Asked about a common Japanese dish most people would say Sushi instantly. Travelling Japan though you notice that Sushi is not as prevalent as you would think (though when you get it it’s so much better! A must at the fish market in Tokyo) and you learn that the true Japanese national dish is something else and it is called Ramen. Japanese people really love Ramen.
Basically Ramen are noodles in a bowl. They are sold in small restaurants specialised just in this particular dish. These places are very cozy and often run by families. Sometimes you pay at a machine and make your order there handing the receipt from the machine directly to the cook. Better known in the West is the instant variation of the dish: Instant Ramen.
But the real thing is so much better. In Vienna you can try them at Karma Ramen close to Kettenbrückengasse (subway U4). Not only you get delicious food there but also a nice atmosphere. The place celebrates Japanese influenced pop culture with posters and Godzilla. Because there is never enough Godzilla. Right?
Karma Ramen is open from Monday to Saturday from 11:30 am to 14:30 pm and from 18:00 pm to 23:00 pm and Sunday from 11:30 am to 16:00 pm.
Before we start I’d like to introduce to you a new series on michaelhoffman.at. In Urban Discoveries I am going to present interesting places to eat, drink and generally have a good time in Vienna and elsewhere in Europe. There is no regularity here and mostly my usual photography series will fill the pages, but this is definitely a new addition to the site. To continue my Japanese theme I followed over the winter (one more series is due!) let’s start with a Japanese place in good ol’ Vienna.
Onisando is a pretty fresh endeavour by the guys behind Karma Ramen. Like Japanese noodles the roots of the dish lie in late 19th century Japan. In the Meji restoration period as this time is referred to by historians the country opened up after a prolonged period of reclusiveness and let in foreign influences in culture, religion and cuisine. Katsu as the sandwiches Onisando are offering are called were probably invented in a restaurant in Tokyo in 1899 called Rengatei. Orinally it was a Japanese version of a very European dish – beef or pork cutlet with breadcrumbs. Hence the Japanese word katsuretsu for cutlet, or just short katsu. Later customers demanded a takeaway version of the dish and so Tonkatsu was created, basically Japanese style cutlets served with cabbage in a sandwich topped with sauces.
And that’s exactly what you get at Onisando for prices around 7 to 10 Euro for a set with Miso soup and apple. There are a couple of staple sets with meat, vegetarian and dish options and limited editions which change around twice a month. Very delicious was a Matcha desert I got to try which is still in development and not yet finalized (last picture). Very interesting too is the general style of the shop. It’s quite small and cozy and hence very Japanese. But the art envisioned by the Polish artist NDZW merges Austrian with Japanese culture by placing Katsu sandwiches in different very Viennese spots – like for example the ferris wheel Riesenrad. Notable too are the strict geometric forms like you seem them very often in the land of the rising sun.
All in all Onisando is a very nice experience with good food and affordable prices. It is open weekdays from 11:30 to 15:00 at Fleischmarkt 26, 1010 Vienna. For more info please visit https://www.onisando.at. Thanks for inviting @kju_rose an me in.