In this article, I will tell you about the three most popular Austrian fast food dishes and where to find the best Austrian street food in the old town of Salzburg.
Original Bosna at the Balkan Grill in Getreidegasse
Food in Salzburg, in other parts of Austria and even in Bavaria, is similar with few exceptions. One of those exceptions is Bosna. Bosna is similar to a hotdog. It contains two sausages, raw onion, and curry powder. Sometimes also mustard and parsley.
Bosna was invented by Bulgarian Zanko Todoroff in 1949 when he prepared and sold it at the Augustiner brewery. He was so successful already in the first year that he was able to afford the Balkan Grill Imbiss in Getreidegasse, where they still serve the traditional Bosna nowadays.
The name Bosna probably originates from the fact that Todoroff gave his new invention a strange name which Austrians were not able to remember. They started calling it Bosna (Bosnian for Bosnia) because they associated spicy food and raw onions with Slavic cuisine.
You find Bosna at most sausage stands in Salzburg, but the Balkan Grill Imbiss only sells Bosna. They offer five different variations, but I only consider two of them. Number one is without mustard. Number two is with mustard. Three, four, and five are not worth mentioning.
They are either without onion or with ketchup which is just wrong.
Nowadays, Bosna becomes popular in other cities, but they are not doing a great job of imitating it. I remember a sausage stand in Linz where they didn’t even know how to spell it. Instead of “Bosna”, the sign said “Bosner”. So I advise you to take your chance and get a Bosna in Salzburg.
In summer, when Getreidegasse is busy, you should be prepared to wait awhile for the original Bosna. The stand is tiny, and there is often only one person working, and people could be lining up until the end of the tunnel in which it is located.
Name: Balkan Grill Walter
Address: Getreidegasse 33, 5020 Salzburg
Sausages at the Salzburger Grill Imbiss
Similar to Austrian coffee houses, sausage stands have a long tradition and their own culture. Sausage stands are the only Austrian street food places in Salzburg you find open at night. Heck, they are the only Austrian street food places.
Other street food in Austria is not Austrian food, and Bosna is just another sausage dish.
Since some sausage stands are open all night, they are places for drunks who wash down the alcohol with fatty sausage and rolls before they head home. But a sausage stand is also a place where festival guests satisfy their hunger during the break of an opera for which they have paid hundreds of euros.
And then there are usual suspects. Similar to the coffee house, a sausage stand is a place for information exchange and has its own set of rules. Instead of with Coffee, the important things in life are discussed with a can of beer.
Where to find the best Sausages in Salzburg?
The sausage stand I would like to recommend to you, the Salzburger Grill Imbiss is on the intersection between the heart of the touristy old town and the posh festival district. But it’s also the most popular sausage stand among locals. An institution, so to speak.
The Salzburger Grill Imbiss is not only the place for the highest quality sausages in Salzburg but Raymond, the owner, is one of the most welcoming and fun sausage chefs you could encounter. Raymond has all the typical sausages, and you can also get Bosna there. Frankly, I don’t notice a difference between the original in Getreidegasse and Raymonds.
The sausage I would recommend you to try is Käsekrainer. A sausage with melted cheese inside. If you are crazy about spicy eating, read the article I link to in the next paragraph and ask Raymond about it!
Because the sausage topic is too broad for this article and because I have a long history with the Salzburg Grill Imbiss, I wrote another article about the only Austrian Street Food and how I became the General. Read it, if you would like to become an expert on Austrian street food and know the story of the first and only Grill Imbiss General of Salzburg.
Name: Salzburger Grill Imbiss
Address: Wiener-Philharmoniker-Gasse 2A, 5020 Salzburg
Leberkäsesemmel at the Butcher Shop
The reason I call the food in this article Austrian Fast Food and not Austrian Street food is that the only actual Austrian street food vendors are sausage stands. Let me explain!
Bosna is Salzburg hotdog, and there is the original Bosna stand. Otherwise, Bosna is available at sausage stands and at a few Kebab places. The Austrian fast-food I would like to introduce now is rarely available at sausage stands.
What is Leberkäse, and how we Eat it?
Leberkäse would translate into liver cheese, but in reality, there is little to no liver and no cheese in Leberkäse. Leberkäse is best translated as an Austrian meatloaf.
It might be the favorite fast food of Local Austrians. In every supermarket with a delicacy counter, you find Leberkäse. Every supermarket, except for the discounters (Lidl, Hofer), has a delicacy counter. Hence, every supermarket in the old town of Salzburg has one. At these delicacy counters, there are warm meat variations in an oven readily available for take away.
Leberkäse is the most popular of those meat variations, but we don’t just order Leberkäse.
What we do is we order Leberkäsesemmel, a bread roll with a slice of Leberkäse.
Why Leberkäse is the most popular Local Fast Food?
Because most supermarkets prepare Leberkäsesemmel, it’s something everyone would occasionally buy when grocery shopping. It’s much more readily available than sausages.
Let me give you an example of how ingrained Leberkäse is in our everyday life!
I used to work on the construction site when I was 16 years old. Because I was the apprentice, I had to get the 10 am snacks (Jause) for everyone, every day. These snacks mostly consisted of variations of Leberkäsesemmel. Leberkäse is part of the Austrian construction site culture.
How to order your Leberkäsesemmel?
By variations, I mean that you can order add-ons to your Leberkäsesemmel like pickles or pepperoni or mustard, mayonnaise, or ketchup. These will go into the bread roll on top of the Leberkäse. In the case of Leberkäsesemmel, other than with Bosna, I consider it legit to add mayonnaise or mustard.
Ketchup wouldn’t be my personal choice, but it’s not an atrocity like adding ketchup to Bosna.
And you can choose between standard Leberkäse and Käsleberkäse (with actual cheese). Sometimes there are a few more variations like Pizzaleberkäse, but they are not worth considering. Käsleberkäse, with actual melted cheese inside, however, is more delicious than normal Leberkäse, in my opinion.
Where to buy your Leberkäsesemmel?
As I said, Leberkäse is readily available in most supermarkets. You just order at the deli counter where the cold cuts are. The better option, however, is a butcher shop. There is one I especially like because it’s a family-owned traditional business right in the heart of the old town. The name is Fleischerei Erlach in Siegmund Haffner Gasse.
These local businesses in the old town are getting increasingly rare because they don’t make their money from tourists but from loyal local customers. What the butcher shops mainly sell is raw meat and other ingredients for cooking.
Leberkäse, despite being the most popular Austrian fast food remains a secret among tourists because you don’t get the idea to order something in the supermarket or butcher shop that you don’t know and that is not advertised.
I encourage you to go and try Leberkäsesemmel, visit the Salzburger Grill Imbiss, and eat a Bosna at the Grill Imbiss or the Original Balkan Grill in Getreidegasse. These are your best bets and all the advice you need when searching for Austrian Fast Food.