Forget the Imperial Palaces, gothic cathedrals, masterpiece-filled museums, magical Christmas markets and stirring music scene inspired by famous residents including Mozart and Beethoven, frequent visitors to Vienna would argue it’s food that is arguably the city’s biggest drawcard.

If you’re looking for where to start of your Viennese hunger list here are six dishes you cannot leave Austria’s elegant capital without eating.

Viennese Food

Gulasch

Craving some comfort food? Look to gulasch, a tasty beef stew which began life as the humble dish of Hungarian shepherds. At the start of the 19th century, however, this spicy meat stew enjoyed a renaissance and found its way into mainstream Viennese cuisine.

In Vienna, the Saftgulasch gulasch – whose key ingredients are fatless meat and onions – reigns supreme.

Gulasch

Kaiserschmarrn

Prepared from pancake dough, kaiserschmarrn is one of the best-known – and most delicious – sweets of Viennese cuisine. These scrambled pancakes were first prepared for Emperor Franz Josef, hence their moniker the emperor’s mess’.

The dish is lavishly dusted with icing sugar and traditionally served either with zwetschkenröster (plum compote) or with a generous spoonful of apple, pear or berry preserve. It’s a dish that is truly fit for an emperor.

Kaiserschmarrn

Sachertorte

It would be criminal to visit Vienna and not sample at least once slice of Sachertorte, a rich chocolate cake invented by chef Franz Sacher for Prince Metternich in 1832.

Expect a chocolate gateau laced with apricot jam and decadently topped with chocolate icing, but if that’s not enough to impress, Sachertorte tastes best when served with a portion of unsweetened whipped cream. Is your mouth watering yet?

Sachertorte

Strudel

Apple strudel or apfelstrudel in German, is one of Vienna’s favourite classics. And rightly so: the combination of thin, crisp layered pastry and soft, sweet fruit cannot be beaten.

Smitten with strudel? Catch the hourly Apple Strudel show at the Schönbrunn Palace where at every hour, a professional pastry chef hand-bakes original Viennese apple strudel at the demonstration bakery held at Café Residenz. Not only will you learn how this delicious dessert is made but you’ll be given the original recipe so that you can recreate it for yourself back home.

Strudel

Viennese sausages

A humbled dish mixed from pork, mild spices, sheep intestines and water, the sausage was brought to Vienna from Frankfurt in the 19th century, where it was refined with beef to create a Viennese version.

For lunch on the run, and a very Viennese experience, head to one of the local sausage stands peppered about the city. Vienna’s sausage stands are a home from home for everyone from students to office workers, opera-goers, the late-night party crowd and just about anybody looking to satisfy their hunger.

Viennese sausages

Wiener Schnitzel

If you try just one dish while in Vienna, it has to be the Wiener (Viennese) Schnitzel. Cuts of veal are fried in a traditional manner until golden crispy brown and served with a generous dollop of lingonberry jam, lemon wedges and either buttered potatoes, a potato salad or fries.

Recipes for this delicacy, which is protected under Austrian law, can be found in Viennese cookery books since the 18th century.

Wiener Schnitzel

Hungry for a taste of Austria’s celebrated capital? Check out our guides to Vienna and wet your appetite for the Imperial City.

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