International Cooking: Food from Liechtenstein

It was a bit difficult to find food from Liechtenstein since many of the common dishes are really Austrian or Swiss. However, with some help from Liechtensteiners on Reddit, I was able to come up with a few dishes that are popular in the country.


Liechtenstein is the sixth-smallest country in the world, located in the Alps between Austria and Switzerland. The official language is German.

The region has been inhabited by humans for a long time; there is evidence of farming settlements from as far back as 5300 BC. A few different tribal groups existed in the area, but one of the most important was the Helvetii tribe, also known as the Helvetians.

In 58 BC, Julius Caesar defeated the Alpine tribes and brought the region under Roman subjugation. Later, a Germanic people known as the Alemanni settled in the area, followed by periods when the region was part of the Frankish Empire and then East Francia, which eventually became Germany.

Liechtenstein is named after a family that originally came from Liechtenstein Castle in Lower Austria. This family acquired land in the region, but due to the politics of the era, held little sway within the Holy Roman Empire, which was in power at the time. During the 17th century, Karl I of Liechtenstein was made a prince by the emperor after siding with him in a political battle. Later, his descendant Hans-Adam I was allowed to purchase a lordship which included the county of Vaduz, present-day Liechtenstein’s capital. This led to the region being officially considered a principality and sovereign member state of the Holy Roman Empire under the name ‘Liechtenstein’.

When the Holy Roman Empire was dissolved in the 19th century, Napolean reorganized much of the region, but Liechtenstein remained a sovereign state.

Liechtenstein suffered financially after World War II, but by the late 1970s, it used its low corporate tax rates to attract many companies. Now, it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world, with one of the highest standards of living.

What Do People Eat in Liechtenstein?

The cuisine of Liechtenstein has a lot in common with that of Switzerland and Austria, to the point where it was difficult to find dishes that actually originated from the area. Dishes such as Swiss rösti and Austrian schnitzel are very common.

The country has an expansive dairy industry, so milk products are used often, especially cheese.

Common vegetables include asparagus, cabbage, potato, and onion, while pork, beef, and chicken are popular meat choices. Seafood is not a typical component of Liechtensteiner cuisine.

Liechtenstein has an ideal climate for producing wine, and there are over 100 winegrowers in the country.

What I Made

Scroll down to read about other popular Liechtensteiner dishes I didn’t make!

Ribel (Cornmeal Crumble)

Ribel (Cornmeal Crumble)

I found ribel to be a pretty unique dish. It’s essentially just cornmeal soaked in milk and water, then toasted in butter until crumbly. It is usually served with applesauce or a fruit compote and tea or coffee.

This was simple to make. I added water and milk to a saucepan with a little salt and butter. I brought it to a boil, then stirred in some cornmeal and let it sit, covered, for about 15 minutes.

After that, I added some butter and started to toast it. I transferred to a new pan despite the recipe saying to use the same one, because I felt like the butter was just soaking into the cornmeal rather than doing anything like toasting it. It worked a bit better when I heated the butter in a separate pan and then added the cornmeal.

I ate this with some applesauce, which I already had in my freezer. All I can say is that this was interesting! I’m not sure I really like it. I think adding sugar to the cornmeal mixture would go a long way toward improving this, but that doesn’t look like a typical way to make ribel.

The recipe I used here is from Velontour.

Käsknöpfle (Pasta Dumplings with Cheese and Onion)

Käsknöpfle (Pasta Dumplings with Cheese and Onion)

If you think maybe this looks familiar, it could be because I made the German version, käsespätzle, for German week. I didn’t have a lot of options for Liechtenstein and this appeared to be very popular so I decided to make it again, but I changed my method a bit since I had so much trouble with the käsespätzle.

I made the dough from flour, eggs, water, salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg. After a short rest, it was time to cook it.

This time, I made sure the dough was just a little less wet, and I didn’t even attempt pushing it through a colander. Instead, I took little bits with a spoon and dropped them into boiling water. This definitely isn’t something I would attempt if I were making a large amount, but it worked fine for the plate you see here.

I tossed the cooked noodles with some Gruyère, then topped with caramelized onions. In Liechtenstein, this is often served with applesauce so I added it on the side, but I preferred the dish without it. This was just as delicious as the German version, but definitely a bit heavy to eat too often!

The recipe I used is from Tourismus, and it’s in German but my browser was able to translate it.

Hafalaab (Ham Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings)

Hafalaab (Ham Soup with Cornmeal Dumplings)

Hafalaab is a fairly simple ham soup with cornmeal dumplings cooked in the broth. It doesn’t seem to be as popular these days; I think it might be an older dish.

First, I cooked a ham hock in water for a while. The recipe called for ‘red pepper’ and I wasn’t sure what exactly that referred to, so I added some paprika. It could also mean cayenne pepper but I felt that paprika might be more common given the location.

I then sautéed some onions, which wasn’t in the recipe. It actually never said when to add the onion, only to add the green onion to the ham broth later. I prefer the flavor of sautéed onions so I decided to cook them first rather than add them with the green onion.

I then combined the onion and broth, along with salt, pepper, cubed ham steak, green onions, and dried parsley. I let that continue to cook while I made the dough for the dumplings.

I mixed cornmeal, all-purpose flour, baking powder, butter, egg, salt, pepper, and some of the ham broth to make the dumplings. I rolled the dough into small balls and added them to the broth. Then I let the whole thing cook for about half an hour. I added some fresh parsley when serving.

I thought that this was really delicious, especially for something so simple to make. I’d definitely make it again.

The recipe I used is from Copy Me That.

  • Liechtensteiner fish stew – I received mixed comments on this from Reddit, where some people said they’d never heard of it and one guy said he loved it. It can contain any kind of fish, along with vegetables such as potatoes, onions, and celery, and seasonings such as paprika and parsley.

Final Thoughts

This was a very short week but pretty good all the same. My favorite food from Liechtenstein was the käsknöpfle.

Next week, I will be cooking food from Lithuania.

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