So I’m in hot pursuit of traditional Japanese Gyoza and Yakiniku sauces, and not confident of my sauce-making skills. The obvious alternative is to pick some up from a store in Vienna.
Shockingly, my local supermarket doesn’t stock either: it’s largely soy sauce or nothing on the Asian front there. But Vienna is an international city, so I did some digging and came up with these three top options for finding Japanese food:
Address: Faulmanngasse 5, 1040 Vienna
The big “Japanmarkt” sign above the door is reassuringly clear about the focus of this grocery store. Nippon-Ya has the feel of a family-run corner shop, with stocks of Japanese food and drink, plus tea-related and other crockery items.
The staff were very friendly. I found my Yakiniku sauce, but Gyoza sauce was sold out. The elderly gentleman at the cash desk then took me to one side and explained that most Japanese make their own, proceeded to give me recipe tips and a recommendation for the required chili oil.
The store also has the sweetest tip jar I’ve ever seen. You put a coin on top of a box and this activates a small opening – out pops a cat’s paw and pulls in the coin.
The surrounding area (and up Operngasse) has the feel of a mini-Japanese quarter – almost next door is Cha No Ma, for example, a relaxing little tea house offering Matcha, Sencha and traditional snacks like Onigiri or Dorayaki.
Matcha is ground Japanese green tea that is simply dissolved in hot water. Sencha is tea made by infusing whole tea leaves. So an appropriate place to relax once you’ve done your shopping at Nippon-Ya.
Address: Zieglergasse 12, 1070 Vienna (close to the U3 subway station Zieglergasse) and Roternsterngasse 31, 1020 Vienna (close to the U1 subway station Nestroyplatz)
Nakwon is the retail arm of the Euro Handel wholesale business specialising in Asian food and ingredients. Supermarket is the right word – inside is just like a typical Austrian supermarket with one key difference – all the food is Asian.
The large range is dominated by Korean food, but there’s a big Japanese section at the back (the Sake etc. is in a separate alcoholic drinks section though), and other sections, for example, for Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand. I found both my sauces without any trouble.
Address: Naschmarkt, 1040 Vienna (close to Kettenbrückengasse and Karlsplatz subway stations)
Now if anywhere is going to have an international rarity, it’s the Naschmarkt food market and its 120+ stalls. Most of the international food stalls are oriented toward the cuisine of Turkey and the Middle East, but there are a handful of Asian outlets. Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck with my sauces, though one stall owner offered a similar dipping sauce as a substitute for Gyoza sauce.
P.S. Dotted about Vienna you’ll find quite a few more general Asian and Oriental supermarkets, which stock the commonest foodstuffs with some regional specialties.