“No kangaroos in Austria.”
When I visited Vienna, I saw the abovementioned statement on several stores and stands. The gracious marsupial appeared “scratched” on t-shirts, caps and mugs.
Seems like Austrians are tired of people confusing their country with Australia. Because of that, they have come up with clever, “in your face” ways to make clear they are not located down under.
I am assuming the people who came up with this publicity gimmick were not thinking about what is cooked on the streets of this stately city. The kangaroo silhouettes posted all over Old Town morphed into tender and delicious ‘roo on the grill at one of the stands of the gastronomic festival taking place in front of the Rathaus (City Hall).
Sorry Austrians but I did find kangaroos in your country!
All jokes aside, Vienna is not the most budget friendly city in Europe. Austria is a progressive country with a high sense of aesthetics, culture and civility. That reality translates into pricey goods and services.
The good news is that the country’s high standard of living is fertile ground for film, book, arts, music and religious festivals. Those celebrations are backed up by a big number of food sellers. Austrians know what they are doing. Great festivals equal great food.
Therefore, here goes a golden nugget of wisdom. If you want to save money on food during your stay in Vienna, find the nearest festival (there are more than you think).
Venues in Old Town such as the Rathausplatz, the Museum Quarter and the Volksgarten are the perfect places to crash one of these festivals.
Here are some benefits of getting your food from a stall:
- Variety of local and international dishes
- All dishes under 10 Euros
- Good portion sizes (enough to leave you satisfied)
- Cooking techniques on some dishes will leave you speechless
- Opportunity to try something new
- Tons of locals to mingle with
During my stay on the city, the Film Festival was taking place. The event lasted a month and included a gastronomic festival composed of more than 20 sellers.
Since we fell in love with what we ate on our first day in the city, we returned the next two days. Let me tell you something. The food did not disappoint. Have to respect how this people cook (and how they cook pork, that was on another level).
Here is a sample of what we had. I am not responsible for excess drooling (and complication with your technical equipment).
A little starter before the main dish
Roasted pork with sauerkraut and potato dumplings
Lamb kofta with pilaf and yogurt sauce
For lack of a better description, these can be thought as “cut-up pancakes.” However, these are thicker and denser than their American cousins (which tend to be light and fluffy).
Batter is poured into a pan and cooked before being cutup. The pieces are then cooked again in the pan with some butter until everything looks golden brown on all sides. The traditional recipe involves raisins in the dough and plum compote as a side. Other variations are served. For example, I got half a portion of apple and half portion of blueberry. They were served with a creamy vanilla sauce (on the side).
Stir fry chicken and beef
Pulled pork with a baked potato
Surf ‘n Turf (the dark meat is the kangaroo)
What do you think of all that? Super delicious, right?
Here is a sample of the festivals and celebrations that you can attend. Some of these charge a fee for certain events but the party atmosphere (and the cheap eats) is tangible around the venues.
- Vienna Ball Season
- Easter Sunday and Monday
- May Day
- Vienna Festival
- Midsummer Eve celebrations
- Danube Island Festival
- Wiener Wies-Fest
- Austrian National Day
- Christmas Markets
This is only a small sample of the celebrations that take place in the city. Your hotel’s front desk should be able to provide you with more detailed information. Vienna has excellent information centers too.
Remember this is a city which takes its culture seriously. You may be able to find a festival that fits your preferences.
Markets are awesome places to find cheap eats in Vienna. Here are my recommendations:
- Naschmarkt – do not forget to read my post about this exciting place!
Affordable restaurants can be found throughout the city. Here are some good ones in case you need to properly sit down (and rest your feet).
- Wiener Deewan – pay as you want restaurant
- Bier & Bierli
- Wiener Wiaz Haus
Do not forget the ice cream!
- Eis-Greißler – the best in Vienna
For more recommendations, check websites like Yelp, Chowhound and Like a Local Guide.
Have you found any cheap eats in Vienna?
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