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How Not to Read Menus and Frittaten Soup

March 5, 2011 · 34 comments

in Austria,Sides,Snacks,Soup

austrian frittaten soup image sasasunakku

My German language skills could use some work but I had always thought, just privately, that I could read the hell out of a menu. In fact, I pride myself on being able to read a menu in far more languages than I can actually speak – it is after all, the most important skill for travelling, hangrrr-fighting crusaders the world over.

frittaten image how to make sasasunakku

At least prided myself on it –  until I came here to Vorarlberg. I was miffed to have to whisper (must maintain street cred) when I was just barely through the soup section of the menu “flädele, what’s that?” I was taken down another a peg or two to find spätzle, that mainstay of Germanic cooking, are called knöpfle, though that’s neither here nor there.

flädele image sasasunakku

But frittaten by any other name are just as satisfying (sorry Shakespeare). While a noodly little pile of crepe strips in the middle of your broth mightn’t strike you as the most appetising idea you’ve ever heard, they soak up the beefy stock and release it delightfully into your mouth as you chew in a way a normal noodle hasn’t a hope of imitating. Sprinkled with a handful of chives and parsley, frittatensuppe is the sort of lunch you might have as a prelude to a rather serious dessert but is more traditionally eaten as a first course before Tafelspitz.

See part one of this series: Tafelspitz.

flädele austrian image sasasunakku

What languages are you menu literate in ?

Frittaten Soup

Serves two.

1 egg

50 ml (scant 1/4 cup) milk

30 grams (2 tablespoons) flour

500 ml (2 cups) beef stock from Tafelspitz

Chopped parsley and chives

Beat the egg, milk and flour together to make a batter.

Put a teaspoon of oil in a small pan heated over medium high and fry the batter in 2

batches, as you would for pancakes or crepes; allow bubbles to form and then flip

and cook through.

Meanwhile bring the stock to a boil.

When the crepes are finished, stack them atop each other, roll and slice thinly into


Heat the frittaten through briefly in the stock, and serve in the soup, sprinkled with

the herbs.


Print this recipe

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heidi leon March 5, 2011 at 2:40 pm

Um. As far as menu literate I can manage myself pretty well in Spanish :) (ok, that one does not count), English, French, Portuguese and Italian.

I am definitely not literate in German. Or Japanese. Nor Chinese :(

Thanks on the frittaten info.

Ute@hungryinLondon March 5, 2011 at 2:56 pm

O my god these are the most wonderful looking frittaten, I would love to have a Frittatensuppe now with some fresh chives… (I don’t like Tafelspitz though, completely overrated in my opinion)

My Kitchen in the Rockies March 5, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Voralberg, sehr schoen. Da war ich auch schon oefters zum Skifahren. I also love Flaedlesuppe, but haven’t eaten it in forever. Thanks for the reminder and the recipe.

charleschr March 5, 2011 at 3:55 pm

My wife and I had our honeymoon in Quebec, and we seriously overestimated our French. We ended up OK because once people saw we were at least making an effort (and probably laughing as we mistakenly ordered shoes and socks with gravy or something), they rescued us with English. We actually spent a lot of time in a place in Quebec City called Casse-Crepe Breton which had huge delicious crepes for $5 Canadian (which was super cheap 11 years ago) and a delight called the Viennese Bowl, which is a bowl full of delicious coffee. The place was so good that we ate there every day and we didn’t need to exercise our French at all beyond crepe, oeuf, jambon, fromage and “Bol Viennese” :)

I only know ein Bisschen Deutsche but I can pick out a lot of words that are just combinations of other words, so sometimes I’m able to figure things out or at least get close.

Sasa March 6, 2011 at 6:58 pm

Never heard of a Viennese bowl…coffee with milk, like melange?

Kocinera March 5, 2011 at 4:48 pm

These little crepe noodles are cool! I never would have thought to find any sort of pasta-esque dish (besides spaetzle/knopfle) in Germanic cuisine, but this dish looks really yummy. Oh yes, I just had to scroll to the top of the screen to have another look at it, and it is, indeed, yum-tastic. :D

Laura Flowers March 5, 2011 at 4:51 pm

Beautiful pictures. I feel like I’m part of your noodles. Sadly, I can only read English and Spanish. I can sort of make out more Italian and some French, but not fluently.


