Definitions

sour-tasting

German cuisine

German cuisine varies greatly from region to region. The southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia share many dishes among them and with their neighbours to the south, Switzerland and Austria.

Meat

Pork, beef, and poultry are the main varieties of meat consumed in Germany, with pork being the most popular by a substantial amount. The average person in Germany will consume up to 33 kg. (72 lbs.) of meat in a year. Among poultry, chicken is most common, although duck, goose, and turkey are also enjoyed. Game meats, especially boar, rabbit, and venison are also widely available around the year. Lamb and goat are also available, but are not very popular.

Meat is usually pot-roasted; pan-fried dishes also exist, but these are usually imports from France. Throughout Germany, meat is very often eaten in sausage form. There is said to be more than 1500 different types of sausage in Germany.

Breakfast (Frühstück) commonly consists of bread, toast, and/or bread rolls (the term for which varies a lot by region, Brötchen, Semmeln, Schrippen, Wecken or Rundstücke being among the most common) with jam ("Konfitüre"), marmalade or honey, eggs, and strong coffee or tea (milk, cocoa or juice for children). Deli meats, such as ham, salted meats and salami, are also commonly eaten on bread in the morning, as are various cheeses. A variety of meat-based spreads such as Leberwurst (literally liver-sausage) can be found during breakfast as well.

Traditionally, the main meal of the day has been lunch (Mittagessen), eaten around noon. Dinner (Abendessen or Abendbrot) was always a smaller meal, often consisting only of a variety of breads, meat or sausages, cheese and some kind of vegetables, similar to breakfast, or possibly sandwiches. However, in Germany, as in other parts of Europe, dining habits have changed over the last 50 years.

Today, many people eat only a small meal in the middle of the working day at work and enjoy a hot dinner in the evening at home with the whole family. This is also the reason why the availability of cheap restaurants close to the office or the existence of a factory canteen cannot be assumed automatically. So the traditional way is still rather common, not only in rural areas. Breakfast is still very popular and may be elaborated and extended on weekends, with friends invited as guests. Since the 1990s the Sunday brunch has also become common not only in city cafes.

Fish

Trout is the most common freshwater fish on German menu as well as pike, carp which are all enjoyed greatly, and European perch are also frequently served. Seafood was traditionally restricted to the northern coastal areas except for pickled herring. Today many seafish like fresh herring (also as Rollmops), sardine, tuna, mackerel, and salmon are well established throughout the country. Prior to the industrial revolution and the ensuing pollution of the rivers, salmon were common in the rivers Rhine, Elbe, and Oder.

Vegetables

Vegetables are often eaten in stews or vegetable soups, but can also be served as a side dish. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, and many types of cabbage are very common. Fried onions are a common addition to many meat dishes throughout the country. Potatoes, while a major part of the diet, are usually not counted among vegetables by Germans. Asparagus, especially white asparagus known in English as spargel (the German name for asparagus), is common as a side dish or as a main meal. Restaurants will sometimes devote an entire menu to nothing but white asparagus when it is in season. Spargel season (Spargelzeit or Spargelsaison) traditionally begins in mid-May and ends on St. John's Day (24 June).

Side dishes

Noodles are usually thicker than Italian pasta and often contain egg yolk. Especially in the south-western part of the country, the predominant variety of noodles is Spätzle which contain a very large amount of yolk. Besides noodles, potatoes and dumplings (Klöße or Knödel) are very common, especially in the south. Potatoes entered German cuisine in the late 18th century and were almost ubiquitous in the 19th and 20th centuries. Potatoes are most often served boiled in salt water, but mashed and fried potatoes also are traditional, and Pommes Frites (french fries) have now become very common.

Drinks

Beer is very common throughout all parts of Germany, with many local and regional breweries producing a wide variety of superb beers. Beer is generally not as expensive as in other countries and is of excellent quality. The pale lager pilsener is predominant in most parts of the country today, whereas wheat beer (Weissbier) and other types of lager are especially common in Bavaria. A number of regions have local specialties, many of which, like Weissbier, are more traditionally-brewed ales. Among these are Altbier, a dark beer available around the lower Rhine, Kölsch, a similar style in the Cologne area, and the low-alcohol Berliner Weiße, a delicious sour beer made in Berlin that is often mixed with raspberry syrup. Since the reunification of 1990, Schwarzbier, which was common in East Germany but could hardly be found in West Germany, has become increasingly popular in Germany as a whole. Beer may also be mixed with other beverages:

In the last years many breweries served this trend of mixing beer with other drinks, selling bottles of already mixed beverages. Examples are Bibob (from Köstritzer), Veltins V+, Mixery (from Karlsberg) and Cab (from Krombacher).

