REVEALED: The Austrian foods foreigners find hard to stomach

REVEALED: The Austrian foods foreigners find hard to stomach
Austria's most famous culinary export, the Wiener Schnitzel. Photo: DPA/Eisenhut & Mayer

The waiters are rude, the servings are big and the Austrians sure do love their paprika flavour - at least, that's what readers of The Local Austria believe. Share you own thoughts in the comment section.


While Austria doesn't have quite the foodie reputation of some neighbours, its position in central Europe makes it a place where many different cuisines combine and mingle. 

But foreigners living in the country are often underwhelmed by the cuisine on offer and some appear to be even downright disgusted by certain dishes.

Schnitzel surprise

Respondents to a recent survey by The Local were eager to answer when asked what surprised and shocked them the most regarding Austrian food and drink culture - and the iconic Wienerschnitzel played a significant role. 

READ MORE: How did the Wiener Schnitzel become an Austrian icon? 

Albert Ross, 50, a Briton who lives in Vienna, was scathing: "Bland and uninteresting. The schnitzel (is an) oversized piece of flattened, fried meat served with potatoes and a slice of lemon. Unimaginative and boring."

His ire was not restricted to the main course: "Sachertorte is (a) very ordinary chocolate sponge cake."

Caroline, 41, a Dane who lives in Marbach an der Donau, had reservations regarding the sides alongside her schnitzel: "Dry rice! Rice served with breaded schnitzel and no sauce."

She also had a problem with Knödel and wasn't too keen on "Currywurst and curry powder on a hotdog!"

Caroline also expressed shock at the drinking culture: "Wine is served after dinner as opposed to with it."

Others took umbrage at other beverages - and those serving them. 

READ ALSO: The Austrian eating habits the world could learn from

Laura, 25, a Brazilian in Salzburg, couldn't believe the Austrian obsession with paprika-flavoured things. She also expressed disbelief at consuming vast amounts of Sprudel, or carbonated water: "Sparkling water everything - even juice? Mangosaft gespritzt?"

Ilya, a 35-year-old Russian living in Vienna, was succinct about what shocked him the most: "Rude and unprofessional waiters."

Perhaps he's unfamiliar with the city's legendarily grumpy waiters.


What am I eating? 

Readers of The Local were also emphatic when asked to name the strangest foods they'd been served in Austria. 

"Mohnnudeln" answered Jimi, a 32-year-old Australian living in Vienna, continuing "why so much mohn?". This refers to the poppy seeds covering the dish of noodles, butter, and confectioner's sugar, beloved by the Viennese. 

Others were confronted by the range of pork products. 

Dip, a 27-year-old from Bangladesh living in Vienna, found Leberkäse a strange and exotic dish, as did Laura, who had strong opinions on when it was served: "Leberkassemmel and Weißwürstl in the morning!!!"

Leberkäse means liver and cheese but the dish is usually made of finely-chopped pork, bacon and beef - although sometimes it has horsemeat in it.

Ilya responded: "Sülze", indicating the meat and jelly spread on many breakfast tables throughout the country. 

READ MORE: Revealed: The best and worst Austrian foods (as voted for by you)


Benefits of Austrian cuisine for the waistline

Despite a ubiquitous belief that serving sizes were more significant in Austria - "The food portions here are large compared to Asian portions", according to Dip - many found that Austria's food culture was forcing them to eat better.  

Dip continues: "People here maintain a generally good lunch and dinner timeline here. My food routine has improved greatly compared to where I lived before."

Laura said she was eating less starchy carbs: "Definitely fewer chips and snacks during the day", she told The Local, "because the chips are just bad and tasteless - which is a good thing in my opinion."

Jimi told The Local that his alcohol consumption was down, and his consumption of fresh produce was up: "I eat much more bio produce and drink more water with my wine."

Ilya bucked the trend, referring to that most famous Austrian dish, stating simply: "More schnitzel."

What are your views regarding Austrian food? Let us know in the comments section below.


Comments (3)

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Jimi 2023/12/18 09:01
Typo in my quote in the last section - 'bip produce' should be 'bio/organic produce'
  • Amanda Previdelli 2024/01/01 20:12
    Hi, Jimi, just fixed it! Thanks for letting us know :)
Richard 2023/12/17 03:39
No mention of kraut dishes! Especially when it is served as a main course.
Emma 2023/12/16 06:51
Austrian foods, seems to me to be lots of processed meats, too much salt and lacking fresh vegetables, and quite bland. However, lovely salads! but they are also heavily salted and with oils...but they're delicious. I work with children and it's shocking how many kids eat processed sausages "würstl" every single day. I wouldn't really say that Austrian food is healthy.

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