Emily Vanessa March 5, 2011 at 5:47 pm

I once had these noodles in a soup at a mountain hut in the Wilder Kaiser after a bad fall and they totally revived me. I had terrible problems understanding people in the street in Austria, as well as reading a menu. I can decipher menus in French, Italian, Spanish and Swedish. You’re right that it’s very important for survival.

Mairi @ Toast March 5, 2011 at 9:15 pm

A bowl of that would work right about now, grey, wet & windy in Auckland. As for menu reading…OK in French, Spanish, Italian & maybe a little German….and can order vino & beer in many ;)

Kimberley March 6, 2011 at 1:47 am

At first I was like, oh those look like the most satisfyingly rustic homemade noodles. But they’re crepe noodles! You are turning me on to things I never knew existed.

Alessandra March 6, 2011 at 2:18 am

I love the word frittaten! This is my level of German: I take an Italian or English word and add a ‘ten’ at the end! Terrible ehhh!

My mum makes something similar with frittaten, she calls it ‘false tripe’ (because it looks like tripe) but instead of serving it in a soup it is like a stew with a rich tomato sauce. I forgot about it! I should make it sometimes, since we don’t eat the real tripe!


Sasa March 6, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Bahaha. That’s about my level of Italian too, except with “a” at the end ;P

Alessandra March 6, 2011 at 9:25 pm

Wait till you hear my Japanese! But I do bow a lot…

Brian @ A Thought For Food March 6, 2011 at 4:18 am

Such a comforting soup… and easy to boot! Thank you so much for sharing this one!

Marietta March 6, 2011 at 9:50 am

hahahaha i laughed at Alessandra’s comment!!
well… apart from Greek, English and Japanese any other menu sounds….”Greek” to me… i just try to split the menu on your usual appetizers-soup-salad-main course and try to chose one from each category… then hope i haven’t ordered something too complicated… (in order to avoid complicated dishes i usually chose the top ones on the menu list since the last ones are usually the specials thus *strange* ones.. :P I know….. I have no imagination at all..when it comes to food…

Anna Johnston March 6, 2011 at 11:20 am

Well, if Im left to my own devices and a bunch of time is allocated I can suss out what’s on the menu in Italian, French and Spanish. Im digging the crepe noodles, they look divine! :)

Alli March 6, 2011 at 11:08 pm

I thought this soup was weird when I first saw it but you are right about it being the perfect when soaking up the broth. Fluent in German and can get my way around a French menu since I studied French cuisine, it fun though hen something totally unexpected turns and lucky i eat everything. Looking forward to visiting my old jaunts in Frankfurt mid June.

Katie@Cozydelicious March 7, 2011 at 2:13 am

Oooh, I love the idea of thin strips of crepes in soup. It sounds fantstic. Foreign menus are so fun! I, too, think I can read menus is far more languages than I actually speak – but sometimes am surprised to find that what I ordered is not what I expected…

Genie March 7, 2011 at 2:16 am

Funny actually, I was watching the French movie “A Prophet” last night and I recognised way too many French words for someone that has never been to France and doesn’t speak the language. I don’t think I’ve even been to a French restaurant before. The main character was learning to read and “canard” was the word he was learning. I immediately knew it meant duck. Before last night I’d wouldn’t be able to guess what the French word is for duck, but when you turn it around and ask what the English word is for canard, I can translate it. It’s funny the foreign foodie words you absorb without even knowing it.

Emma March 7, 2011 at 7:17 am

Wow, at first I thought this was kinshi tamago in dashi. (Does that even exist in Japanese cuisine?)

Hmm, menus… I can generally read Italian, sometimes French. Am slowly becoming more literate in Japanese, though if there’s calligraphy I’m generally useless. In any case, the ability to combat hangrrr across the globe is an important skill, indeed!

Kulsum at JourneyKitchen March 7, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Sasa where were you all this time! Why did I just find you now? Thank you for stopping by my blog so I came here. I love everything here specially the way you write, I kind of relate to it. That’s another story that the only one who finds me funny is ME. LOL

P.S. This soup looks utterly beefy and hearty ( I told you, only I laugh on my humor).