Beer is generally sold in bottles or from draught. Canned beer is available, but its consumption in public has the reputation of alcoholism.

Wine is also popular throughout the country. German wine comes predominantly from the areas along the upper and middle Rhine and its tributaries. Riesling and Silvaner are among the best-known varieties of white wine, while Spätburgunder and Dornfelder are important German red wines. The sweet German wines sold in English speaking countries seem mostly to cater to the foreign market, as they are rare in Germany itself.

Korn is a German spirit made from malt (wheat, rye and/or barley), that is consumed predominantly in the middle and northern parts of Germany. Obstler on the other hand is distilled from apples and pears ("Obstler"), plums, cherries (Kirschwasser), or mirabelle plums and is preferred in the southern parts. The term Schnaps refers to both kinds of hard liquors.

Coffee is also very common, not only for breakfast, but also accompanying a piece of cake in the afternoon, usually on Sundays or special occasions and birthdays. It is generally filter coffee, somewhat stronger than usual in the UK though weaker than espresso. Tea is more common in the Northwest. East Frisians traditionally have their tea with cream and rock candy ("Kluntje").

Popular soft drinks include Apfelschorle, apple juice mixed with sparkling mineral water, and Spezi, made with cola and an orange-flavored drink such as Fanta. Germans are unique among their neighbors in preferring strongly carbonated bottled waters ("Sprudel") to non-carbonated ones.

The Eichstrich

The Eichamt is a public authority controlling all measurements in sales, i.e., each scale in a German butcher shop carries a stamp from the Eichamt (~ Bureau of Weights and Measures), including a date of expiration, to show the weight is correct.

All cold drinks in bars and restaurants are sold in glasses with a calibration mark (Eichstrich) that is frequently checked by the Eichamt to ensure that the guest is getting as much as is offered in the menu. If the liquid of a served drink is below that line, the guest may refuse the drink or require a correctly filled one. A common rule for beer — with foam — is that the liquid-foam-line must not be more than one centimeter below the Eichstrich, otherwise a Munich resident would refuse the Maß at the Oktoberfest. This marking is unique to Germany.

Spices and condiments

Mustard ("Senf") is a very common accompaniment to sausages and can vary in strength, the most common version being "Mittelscharf", which is somewhere between traditional English and French mustards in strength. Düsseldorf and the surrounding area is known for its particularly spicy mustard, which is used both as a table condiment and in local dishes such as Senfrostbraten (roasted steak with mustard). In the southern parts of the country, a sweet variety of mustard is made which is almost exclusively served with the Bavarian speciality Weißwurst. German mustard is usually considerably less acidic than American varieties.

Horseradish is commonly used as a condiment either on its own served as a paste, enriched with cream ("Sahnemeerettich") or combined with mustard. In some regions of Germany it is used with meats and sausages where mustard would otherwise be used.

Garlic was long frowned upon as "making one's breath smell bad and ghastly" and thus has never played a large role in traditional German cuisine, but it has seen a rise in popularity in recent decades due to the influence of French, Italian, Spanish, Portuguese, Greek, and Turkish cuisine. Bear's garlic, a rediscovered spice from earlier centuries, has become quite popular again since the 1990s.

Generally, with the exception of mustard for sausages, German dishes are rarely hot and spicy — the most popular herbs are traditionally parsley, thyme, laurel, and chives, the most popular spices are black pepper (used in small amounts), juniper berries and caraway. Cardamom, aniseed, and cinnamon are often used in sweet cakes or beverages associated with Christmas time, and sometimes in the preparation of sausages, but are otherwise rare in German meals. Other herbs and spices like basil, sage, oregano, and hot chilli peppers have become more popular in recent times.

