Germany: the land of fairytale castles, black forests, and unfortunate fashion garments. But street food also plays a big role in the image of this country.
When travelling around Europe there are some nations whose food and drink are more interesting to the average traveller. I guess Italy and France are known as culinary powerhouses, but nowhere more than Germany is street food considered an art. I found that some of the tastiest sweet and savoury snacks in all of Europe could be found in the street markets of Berlin and beer gardens of Munich. Here is a selection of 12 of the most famous German street snacks:
A Schnitzel is a boneless meat, thinned with a meat tenderizer, coated with flour, beaten eggs and bread crumbs, and then fried. A popular food in many countries, it is made from veal, mutton, chicken, beef, turkey, or pork. As street food, schnitzel is often sold on sticks.
Knödel are boiled dumplings that are commonly found in food markets all over Germany, but are especially popular as snack food to bier and Riesling. Similar in shape and size to the likes of Chinese baozi or Indonesian bakpao.
Leberkäse literally means “liver cheese” and consists of corned beef, pork, bacon and onions and is made by grinding the ingredients very finely and then baking it as a loaf in a bread pan until it has a crunchy brown crust.
A Berliner Pfannkuchen is a traditional German pastry similar to a doughnut with no central hole, made from sweet yeast dough fried in fat or oil, with a marmalade or jam filling and usually icing, powdered sugar or conventional sugar on top.
Directly translated as “sour cabbage”, Sauerkraut is finely cut cabbage that has been fermented by various lactic acid bacteria and while it can be eaten as a dish on its own, it is most commonly used as a condiment on other dishes such as bratwurst or pancakes.
A Pretzel is a type of baked bread product made from dough most commonly shaped into a knot. Pretzels originated in Europe, most likely among monasteries in the Early Middle Ages, and has since been known as one of Germany’s traditional snacks.
Currywurst is a fast food dish of German origin consisting of steamed, then fried pork sausage whole or less often cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, regularly consisting of ketchup or tomato paste topped with curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup seasoned with curry and other spices. The dish is often served with French fries. Probably one of my top 10 snack foods anywhere in the world! I cannot get enough of the wurst (either Currywurst or simple bratwurst). Read more about the Currywurst – and other types of wurst – in my article here.
Pumpernickel is a typically heavy, slightly sweet rye bread traditionally made with coarsely ground rye. It is often made with a combination of rye flour and whole rye berries. Not as popular as it once was, but still can be found plentifully if you know where to look! Take a look at my post on Pumpernickel and learn more about its history!
Fischbroetchen literally means “fish bread” and is basically a sandwich or bread roll that contains fish. I have seen scaly fish and battered fish in bread, and overall it reminds me of the balik ekmek that you can get beside the Bosphorus in Istanbul.
Kartoffelpuffer is a simple potato pancake that consists of grated or ground potato, flour and egg, and often flavoured with grated onion or garlic and seasoning. The kartoffelpuffer reminds me a lot of kerak telor, which is arguably one of the most popular Indonesian street foods.
Similar to an American doughnut (and a Berliner), Spritzkuchen is a fried pastry but with a hole in the middle. It is usually decorated with icing and is extremely popular as street food around Germany.
German Bier is one of the most iconic foods or drinks in the whole country, and it will wash down almost any kind of street food. Especially down south in Bavaria, this beer is drunk in ‘biergartens’ on a daily basis! You can never have too much German beer!