Sunday, 9 November 2014

Places to find your expat food in Vienna

I saw an article on The Local last week about the price of expat (predominantly Anglophone country expat) food, compared across the key cities where the website operates. Vienna ranked somewhat high on the cost of buying your favourite expat foods, which is no surprise considering that their research was apparently a trip to Bobby's (which I keep trying to type as Boobz's for some reason). I have nothing against Bobby's - I've walked past it a few times but never actually been in - but it isn't the only place to buy your expat fare in the city.

As time has gone on, I find myself relying less on imports from the UK; in part because I am getting used to not having things, and also because I'm finding it easier to get things without having to make special trips. For everything else, there is Amazon.

So, without further ado, here is a list of the expat foods, and where I like to buy them.

 1. Heinz Baked Beans

I've never been that fussed about my brand of beans, as long as it was something above the level of Tesco Value. But not all beans are born equal, and Heinz rates highly amongst the many different brands (although back home my favourites were Waitrose Essential), and are certainly the only beans worth buying out here.
The Local's article had them pegged at €2.49 a tin, but Merkur and Spar sell them for around €1.49 a tin. Look for them in the tinned bean section.

2. PG Tips

Another item that The Local lists as a pricey consumerable, at €3.99 for 40 bags, which is a bit bloody steep. Luckily PG Tips is available at pretty much every Indian/Asian supermarket in the city, at the much more reasonable €7.99 for about 300 teabags.

3. Bird's Custard Powder

Bird's Custard Powder is the stuff of legends. A combination of sugar, cornstarch and dried egg, this makes every dessert awesome. Thankfully due to its milk free ingredients, I can still eat it. I brought a tin out with me, thinking that I would have to ration it until I could get home to get more, but lo and behold, we found it in Nakwon, our local Korean supermarket (Rotensterngasse, 2nd district, there is also a branch in the 7th), and I believe you can buy it in Prosi (also in the 7th, on the Gurtel at the back of Burggasse Stadthalle U Bahn Station).

4. HP Brown Sauce

This has remained an elusive product. You can buy it in Bobby's, but everything there comes with a premium price. If you happen to be in Bratislava, the Tesco there sells it.

5. Cheddar Cheese

Ah the last bastion of Englishness. When we moved here in 2012, the only cheddar you could buy was Irish cheddar, which is a disgusting orange colour and by all accounts is pretty disgusting to taste. We kept importing cheese from the UK, apart from the odd time that Spar Gourmet had some proper stuff on the cheese counter, but Merkur now sell Cathedral City, which is a good standard of cheese.

6. Branston Pickle
Another item available from Prosi, and some other Asian supermarkets. This stuff is a sandwich staple - you can of course make your own, but why bother?

7. Colman's Mustard 
This sharp yellow mustard is sold pre made, or as a powder. I've only seen it in Merkur Hohe Markt, which is a treasure trove of goodies from all over the place. This stuff is a common accompaniment to roast beef, or mixed with honey as a marinade for pork. That and all the other uses!

These are probably the top foodstuffs I can find in Vienna - everything else I just go to Amazon (things like Golden Syrup, treacle, muscovado sugar etc), or we stock up when we're back in the UK.


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