Vienna – what’s the würst you could do?

Sorry, no more sausage puns I promise!

The Wiener sausage is to my mind an essential aspect of Viennese culture that has to be tried. Würstchen are long, thin sausages, made of a mixture of beef and pork in a sheep’s intestine casing and smoked using a special method. They are either grilled or heated in hot water for just a few minutes to prevent the skin from bursting. In Austria they are traditionally served with rye bread, sweet or mild mustard, ketchup, or alternatively with horseradish and/or potato salad.

They are now an international food. I’m half Norwegian and I was virtually brought up on them as they are now an intrinsic part of Norwegian culture (see my Oslo post). ‘Wieners’ are what Americans call hotdogs, and they are also called Wiener Würstchen in Germany. Interestingly however in Austria, Vienna sausages are called Frankfurter Würstl as it’s said they were brought to Vienna by Johann Georg Lahner, a butcher trained in Frankfurt, who in 1805 began to produce sausages from a mixture of pork and beef. Frankfurters differ however in that they are made of pure pork.

I love them and I’ve eaten hundreds in my life. While in Vienna though I was interested to try something different. The local favourite is the Käsekrainer. Krainer wurst (75 to 80% pork (aside from bacon), and at most 20% bacon, sea salt, garlic and black pepper stuffed into a pork intestine) are from the province of Carniola in Slovenia, a former duchy in the Austro-Hungarian empire. The Käsekrainer is an Austrian variation, invented in the 1980s, that contains 10% to 20% Emmental cheese.

I only touched the tip of the sausage iceberg though, and there are many more stands, and preparations, to be experienced. I went to three, and can strongly recommend the first two. They are all on my map, along with several untried stands.

Bitzinger Würstelstand Albertina (Initial A), 1 Albertinaplatz, opposite the Sacher, beside the Albertina museum,, open daily 8am–4am

According to many, not least Eurovision song contest winner Conchita Würst who should know her sausages, this is the best Würstelstand (hotdog stand) in Vienna.

There’s a wide range of choices including Bratwürst, Currywürst, Burenwürst, Waldviertler and Bosna. You can have them in a kaiser roll or as a hot dog. Besides the ketchup option, you can choose between sweet or spicy mustard, potato fries and potato pockets filled with cheese, as well as twelve different beers and champagne. I had their classic Käsekrainer with mustard and black bread.

And a can of Stiegel beer. Love the design.

It’s probably the most touristy, and the most pricey, stand in town, but they have won awards for their würstel and really know their stuff. If the tables are full you can take your sausage up the nearby stairs to the Albertina terrace to enjoy a view of the city.

Würstelstand am Hohen at 1 Markt Hoher Markt is open daily from 9am–4am.

After drinking at Labstelle or Kaffee Alt Wien (see my post on bars), you might be in the mood for a late night hot dog just along the road.

I had a great cheese filled Käsekrainer here (A).

Würstelstand Südtirolerplatz, Wiedner Gürtel 10, 1040 Wien, Austria

This stand is very handy for the main train station.

I had a Bratwurst, a type of German sausage made from a mixture of meats, mainly pork but also some beef and veal. I had the special with chopped onion, ketchup, curry and cayenne pepper, not realising the curry and cayenne pepper were in uncooked powder form, which is just wrong I’m afraid. I scraped it off and ate the sausage which was fine.

Oh well, it could have been würst (sorry I lied!). So choose carefully and wisely! There is a sausage for you in Vienna somewhere.

Time for a drink now…

One thought on “Vienna – what’s the würst you could do?”

  1. I believe that at one point early on in the coronavirus onset there was a possibility that Germany would be reduced, through supply line problems, to a diet of sausage and cheese. This was described as ‘the Würst Käse scenario’.

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