On October 3, 1990, East and West Germany were formally reunited after more than 40 years of separation. It was a new era for the country, one in which the capital played a large part: the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 was a physical and symbolic catalyst for sweeping change.
Thirty three years on, the German capital is a vibrant place to be; its buildings and infrastructure modernised, its economy booming, and its cultural scene thriving. Now home to roughly 3.5 million residents, Berlin attracts close on 14 million tourists each year – people who come for the city’s sites, wealth of culture, vibrant nightlife and storied past.
The local food is also a huge draw. Berlin is a well-known destination for foodies, especially those with a bent for street fare. Perhaps the most famous of these is Currywurst, a dish that’s a matter of great pride to Berliners. Consisting of a grilled or fried pork sausage served with a spicy tomato and curry sauce, this snack food actually dates back to the post-World War II era…
Herta Heuwer was the originator, a street vendor who, in 1949, had the bright idea of combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and curry powder together to create a sauce, which she then poured over grilled pork sausages. The dish quickly became a popular street food and, today, Currywurst comes in any number of sausage and sauce variations – though always served with a side of fries.
Another popular street food, Eisbein has been a particular favourite in Berlin since the 19th century. This boiled or roasted pork knuckle (typically soaked in brine for several days to tenderise the meat and enhance flavour) usually comes with sauerkraut, potatoes, and pea puree, and pairs perfectly with a dash of spicy mustard.
Mustard pops up again in Senfeier, a traditional vegetarian entrée. It’s quick and easy: hard-boiled eggs served with mashed potato and slathered in a creamy mustard gravy. And the same condiment is a must when enjoying your local Bratwurst – a typical German sausage made with pork and veal, seasoned with ginger, nutmeg, coriander, or caraway. Grill these German sausages for a few minutes, stuff them in a bun and slather with mustard and you’ve got a far healthier version of a hot dog!
And, if you’re still hungry, there’s always the omnipresent Berlin döner kebab, which pairs beautifully with one of the capital’s beers such as Berliner Kindl, Berliner Pilsner, and Schultheiss – a merger of tastes from a city that’s famed for its unification!