Desserts

A wide variety of cakes and tarts are prepared throughout the country, most commonly made with fresh fruit. Apples, plums, strawberries, and cherries are used regularly on cakes. Cheesecake is also very popular and almost always made with quark. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte is another very well-known cake. German doughnuts (which have no hole) are usually balls of dough with jam or other fillings inside, and are known as Berliner, Pfannkuchen, Kreppel or Krapfen depending on the region. Eierkuchen are large, relatively thin pancakes, comparable to French Crèpes. They are served covered with sugar, jam, syrup etc.; salty variants with cheese, ground meat or bacon exist as well (but aren't usually considered desserts). In some regions Eierkuchen are filled and then wrapped, in others they're cut into small pieces and arranged in a heap. The word Pfannkuchen can either mean German doughnuts (see Berliner) or pancakes (see Eierkuchen).

A popular dessert in northern Germany is "Rote Grütze", red fruit pudding, which is made from black and red currants, raspberries and sometimes strawberries or cherries cooked in juice with cornstarch as a thickener. It is traditionally served with cream, but also common with vanilla sauce, milk or whipped cream. "Rhabarbergrütze" (rhubarb pudding) and "Grüne Grütze" (gooseberry fruit pudding) are variations of the "Rote Grütze". A similar dish, Obstkaltschale, may also be found all around Germany.

Ice cream and sorbets are also very popular. Italian-run ice cream parlours were the first large wave of foreign-run eateries in Germany, becoming widespread in the 1920s. A popular ice cream treat is called Spaghettieis.

Bread

With regard to bread, German cuisine is more akin to Eastern than to Western Europe. Depending on definition there are 300-600 different types of bread, ranging from white wheat bread to grey bread (Graubrot) and "black" (actually dark brown) rye bread (Schwarzbrot). Most types of bread contain both wheat and rye flour (hence Mischbrot, mixed bread), and often wholemeal and seeds (such as linseed, sunflower seed, or pumpkin seeds) as well. Pumpernickel, a Westphalian black bread, is not baked but steamed, and has a unique sweetish taste.

Bread is a big part of the German diet, and usually eaten for breakfast and as sandwiches in the evening, rarely as a side dish for the main meal. The importance of bread (Brot) in German cuisine is also illustrated by words such as Abendbrot (supper, literally Evening Bread) and Brotzeit (snack, literally Bread Time). In fact, one of the major complaints of German expatriates in many parts of the world is their inability to find acceptable local breads.

Germany has the widest variety of bread available to its residents. About 6,000 types of breads and approximately 1,200 different types of pastry and rolls are produced in about 17,000 bakeries and another 10,000 in-shop bakeries. Bread is served with almost every (non-main)-meal. Bread is not considered a side dish and is considered important for a healthy diet.

Germany's most popular breads are:

  1. Rye-wheat ("Roggenmischbrot")
  2. Toast bread ("Toastbrot")
  3. Whole-grain ("Vollkornbrot")
  4. Wheat-rye ("Weizenmischbrot")
  5. White bread ("Weißbrot")
  6. Multi-grain ("Mehrkornbrot")
  7. Rye ("Roggenbrot")
  8. Sunflower seed ("Sonnenblumenkernbrot")
  9. Pumpkin seed ("Kürbiskernbrot")
  10. Onion bread ("Zwiebelbrot")

Darker, rye-dominated breads such as Vollkornbrot or Schwarzbrot are typical of German cuisine. Pumpernickel, a steamed bread, is internationally well-known, although not representative of German black bread as a whole. Most German breads are made with sourdough. Whole grain is preferred for high fibre. Germans use almost all available types of grain for their breads — wheat, rye, barley, spelt, oats, millet, corn and rice. Some breads are made from potato flour.

Bread rolls

Bread rolls, known in Germany as Brötchen, Semmel, Schrippe, Rundstück or Weck / Weckle / Weckli depending on the region, are common in German cuisine. They are typically cut in half, and spread with butter or margarine. Cheese, meat, fish or preserves are then placed between the two halves, or on each half separately, known as an open sandwich.

Rolls are also used for snacks like Bratwurst or Brätel in a hot-dog style.

