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Beyond the Sound of Music

When you are bored of singing and dancing, chocolate and marzipan, apples pastries and dumplings, it might be of interest to see some of the other things that Salzburg has to offer. Some of these come from a longing to find things like home, some of them come from locals’ tip-offs, some of them are just because I found it and it was lovely. This post will grow as I explore!

Best Chinese/pan-Asian shop

There are surprisingly more Chinese food stores around than I thought when I first started looking for lemongrass paste. I planned to visit the rather big Asian grocery store by Mirabellplatz but then my friend pointed me around the corner to Cheung Kwok Man (Faberstrasse 2). I’m not sure if it’s owned by the same people who run the sleek Global Blue Tax Free shop targeting the Chinese tourist market next door but, if it is, they have a split personality. In contrast to the glowing white, this place is gloomy and rammed to the roof with goodies. This glorious shop is all you could imagine: cheap noodles, curry pastes, huge chest freezers of frozen fish, vats of coconut milk, bean sprouts and pak choi by the handfuls, 5 litre bottles of soy and oyster sauce…

Best Turkish/Middle Eastern shop

I was craving good hummus of the kind that can’t be found in the supermarkets so I decided that I’d make my own. I then couldn’t find tahini at a reasonable price in any of said supermarkets. I know that you don’t necessarily need it but it sent me down a little lane of homesickness thinking of the odd corner shops in London where you can find the most exotic of ingredients. A Turkish friend tipped me to Kavak Gesellschaft (Bayerhamerstrasse 22). Goodness, what a complex! This supermarket has a butchery and a bakery attached (complete with simits). I haven’t tried the butchery yet but rumour is that it’s good. The bakery provided me with a spinach stuffed pastry that has me out digesting on the couch as I write this. I wandered around the shop in a state of awe. It held aspirational ingredients for me; I would love to know how to treat an aubergine as it deserves. I left with sumac and zatar (this is definitely a place to find cheap spices), pomegranate dressing, fig jam, coffee and my own body weight in falafel.

Best book shop

Do you know that feeling when you meet someone for the first time and you are sure that you’ll be friends? That’s what I feel like about Bucher Stierle, behind Neue Residence (Kaigasse 1). All wooden pallets, signs about “Indie books” and friendly staff who coped with my poor German. I admire the lack of English language books in such a tourist trap location. What is of particular use is their stock of maps: both Kompass and WK series (I’ll let you know my favourite once I’ve had time to evaluate, there’ll probably be another post about that). All that is missing is a little coffee booth and a few chairs.

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