German food certainly doesn’t have the cult status of some other cultures when it comes to street food and it's cuisine in general is not always the most instagram-worthy. Many have stared down at a plate of white potatoes, thick cuts of meat drowning in brown sauce, or an extra long sausage crammed into a tiny white roll and been left wondering. However, there are a few classics on their street food menu that a definitely tasty and more than a few dishes that will quickly become favourites. Unless you’re vegetarian of course. Vegetarians should look away now.
One of Berlin’s most famous inventions is simply curried sauce on a sausage. When ingredients became scarce after World War II, a creative minded Berliner managed to get some curry powder from some friendly British soldiers and added it to tomato paste as a replacement for ketchup. The sauce was an instant hit and today more than 82 million portions are served across Germany every year. There is a museum dedicated to currywurst and snack stands all over the country serve it with a crispy fresh bread roll or a portion of fries. Arguably the best currywurst place is Bier’s at Kudamm 195 in West Berlin, which has been serving the humble sausage and other Berlin staples for more than 50 years. You can even order a bottle of Moet & Chandon to drink with your food.
Despite their carnivorous reputation, Germans also eat a lot of fish, in particular the fischbrötchen (fish bread roll) which is a tasty little snack of smoked fish portions squashed inside a small bread roll with some kind of sauce and onions or other garnishes. These can be found everywhere in northern Germany and are often eaten on the deck of the boat they were caught and smoked on, in some places. In Berlin you can get fish brötchen in almost every bakery or Nordsee restaurant outlet. My favourites come from Glut und Späne specialty fish smokers and they can be found at many of Berlin’s best street food markets.
Though it’s often confused with pizza, the ‘flame cake’ is a very typical dish from southern Germany and it’s French neighbours. Bread dough is rolled out very thinly, shaped into a rectangle and topped with very simple ingredients such as créme fraîche, onions, bacon or mushrooms. There is also a sweet version made with apples, cinnamon and calvados. Flammkuchen is on the menu in most German restaurants, but the most atmospheric place to eat it is at Schleusenkreug biergarten in the Tiergarten.
This is an edited version of a post previously published on City Break Berlin.