Adriana in Vienna
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“Rex’s bun”


“Rex’s bun”

Do you still remember the Series A Cop’s Best Friend? As a child, I have never understood what could possibly be so amazing about an ordinary bun with ham until, upon arriving to Vienna, I experienced an “aha effect” when I got to know the so-called Extrawurstsemmel (literally translated extra sausage bun).

But first of all, in order to understand this phenomenon, it is necessary to explain the so-called Weckerl-Kultur (Weckerl is a typical Austrian word for a small bread), which is very important to Austrians.

Would you like a snack (or as Austrians would say Lust auf Jause)? And what would typically be the first thing an Austrian would do? He/she would go to a supermarket and directly to the deli section. There, let a saleslady slice some salami or ham freshly and put it inside an equally freshly baked and chopped bun. But beware, freshly sliced ham is in Austria a phenomenon itself, because slices (Austrian Blattln) MUST BE “hauchdünn” (extra thin)….how thin?…. let’s just say that an ordinary Slovak slice of ham equals about 4 Austrian slices and so amazingly thin can cut it definitely only the saleslady at the supermarket. And guess what’s one of the biggest hits of Jause? That’s right, Extrawurstsemmel (or Leberkässemmel, but about this some other time)!

Warning, for those who know a little German, you shell NEVER say Brötchen to Semmel, otherwise you would get a lot of very uncomfortable and contemptuous gazes.

But back to the Extrawurstsemmel. It consists of two main ingredients, the so-called Kaisersemmel (imperial bun) or even Handsemmel (“handmade” bun) and Extrawurst (typical Austrian Wurst (literally translated sausage, but in Austria means Wurst something between ham and salami, but I will address this later in some other article), so it is a Wurst, consisted mostly of pork and different seasonings, extra fine milled and cooked, mainly known for its fineness). Austrians are so proud of both of these ingredients that they have even put them on the list of the traditional Austrian foods (Liste der traditionellen österreichischen Lebensmittel). No wonder, because Kaisersemmel has been known in Austria since around 1750 and Extrawurst since the 1820s.

Very important is not only the correct preparation of the ingredients, but also the correct lining of the Extrawurstsemmel. Freshly baked and chopped bun topped with a freshly chopped 50 – 75 g of Extrawurst (at this point, I understood finally, why two slices of ham on the top of bread are too little for Austrians 🙂 ). Be careful NOT to use a butter!

Very popular is also the version with sour pickled cucumbers (Austrian Essiggurkerl – have you also noticed that many Austrian expressions end up with –rl? It’s not a coincidence, and I’ll tell you, the pronunciation is extremely difficult for a foreigner, but I will address this next time). Of course, even sour cucumbers must be cut extra thinly. Moreover, in this case, proper layering is also very important, i.e. bun-Extrawurst-sour cucumber-Extrawurst-bun. Reason? This way is the bun protected from soaking (and will not, as the Austrians say get labbrig/ aufgwagt – do not even try to find this word in the common dictionaries 🙂 ).

It is not for nothing to say that Extrawurst is the great love of the Viennese. And I have to admit, I already understand this and Rex’s love to this food.

Fun fact at the end, they are still selling the whistling toys (Quitschspielzeuge) for dogs in form of Extrawurstsemmel in the animal shops back in Austria 🙂