Käsekrainer Vienna Sausages
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Vienna Sausages - A Cultural Heritage in Vienna: Wiener Würstel

Vienna without sausage? Is barely conceivable. The sausage stands are the essence of the cityscape, obvious to every visitor at almost every corner. They didn’t appear just yesterday … they are a viennese institution since more than 100 years. Wanna eat a „Würstel‟?

Where day meets night, old meets young, drunken meets sober, hungry meets thirsty, skint meets monied. And for the lenght of a sausage there are no differences of any importance between the hungry souls.

The Vendor

Würstelstand Bitzinger Albertina - Vienna Sausage StandFor how many years is this going on now? At least since the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The sausage stands were installed to ensure an income for war invalides. Back then the stands had to be mobile, permanent locations and licences do exist since the 1960s. Today the vendors are no invalides anymore but still they are said to be part of an extraordinary kind of people. Grumpy or gassy – there are some varieties existing, but in any case they are of typical viennese style. Well … you could compare them to the taxi drivers, sort of. A real „Würstler‟ is talking to the guests and is anxious to keep up the lamenting, nagging and talking of „politics‟. Favourite topics? Soccer, daily business, viennese gossip, lovestories and gone-love-stories. Those stories are served extra hot and enjoyed and commented by interested and helpful strangers.

The Order

Bevor it’s getting relaxed – and right after you have chosen your favourite sausage – you will face a barrage of essential standard questions. In other words: You are attending a crash course „Austrian dialect for beginners‟: „Siass oder schoaf?‟ (sweet or spicy), „G’schnitt’n oder im Ganz’n‟ (sliced or whole), „Gurkerl dazua?‟ (some pickled gherkin?), „Brot oder Semmerl?‟ (bread or roll), „Woll’n S’ a Scherzerl?‟ (do you want the heel?), „Kren dazua?‟ (some horseradish?). Understood everything? Not al all? Well … the first questions deals with the varieties of mustard. There is a rather mild one and a spicier one, that’s it. Sometimes the „sweet‟ one will be called „Gschissener‟ (like „shitty‟) – take a look at this mustard if you don’t know why. And yes, Viennese language may seem to be rough sometimes. The choice of mustard, is followed by the question if the sausage should be sliced (and picked up with a small fork) or if you prefer to do this yourself (or simply bite off). From now on you can do it by yourself. If only the pickled gherkin is not offered as a „crocodile‟ … And the mysterious „Scherzerl‟ or „Bugl‟ is the heel of bread. Almost done. Do you need a drink now? This is not so difficult: Beer in a can (most original the Ottakringer, but there are others as well) or in a small bottle, and some softdrinks (original austrian the Almdudler) – you won’t need a language course for that.



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The menu

The one and only sausage … doesn’t exist. Instead there are around 20 varieties of sausages. Not all of them are offered at every sausage stand – everybody presents only a choice of specialities. An alltime favourite is the Frankfurter (which is called „Wiener‟ everywhere else in the world). This famous Würstel was invented in 1805 in Vienna by a butcher from Frankfurt. Inside the skin you find beef and pork sausage meat (Brät). The most famous Frankfurter fan was Kaiser Franz Joseph: He daily enjoyed a pair for a mid-morning snack. To help you out of the sausage jungle we’ve got some facts for you:

Burenwurst: Also called „Haaße‟ or „Burenhäut’l‟ (or Klobasse, outside of Vienna) is a popular part of the sausage culture. It mainly consists of bacon and sausage meat and needs water temperature right below boiling point for preperation.

Käsekrainer: The sausage meat is mixed with a good portion of cheese (10–25%) for this speciality which may be cooked or grilled. The Viennese sometimes call it „Eitrige‟ (the „purulent‟) – watch the cheese running out the Krainer and … enjoy your meal!

Waldviertler: Smoked sausage whith a dark skin filled with sausage meat and firm textured flesh inside. Typically served cooked, typically very tasty.

Debreziner: Smoked sausage made of coaresly ground meat, rather spicy for it’s seasoned with paprika and definitely the most orange sausage in the stand.

Bratwurst: If the „fried sausage‟ is a good one, than it’s probably the best choice. You will get a slim, light sausage which is fried until its skin is brown and crisp.




Some other offers could be the elegant Sacherwürstel (an extra long variation of the Frankfurter), GrillwurstTeufelsgriller (devilishly hot ones), Currywurst – some of the sausages you can order as „Einspänner‟ (single) or as a pair.

Important is not only the sausage menu, but the other dishes as famous as special – for example „Bosna‟ or „Leberkäse‟. The Bosna is similar to a hot dog – it’s a fried sausage in a baguette, brushed with a mix of mustard and onion. A topping of curry, cayenne pepper and parsley makes it even tastier. The Leberkäs (meat loaf) has nothing to do with „Leber‟ (liver) – the base is quite related to the Frankfurter. The sausage meat is not filled into a casing but it’s baked in the oven as big loaf. A slice of it in a roll, or a slice on the plate with bread – dinner is ready! There are varieties like cheese Leberkäs, spicy Leberkäs, pepperoncini Leberkäs and horse Leberkäs. The horsy one is typical viennese, but never made of Lippizaner.

The side dishes

Let’s have fun! Therefore we let you jump in at the deep end when it comes to the side dishes. Small onions (Perlzwiebel) or rolled-up herring (Teufelsroller), peperoncini, chili pepper or gherkin … all sour, all pickled. You can’t go wrong here, can you? Usually everything goes fine. But there is a certain point where the vinegar-bath of a gherkin has already lasted too long. This is when the gruffness of the sausage stand can even hit a local heroine quite hard. The author ordered a sausage and a pickled gherkin. Sausage fantastic, gherkin inedible. As she informed the vendor of this fact, his simple answer was: „Did I told you to order it?‟ Well … no … but this is another speciality of the sausage business: Not the guest, but the vendor is always right! If you want to enjoy this feeling while leading a sausage stand yourself for some minutes (plus choosing your prominent austrian guests like Falco or Emperor Franz Joseph) you should try this little game: www.wuerstelstand.net

In Vienna you will see a lot of sausage stands. Most of them are quite good, some of them are really good. And that’s why we have some reccommendations for you: The oldest stand is Leo (www.wuerstelstandleo.at), which is located since 1928 in the 9. district (Währingerstr. 170). His special offer is the imcomparable „Big Mama‟ (a half kilo of a Käsekrainer). Probably even more popular is the Bitzinger Albertina (in Augustinerstr. 1, 1. district, www.bitzinger.at/wuerstelstand), which is open until 5 o clock in the morning – ideal for early birds … or night owls? The Würstelstand am Hohen Markt is favored day and night too. (Hoher Markt 4, 1. district). XPEDIT Kiosk (Schleifmühlgasse 7/3, www.xpedit.at) in the 4. district is not really a traditional one for it’s rather a bistro. But it offers all the dishes you would get at a sausage stand, more exclusive than the others but the food is 100% organic.