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You have to eat sausage in Vienna. You have to.
I don't know your life, but I do know you need to eat sausage in Vienna. If you are a vegetarian, I get that, and there are options for you at some of the finer purveyors, so you are included in this. Weiner schnitzel is delicious and all, but it actually originated in Milan. You should probable have a Sacher Torte at some point, but none of this negates the fact that you absolutely must eat some sausage -- or wurst, as they call it -- in Vienna. You have to.
Sausage in Vienna is the customary fast food. It's what people eat on the go or when it's a nice day for hanging around outside at one of the stands. The Viennese go for sausages after the opera, on their lunch breaks, before clubbing, after clubbing, and basically anytime they feel a little peckish. It's delicious. It's protein. It's sausage, all day, readily available, whenever you want it.
Sausages in Vienna are generally served sliced up and with mini forks. You will be asked whether you'd prefer a roll or bread with your sausage, and from what I understand, the correct response is "bread" (makes you sound like you know what you're doing). Also, you will uniformly be given mustard, even if you've ordered currywurst (sausage doused in curry powder). If you'd prefer a different sauce, you can certainly ask, but you'll probably look silly. The appropriate beverage to consume with your wurst is a beer -- and yes, it is perfectly acceptable to drink beer in the street in Vienna. Nobody does it much, at least not further than a few yards from a sausage stand, but it is, in fact, legal. I found this to be a killer cheap thrill:
Not all sausage is made equal. There are three particularly well-known sausage slingers in Vienna. Two are stands, and one is a micro-restaurant with some crazy, inventive flavors and art from local university students. We'll cover that one first.
Kiosk is the city's best-known indoor sausage stand (for lack of a better term). The cozy corner shop has a Lower East Side, NYC vibe, from the layout to the music to the staff. The blackboard serves as the menu, and you can order sausage, wine, beer and bread, and a few other options are available in case you go with lame friends. There is a vegetarian sausage option here, but the true star of the menu is the "Bosna." Kiosk is notoriously tight-lipped about how they make their sausages, and which kinds are made of what, but you know what? We don't really want to know how sausage is made, do we? No. In addition to their well-beloved Bosna, their currywurst is also extraordinary, and probably the best sausage I've ever had anywhere.
Kiosk also, as I mentioned, displays art work by local art students. In the gallery, you'll see a photo of the current display of portraits. Each one is available for just 100 euros, in case you're interested in investing in promising young artists, or would like a piece of local art for a souvenir.
The One By the Albertina
The Albertina is a historical museum/event space which we're not going to talk about; we're going to talk about the legendary sausage stand outside of it. Also known as "the one behind the State Opera," this stand offers all the standard sausage fare, and the patronage is half the fun. You'll see everyone from slumming students to opera-goers in full evening gowns at this stand, drinking beer and eating sausage with mini forks. You can try sausages of the same names at stands all over Vienna, but this one just packs a little extra magic.
The One by the Bermuda Triangle
Did you know there's a Bermuda Triangle in Vienna? There is; it's what they call their confusing little district of clubs just off the city center in the northern part of the Ring. While it's not a "cool" area, it's always full of clubbers and drunken teens wandering around and getting lost (thus the name). There's an especially good sausage stand right in front of it to serve said houligans, and you don't have to walk through any complicated streets to get there from the main drag; it's on the southern part of the area. By day or night, you'll find some of Vienna's tastiest offerings here, and if you map out your day correctly, it fits perfectly into a shopping or sightseeing schedule.
Check out the gallery below for more pics of these sausage destinations and, of course, more sausage.
Gallery: Sausage in Vienna
My visit to Vienna was sponsored by the Vienna Tourist Board and Cool Capitals, but the opinions expressed in the article are 100% my own.