. It is revolting… oh except when you’ve been drinking, then somehow it’s amazing!

*Following a Google search it actually doesn’t sound as bad as it looks – Leberkäse (directly translates to ‘Liver Cheese’) is made from corned beef, pork, bacon and onions all mashed in together. In former times it was made with liver and other offal, hence the name.

  1. Meat comes with spaghetti

Have some roast pork... with pasta!
Have some roast pork… with pasta!

It’s quite common to get a side of pasta (or sitting on) with your pork roast or other lunchtime meat. To me, it’s just a weird combination and \ reminds me of those cheesy, plastic-y instant pasta packets we used to eat with dinner when I was a kid. To be fair, as a kid I loved them!

  1. Salad goes in a bowl, and you can eat it now

Grab your salad and dig right in!
Grab your salad and dig right in!

When eating out, there’s often a salad bar included. And kind of like picking chips off your plate before everyone gets their meal, it’s socially acceptable to hoe into your salad while everyone else is waiting. Many people will actually finish their salad before the main part of the meal comes out. Sometimes it even seems like the restaurant is waiting for you to finish it before they serve you something else.


5 thoughts on “Weird food stuffs – my Top 10 from Austria

  1. AmyDolores October 12, 2015 / 7:09 pm

    This is super interesting! Lots of bread and meat. Count me in 😉

    • debbiekaye1980 October 12, 2015 / 7:29 pm

      The Austrians do love their bread and meat, that’s for sure!

    • Cornelia Hanowski August 31, 2021 / 10:10 am

      I am austrian, omg where did you stay?Some points are definetely true: apricot jam is king, salad bar as appetizer, pancake soup in every restaurant, but never heard of horseradish on EVERYTHING, actually I know 2 dishes with horseradish on top/ asixe : “Tafelspitz” and “Brettljause” (the dish on your photo). I hate horseradish and would rather move to another country than eat it in my lunch sandwich! Also I think you were mistaken “Schnitzel” as another pork meat bc Austrians would never ever add pasta to their blessed and by law – name protected Wiener Schnitzel, but yes pasta like Mac ( not spaghetti) is a frequent side to meat.
      Plus if you really got only 2 sausages at dinner, thats really less, normally we eat that sausages additonally between the meals! I hope you had a wonderful stay in Austria though :-), and sorry for my bad english skills!

      • debbiekaye1980 September 4, 2021 / 9:22 am

        Thanks for your comments Cornelia and don’t mind your English skills, they are for sure better than my German! I am currently living in Carinthia. Perhaps horseradish is not on everything everywhere in Austria, perhaps it’s just that my family here seems to be horseradish crazy 😉 On Jause and on our Easter meal are the most common places I see it but it also goes in sandwiches in my household! And you’re right – there’s definitely no pasta with Schnitzel – as you say you can’t mess with that (I made a correction so thanks). On that day I only got two sausages for dinner, but like you say, it’s more common that this is a snack – I guess because Austrians tend to eat a big lunch this is ok for them in the evening 🙂 Thanks for reading!

  2. syl April 1, 2022 / 1:38 pm

    omg i want that meat

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