Many variants of sausages at the sausage stand
Let’s make one thing clear right away: if you’re a vegetarian the Würstelstand (sausage stand) is not the place for you. The Würstelstand has sausages – and that’s about all. But there are plenty of varieties: there’s the Burenwurst (in Viennese “Haße” – “hot one”), Käsekrainer (cheese kransky), Frankfurter (known outside Austria as a “Wiener”), Bosna, Waldviertler, Debreziner and Leberkäse. Each of them comes with mustard (sweet or spicy) and ketchup, sometimes with horseradish, and always with a bread-roll or a thick slice of rye bread – if you wish, the last slice of the loaf, the “Scherzerl” oder “Bugl”.
“The Würstelstand enjoys great popularity. It has become a Viennese trademark like the Heurigen or the coffeehouse.” The Vienna journalist Georg Schubert on the phenomenon of the Würstelstand, 2012.
As a side-dish…
there’s pickled vegetables such as chili peppers (mild or spicy), pickled cucumbers and if you’re lucky pearl onions. The whole feast is authentically served on a paper plate, already sliced and with a small plastic fork. The obligatory beer from the can – affectionately known as a 16er-Blech after the Ottakringer brewery in the 16th district – tops it all off. You guessed it – the Würstelstand definitely is not a great culinary revelation, but it is a real Viennese institution. Back in the days of the emperor, the mobile stands with their portable sausage boilers were meant to guarantee an income to war invalids. From the 1960s onwards the sausage sellers were required to have fixed locations, and the Würstelstand was born.
Nowadays the Würstelstand is just the thing for party animals and ball-goers looking for refreshment after dancing the night away – it’s the meeting place for those seeking a fortifying snack late at night. That’s when taxi-drivers, homeless people, students, actors, politicians and passers-by stand peacefully cheek by jowl, and munch contentedly on their sausages. And often they’ll get to chatting, just because it’s so nice at the Würstelstand.
Text: Verena Brandtner, Fotos: Christine Wurnig