There’s no more colourful way of shopping than by braving the gauntlet of Vienna’s largest market, the Naschmarkt. Here are 15 tips, tricks and highlights of how to experience the Naschmarkt at its best.
1. Nasch (snack) at the Naschmarkt and take the tastings
Do what all those stall vendors demand: take their samples of olives, dried fruits, and wasabi-covered peanuts. There’s really no strings attached, and you’ll be full by the time you are spat out the other end of the market. Oh, and be sure to politely accept the compliments with a gracious smile when they’re calling you a handsome man or a beautiful woman.
2. Burn for the wasabi peanut
For some reason, the spicy, crunchy little green wasabi peanuts have become a best selling item at the Naschmarkt. If you like the sharp spice of wasabi, you’ll love these little firecrackers. If you decide to take a bag home, don’t pay more than 4€ for a 500g bag.
3. Visit the weekend sellers for cheaper fruit and veggies
On the weekend, the market extends with a bunch of vendors from surrounding farms joining the conga line of stands. Typically, these fruit and veg’ stands located close to the Kettenbrückengasse U4 subway station, are cheaper than the permanent stands at the market.
4. Weird and wonderful fruits at the Öyzürek Keg. Fruit stand (stand 609–610)
If it’s a papaya, a dragon fruit, a cute baby pineapple, or a rambutan you’re looking for, this is your dealer in exotic fruits, boasting the largest range of fruits at the market.
5. Stop for a antipasto plate at La Bottega del Gusto (stand 618)
Hidden behind some of the stands dealing in all the tasty elements that make up a glorious antipasto plate – stuffed peppers and olives, peperoncini, mushrooms, anchovies, artichoke hearts (we could go on, but we’re drooling a little), are little bistros where you’ll see people picking at antipasto plates they’ve mixed and matched at the front cabinets, while sipping on wine. We recommend you join these people at La Bottega del Gusto. The price is lower than some of the others, while the quality of the foods will make you want to pay more!
6. Get all your herbs and spice needs at the world of spice, Gewürzland (stand 497)
This is a library of herbs and spices, where all kinds of rare (and common) seasonings are stacked high out front and on the back wall. You’ll be sure to discover spices and herbs you’ve never heard of, like the ‘sex spice’ and ‘unicorn spice’ we came across during the 30 minutes we spent scanning the collection.
7. Where to get your falafel
The Turkish past and present presence in Vienna is nowhere more obvious than at the Naschmarkt, hence why grabbing a dozen falafel is a must when visiting. We recommend getting your fluffy chickpea balls of goodness (along with some tasty Hummus) from Dr. Falafel (stand 560), who claims to have the best falafel in town. While this call is a big one in a city full of falafel, we’d agree they do make a mean version of it.
Meanwhile, we’d suggest you visit the less flashy nameless stand 360 where you can buy 20 pieces for 2€. They’re not only the cheapest in the market, but they’re damn tasty.
8. Dislocate your jaw for the best kebab in town at Aycan
One of the best kebabs in town can be had at the halal butcher, Aycan. The characters behind the kebab stand attached to the butcher – where cheap, quality halal meat can be sourced – entertain the passing crowds with their random yelling, while simultaneously putting together fat, tasty kebabs for only 3€.
9. Ayurveda Naturkost (stand 600)
This place stocks the world. For all of your Asian foods (especially Indian), or all the specific stuff needed for Ayurveda therapies and practices, this family-owned store is your dealer.
10. Welcome to the republic of tea-stan (stand 362–363)
We love the moment when they open the tea tins here, start scooping the tea leaves out, and the smells of the tea explode and are released. This is one of the most satisfying experiences at the Naschmarkt for us which gives us a momentary feeling of being somewhere far, far away. If you like variety in your life when it comes to tea, visit this tea stand.
11. Get pickled at the stand (stand 246–248) bearing a barrel of Sauerkraut and gherkins
This stand is a veteran and a local legend of the market, and even though the character behind it, Gurken Leo, sold it a while back, getting a fistful of pickled gherkins or a shovel of Sauerkraut from the big barrels out front is a must Naschmarkt experience.
12. Sip wine with the city’s personalities at Urbanek
This is another veteran of the market and one that has drawn famous personalities and prominent politicians for years. It’s one of those places that own a unique personality that has led to it becoming a favourite birthmark in the city. This ‘old favourite’ status has a lot to do with the family that owns it. The owners will make you a delicious Jausenplatte (Austrian antipasto plate) and drinking some quality Austrian wines.
13. For the love of cheeses: Käseland
There’s over 200 different kinds of cheeses, from over 15 countries housed at Käseland (cheese land). The sweet and sour smells of the cheese will hit you upon entering, right before the friendly welcome you’ll get from the staff here. This place has some serious street cred’ amongst cheese-lovers.
14. Get your rare wild meats at Zum Gockelhahn
The sweet little reindeer figurines in the cabinet window next to the pork crackle is an indication of what’s sold here at the butcher which stocks one of the best ranges of hard-to-find game meat in the city, including the likes of wild rabbit, reindeer, French pigeon, and quail. And it’s all stamped with the organic guarantee.
15. Visit the mighty Naschmarkt fleamarket on a Saturday
Venture into the wild bazar of the Naschmarkt fleamarket held every Saturday, rain or shine. Our guide on ‘How to Navigate the Naschmarkt fleamarket’ is all you’ll need.