SMITH BITES March 7, 2011 at 6:37 pm

sadly, only English . . . damn! because i really wish i were one of those people who speak like 9 different languages and can navigate the world on a whim – we want to travel but must admit that the language barrier always gives us pause. crepes in broth for soaking up all that brothy goodness is indeed brilliant!!

Su-yin March 7, 2011 at 8:54 pm

I love how I learn about different foods on your blog! This looks great – crepes to soak up beefy broth sounds like a brilliant combination.

p.s. Am only English/Malay menu literate. Can read random words in Chinese and French, but not enough! :P

Su-Lin March 8, 2011 at 1:33 am

Pancake soup! There was a place in Munich that offered something similar to this… it was a chicken soup though but with those pancake strips! Mmmm…

I guess I’m menu literate in English, French, and Catalan (my husband teases me that I know all the food words in Catalan – well, you gotta have your priorities). Some Malay, some Spanish, some Italian. I’m terrible at German – took me forever to figure out the word for chicken.

Joyti March 8, 2011 at 8:48 am

I’ve gotten pretty good with Thai menus, definitely Spanish-language menus, which helps with Italian menus…and of course English ones. I understand some parts of French menus…and I can read an Indian menu…

Lisa March 8, 2011 at 7:22 pm

The noodles look so tasty, I love that they absorb the broth. Now I want to make soup. I like to think I can read an Italian menu and maybe a Spanish one, but other than that I think I’m limited to pointing at other people’s dishes in foreign countries!

Lana March 9, 2011 at 8:50 am

Hey, I love that soup! We called the crepe ribbons “celestine”:) My mother used to cut the leftover crepes and keep them in the freezer for the soup. You are sending me back to my childhood with every post you write:)
Menu literate? Serbian (and all the other Balkan languages that surfaced once Yugoslavia fell apart:), English, Italian, Spanish and some German.

hungryandfrozen March 9, 2011 at 11:41 am

Beautiful photos :) and I guess there are always more things to learn in this world…even on German menus!

I love the sound of these, but then I love anything noodly or dumplingy to absorb up my soup for me…

The Grubworm March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Wow, what a simple idea – one of those “why didn’t I think of that” ideas that I would never think of in a million years. I bet you could do something similar (but sacriligeous) with a Tom Yam soup… mmm-mmm.

As for food languages, I’m pretty good on the latin ones, can muddle my way through a little German, Thai, Viet and Japanese (so long as they are roman characters). Much easier when they are in pictures though… Now that *is* a sensible idea.

Rosa March 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm

A great soup! I love it’s composition. Really scrummy.



Des March 12, 2011 at 3:30 am

This soup looks delicious.

E March 22, 2011 at 2:54 am

I´m literally saving this recipe for a rainy day, it looks perfect!
I can mostly decipher Latin-based languages, but thank god for the models of food in restaurants windows in Japan!

Fran March 25, 2011 at 10:03 pm

Funny, I always responded to prople that asked if I spoke another language with this reply; “Well yes, I do, I speak menu!”. And I believed it until I was an expat in one country or another and realized I was stumped by a lot of what I was “reading.”. We apparently “Americanize” everything here, even in ethnic restaurants where I can usually figure it out.

What I ate most during those times was humble pie. :)

Your photos are wonderful. They really pull me in so that I feel like I’m right there. I’m glad I came across your blog today.

Marlis March 27, 2011 at 12:57 am

OK everybody repeat after me

Flädlesuppe. Flädlesuppe.

The ‘ä’ is pronounced like your short ‘a’ as in ‘any’ or ‘apple’. ‘Suppe’ is the German word for ‘Soup’. The ‘e’ at the end of the word is not silent. So you say soup-p’e’

‘Flädle’ also has the ending letter of ‘e’ sounded out. Again, it is a short ‘e’ like ‘egg’.
‘Flädlesuppe’ is the German or Austrian word for this love soup. Guten Appetit!

Yes, I am German. My culinary languages included :)

Great recipe by the way. My mother used to make this all the time with left over Crepes.

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