Vienna meets Asia – in a culinary sense!
Vienna is not left out in the cold as regards various global food trends. The metropolis on the Danube has much more to offer than only schnitzel or chicken salad – on the contrary, in addition to pizza, vegetarian restaurants and Third Wave Coffee, it is the new Asian cuisine which is setting a new food trend in the capital. Running sushi or pan-Asian “all you can eat buffets” are increasing in popularity and numbers in the Viennese suburbs. The new trendy restaurants are cooking Japanese ramen, Vietnamese pho, ban mi sandwiches and Taiwanese bao burgers.
Tokyo in Vienna’s seventh district, Neubau: Maris Metcha Matcha
For decades now, sushi has been available in Austria. Japanese cuisine has become standard in Vienna but there are varying degrees of quality. Ramen, the Japanese version of soup and the most popular dish of the Japanese themselves, has only recently become widely available in the city. It is also considered Japanese “soul food”. Especially when it is cold outside, the soup, garnished with various ingredients, will not only warm your soul. The first step to a perfect ramen is the choice of noodles and one can select from somen, soba and udon. The difference between these types of noodles lies in their thickness.
Mari‘s Metcha Matcha, located close to the Volkstheater (the „People’s Theatre“) is a typical ramen eating establishment. At first glance, you almost have the feeling that you are in the middle of Tokyo. The restaurant and its interior are typically Japanese: wood and minimalism in a positive sense. The Japanese beer as well as the kitsune-ramen with half an egg and the slightly sweet curd strips can be highly recommended. And no visit would be complete without the homemade Matcha cheesecake with fresh fruit.
Mari’s MetchaMatcha Wasyoku Cafe-Restaurant
Address: Neustiftgasse 7, 1070 Vienna
Burgers “Made in Taiwan” in Vienna’s seventh district
Zollergasse, a side street of the lively shopping mile, Mariahilfer Straße, is becoming increasingly interesting from a culinary perspective. Here you will find some great restaurants such as the Bao Bar, which describes itself as a “modern Asian diner”. The diner is dedicated to the street food which is popular in Taiwan: gua bao – a slice of stewed meat and other ingredients sandwiched between flat steamed bread (therefore similar to the Austrian Germknödel, yeast dumplings) which is freshly prepared in traditional bamboo steamers. The small Asian „burgers“, which are a little reminiscent of Mexican tacos, are filled with meat or tofu and a mixed variety of other ingredients. As a side dish, you can choose from sweet potato chips, a wonderful sesame-slaw or edamame, salted Japanese soya beans.
In summer the Bao Bar has a small garden for its guests while in the cold months it can be a little crowded in the small restaurant.
Address: Zollergasse 2, 1070 Vienna
Vietnam goes Vienna
Previously Chinese restaurants were the epitome of Asian cuisine but Vietnamese restaurants have now taken their place. Never before has far eastern cuisine been so popular. A trend which has also arrived in Vienna as is clearly obvious from the many and above all diverse Vietnamese eating establishments in the city.
Franco-Vietnamese sandwiches in the Old Quarter
In Westbahnstraße in Vienna’s seventh district, Neubau, and not far from Neubaugasse itself, you will find the Old Quarter. A small sandwich bar with two larger bistro tables and hip juice in a refrigerator – drinks such as Club Mate, Fritz and Tirola Cola are standard here.
In the Old Quarter, there is no pho or soup. The owner, from the Austrian province of Styria with Vietnamese roots, specialises in sandwiches. The so-called Franco-Vietnamese Banh Mi is made from a classical French baguette to which additional rice flour is added when baking it. The fillings are, however, very Asian, for example, meat and fish or, for the veegetarian version, lemon grass tofu. A must is, of course, coriander, further exotic herbs and spices as well as the homemade mayonnaise.
Old Quarter – Banh Mi
Address: Westbahnstraße 10, 1070 Vienna
Nguyen’s Pho House turns Vienna into Hanoi
A few years ago, Lerchenfelderstraße, which separates the districts of Josefstadt and Neubau from each other, was a culinary no-man’s land. But this has greatly changed! Few streets into the city centre of Vienna offer such a wide range of culinary delights – from the Gürtel (literally, the “Belt”, a ring road encircling the second to the nineteenth districts of Vienna) to the city centre. And exactly in the middle of this street, you will discover the Vietnamese, Nguyen’s Pho House. As is possibly obvious from its name, the open kitchen in this friendly restaurant is dedicated to pho, Vietnamese soup. This soup is a hearty broth with rice noodles to which further ingredients can be added according to your wishes: meat, tofu, onions, mint, chilli, coriander, lemon slices, to name but a few.
Pho is a classical Asian street food. But this is not taken literally in Nguyen’s Pho House, where you can take your time to enjoy your soup with maybe a spring roll as a starter. Word has spread in the city about the good reputation of the restaurant and you may have to wait a little longer at times. We recommend, therefore, that you reserve a table.
Nguyen’s Pho House
Address: Lerchenfelder Straße 46, 1080 Vienna
In Vienna, the Asian restaurants, in particular, offer a wide range of wonderful food for vegetarians and vegans. But of course, they are also well worth a visit for lovers of both fish and meat.