Traditional Austrian cuisine (Österreichische Küche) originates back to the various styles of food preparation in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It has influences from hungarian, yugoslavian and czechoslovak kitchen. Austrian food usually is quite greasy, meat-centered with a lot of sauces and pastes, all made with a lot of fat. Vegetables will almost never be a main course, and are often served over-cooked and in small amount. However, the good side of Austrian kitchen is the main course, the meat. We got famous for the "Wiener Schnitzel", veal or pork coated with flour and bread crumbs. Americans may note that the all-so-popular Weiner sausage is called "Frankfurter" in Austria and is probably not originating from Austrian cooking tradition.
A meal will usually consist of a 3 or 4 course menu, with a soup, a main dish and a dessert. The Austrian chef differs between two basic types of soup:
- Klare Suppe, broth made of beef, chicken or veggies. It is supposed to increase the appetite
- Creme-, Samt- und Schaumsuppen, ingredients all blended up, usually vegetarian. It is a filling part of the meal.
Meat is most often fried and served with a thick, gravy-kind of sauce thats made with the leftover fat and lots of onions. Common dishes are "Zwiebelrostbraten", Cevapcici, and "Fleischlaberln" served with potatoe purèe. High-quality cuisine in good restaurants spends a lot of time refining these principals, but the main pillar of Austrian food is, was, and always will be meat with greasy sauces, yummy soups and sweet deserts.
No wonder "Zuckerbäcker" ("sugar baker") is an actual job in Austria, and the food industry is a vital part of our economy, since we have some of the best chocolates in the world and a a great deal of delicious dessert dishes. I made many parfaits, Strudels or cremès in my life, and must say this is in fact an art. So many things you can do with sugar...
There certainly is also a great tradition of fish-based dishes, but this is rather the domain of Italian cuisine, while the heavy food of the Austria kitchen has certain traits of ancient Roman Food.
mfk says re Austrian cuisine: LEIBERKAISSEN - it's like elvish waybread, eat that and never get hungry again
Leberkäse is probably the Austrian equivalent to a hamburger, it's sausage meat in a roll. Originally made from horse meat, it nowadays mostly is pork. The meat is rather pinkish and has a verrry yummy crust. Posh "Leberkäs-Semmeln" have Mustard and Pickles in them.