One of the most exciting things to look forward to as an exchange student in Germany, aside from drinking the night away with liters of beer in hand, is trying the authentic German cuisine. Although international restaurants have been sprouting in many cities and countries offering most popular dishes, they still could not compete with the real deal – the one complete with perfect German ambiance and merry, but not always drunk, people.
I believe that to learn more about a country, one must be able to immerse into the foreign culture. Food is a great part of history and culture anyway. When it comes to trying new adventures through food while studying abroad, here is my list of must-try food to eat in Germany to have a well rounded and delicious study abroad experience. Do note though that this list is based on my preference (and some of my friends’ as well) and you should not limit yourself to the food mentioned in this article.
The Land of the Wurst
Whenever I ask friends, the first thing that pops in their minds when asked for any German food they would like to try is (drum roll please) sausage! Well, it is truth universally acknowledged that aside from beer, Germany is known for its sausages or Wurst.
Meat everywhere. Location: München
Now, there are hundreds of sausages you can get in Germany. I am no expert, but below are some of the most common varieties that my friends and I like to order (with or without beer).
This is a typical sausage fare with either ketchup and curry powder or a homemade tomato curry sauce, usually with side of fries.
It is the land of the wurst! Location: Frankfurt
I admit I normally eat this in Austria than Germany, but since the food is almost the same in these two countries, I put this in the list. Käse Krainer is a delicious combination of cheese, usually Emmentaler, and sausage. This is my favorite and I love getting it in a Wurstelstand. Pair it with a dark bread and a can of beer for perfection.
A specialty of Bavaria, Weißwurst is simply white sausage. Sounds strange at first, but tastes heavenly. Traditionally, Weißwurst is eaten only during breakfast or as a snack before lunch because it is not preserved or smoked, and thus perishable. Eat it with a warm Brezel, mustard and Weissbier for a very Bavarian meal.
Next to Wurst, I believe that Döner is another German version of fast food. With Turkish influence, Döner is basically a kebab sandwich, filled with thin slices of meat, usually beef though chicken is also available, topped with various vegetables – lettuce, tomatoes, onions, and yogurt sauce.
Döner stands can be found literally everywhere in Germany and since it is open until late at night and usually near bahnhof, it is also very convenient. I think I should note it here that one serving is huge and I have never finished one order of Döner. Maybe I just don’t eat a lot?
Nope, not that Olaf from Frozen. Auflauf literally means “casserole” and I think that is simply what it is. It has different versions though – potato auflauf, maultaschen auflauf, Spätzle auflauf, etc.
Maultaschen literaly means mouth bags. I find them similar to the Italian ravioli. They are usually square or rectangular in shape. They traditionally filled with minced meat, eggs, spinach, and some spices. You can buy a ready-made maultaschen and simply boil it whenever you want to taste some.
Bakeshops abound everywhere in Germany and I haven’t seen one that has not offered Brezel. It is loved being eaten throughout Germany. In Bavaria, this is usually paired with Weißwurst and washed down with a white beer. But for a normal fare, you can find Brezel cut with butter, jams, or even Nutella.
It is roasted pork knuckle, especially popular in Bavaria. We paired it with beer! Don’t be fooled. It may look small in the photo, but my friend and I struggled to finish the entire thing. It is too heavy for my small stomach!
Käsespätzle and Maultaschen
Spätzle is like a noodle or dumpling made of flour, eggs, and salt. As most German cuisine is heavy on the meat, Spätzle usually accompanies a meaty dish. Thankfully, there is also a Käsespätzle which can be a stand alone dish served with lots of grated Emmentaler cheese and fried onions on top. I have tasted the best one in Stuttgart.
There is in fact a wide variety of food to try in Germany though those listed here are my favorite and can really recommend. I hope this list offers an insider’s view on what food to try when studying or traveling in Germany. Don’t limit yourself to this list though. Be curious and try everything. That’s what immersing in food culture is all about! So what are you waiting for? Get that chance to travel in Germany or visit a nearby German restaurant and have a taste. Guten appetit!
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