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Seven 'weird' foods in Austria you need to try at least once

Julia Hjelm Jakobsson
Julia Hjelm Jakobsson - [email protected]
Seven 'weird' foods in Austria you need to try at least once
In Austria, Leberkäse is a fast and convenient option when you are hungry. Photo by Allen Rad on Unsplash

Austria is much more than schnitzel and sausages and you can find some very strange dishes here, from fried brains to pancake soups.


Austrian cuisine holds many interesting typical dishes worth experiencing. Here, we list seven of those that may seem strange to foreigners.


Austria is not the only country to serve rendered animal fat as a snack at events, but the small appetizer is quite popular here.

Schmalz is a paste made from rendered pig, chicken, or other animal fat and is used in multiple ways in the Austrian kitchen. When cooking, you can easily create schmalz from the fat leftovers from frying, a smart way to avoid wasting resources.

Although schmalz is mainly used as a cooking fat, it is also a common spread for bread and crackers. In fact, it is a popular treat during events, such as wine cellar openings, where it is believed to help visitors absorb alcohol more slowly.

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Egg with brain

Egg with brain, or in German "Hirn mit Ei," is a traditional Austrian (Viennese) dish that consists of a breaded or fried calf's brain served with a poached or fried egg on top.

The brain is usually seasoned with different spices and cooked until tender, and the dish is famous for its creamy texture.

Hirn mit Ei used to be a very common dish among Austrians in the past when it was essential not to waste any food and eat what was possible from tail to nose. Today, the dish is less common in Austria but is still eaten and seen as an important and traditional part of Austrian cuisine.

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Germknödel is a dessert that will make your head turn the first time you catch sight of it. It looks like a massive ball of dough, and that is more and less exactly what it is.

The dessert is a fluffy dumpling made mainly from yeast, flour, and sugar. Inside the fluffiness, you normally find a bit of plum jam, and the outside of the dumpling is often covered with poppy seeds and melted butter.


Although it is a dessert, many people eat it as the main and only course, which seems rather logical given its size and weight.

Germknödel is a common dish in the mountains. It is associated with social gatherings in winter, celebrations, and après-ski activities, where it is enjoyed as a comforting and very filling treat.

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Leberkäse is something that evokes childhood memories for many Austrians, perhaps because it was and still is a convenient and readily available cheap snack found almost everywhere.

Leberkäse is one of Austria's most common food dishes. Despite its name containing the word "liver" (Leber), it normally does not contain liver, which is a common misunderstanding, especially among foreigners.


To make Leberkäse, finely ground meat (usually pork or beef) is mixed with bacon, onions, salt, pepper, and other spices. The mixture is then packed into loaf pans and baked until cooked through. Once baked, Leberkäse is served sliced and is a great option if you are hungry at festivals, markets, or simply while on the go in a city.

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Pancake soup

In Austria, it is almost more common to slice up a pancake and put it in a soup than it is to actually eat a pancake on its own. Pancake soup, or in German, Frittatensuppe, is a very popular dish in Austrian cuisine.

The soup consists of a clear beef broth served with thinly sliced pancake strips, known as "Frittaten," which float around in it.

Frittatensuppe is often served as a comforting meal and is very popular during the winter months. It is commonly eaten as a starter before a main course, but it is also enjoyed on its own as a lighter snack, often together with a slice of bread.

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READ MORE: Is it OK to ask for a doggy bag in an Austrian restaurant?

Salzburg Nockerl

This is one of Austria's most popular desserts, which often looks like a piece of art. It is also not something you eat every day, as it takes time to make and always needs to be prepared fresh.


Salzburger Nockerl is named after the three most notorious mountain peaks in the Salzburg skyline, and the dessert is shaped like them.

The mountain-shaped dessert is seen as a good source of protein - at least for a dessert. Its main ingredients are eggs, sugar, flour, and vanilla. It is made by whipping egg whites to stiff peaks and then combining them with sugar, flour, and vanilla. This mixture is then spooned into peaks and baked until puffed and golden.

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Many Austrians love to drink Buttermilch, especially during warmer months. Buttermilch is the liquid that remains after butter has been churned from cream. 

The drink has a slightly sour and tangy flavour, and you can sometimes see people walking around with big glasses of it while visiting an Austrian sauna or spa establishment.

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READ NEXT: Is the Wiener Schnitzel really from Vienna?


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