So I’m in dire need 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, despite growing international sections in Viennese grocery stores. So I did some digging and came up with these three options for finding Japanese food and ingredients in town.
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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, then proceeded to give me recipe tips and a recommendation for the required chili oil.
The store also had 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.
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: Faulmanngasse 5, 1040 Vienna | Website
Nakwon specialises in Asian food and ingredients. Supermarket is the right word – inside is just like a typical Austrian supermarket but with one key difference…all the food is Asian.
I visited the Zieglergasse branch where Korean food dominated the large range of products. It had a big Japanese section at the back, too (the Sake etc. was in a separate alcoholic drinks section though), and other sections for, for example, Taiwan, Indonesia and Thailand.
Address: Zieglergasse 12, 1070 Vienna (close to the U3 subway station Zieglergasse) and Rotensterngasse 31, 1020 Vienna (close to the U1 subway station Nestroyplatz) | Website
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 a handful of Asian outlets also make an appearance.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any luck with my sauces, though one stall owner kindly offered a similar dipping sauce as a substitute for Gyoza sauce.
Address: Naschmarkt, 1040 Vienna (close to Kettenbrückengasse and Karlsplatz subway stations)
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.