Specialties by region

Baden-Württemberg

  • Maultaschen, pasta filled with various ingredients such as meat, spinach, onions, spices. Maultaschen are either served with broth or cut into slices and fried with eggs.
  • Spätzle and Knöpfle are two varieties of soft, thick noodles.
  • Schupfnudeln, pasta made from potatoes and flour, often served with Sauerkraut.
  • Flädlesuppe, broth with thin strips of German-style pancakes.
  • Springerle, cookies made by pressing dough into intricate molds. Commonly used for dunking into a drink, as they are quite hard.

Bavaria

  • Weißwürste ('white sausages') — a speciality from Munich, traditionally eaten for second breakfast. Always accompanied by sweet mustard, pretzels, and wheat beer. Never served past 12 noon.
  • Weizenbier/Weißbier (wheat beer).
  • Radler (beer mixed with citrus lemonade)
  • Russ (wheat beer mixed with lemonade) The name Russen (Russian) comes from the fact that after WWI the left wing party Genossen mixed their beer with lemonade because they did not want to get drunk so quickly. In Munich, these members of left wing parties were called Russians (based on their political beliefs) and also their beer was named after this fact. Often also consumed in a one-liter mug, called the Maß. (Russen Maß).
  • Knödel (also known as Kloß, depending on region). Some of the many different variations are:
    • Semmelknödel: dumplings made from white rolls. Please note, that in Bavaria, the German bread roll is called Semmel.
    • Rohe Kartoffelknödel: dumplings made from potatoes that aren't cooked prior to forming and boiling the Knödel.
    • Gekochte Kartoffelknödel: dumplings made from potatoes that are cooked prior to forming and boiling the Knödel.
    • Halb-und-halb Kartoffelknödel: half the potatoes are cooked first, the other half are not.
    • Halbseidene
  • Schweinsbraten (pot-roasted pork, also called Schweinebraten). Sliced pork roast with a crunchy crust.
  • Schweinshaxe (braised pork leg). Crunchy brown on the outside, moist and juicy inside. Served with gravy and Klöße.
  • Leberkäse a type of sausage baked in a mould and cut into slices. When eaten as a main course, it is sliced and served with an egg (must be sunny side up style) and mashed portatos. For a quick lunch, it is usually eaten in a bread-roll with mustard, a bit like a hotdog. Some people eat the Leberkäse with hot mustard, others with sweet mustard.
  • Schlachtschüssel (Butchers plate) Combination of Blutwurst and Leberwurst (blood sausage and liver sausage) served hot on sauerkraut.
  • Saures Lüngerl
  • Kartoffelsalat potato salad.
  • Radi Raphanus
  • Pichelsteiner
  • Presssack
  • Bayrisch Creme (or Bairisch Creme) Dessert made from gelatin, milk, cream, egg yolk and sugar. Very light and fluffy, not too sweet.
  • Prinzregententorte
  • Topfenstrudel (or Milliramstrudel)
  • Dampfnudel
  • Rohrnudel

Bremen and Lower Saxony

  • Grünkohl, Braunkohl or "Kohl und Pinkel" (kale, very slowly cooked, with bits of rather salty sausage; a typical winter dish).
  • Labskaus (lobscouse), made from corned beef, herring, mashed potatoes, and beetroot, served with a fried egg and a pickled cucumber
  • de:Heidschnucke (a type of sheep)
  • Nordseekrabben/Nordseegarnelen (Crangon crangon)
  • Knipp
  • Kassler (salted pork cooked slowly in Braunkohl or Sauerkraut)
  • Bratwurst (grey sausage with veal content) mild flavor, pan fried. Eaten with a hard roll.
  • Bremer Kükenragout (Bremen Chick ragout; it contents no chicks but can content "Stubenküken", French: "poussin", what's another term for young chicken, who aren't older than a month and have weight of 200 to 600 grams)
  • Smoked Eel (Räucheraal)

East Prussia

Franconia

  • Bratwurst: Beef, pork or veal sausages, served fried or grilled with sauerkraut or potato salad and mustard, or simply in a bread roll (Bratwurstsemmel). They vary greatly in size and seasoning from region to region but are often considerably thinner than the equivalents elsewhere in Germany. The best-known sausages are from Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and are recognisable by their small size and clearly visible herb seasoning. They are traditionally served as three sausages in a roll ("Drei in 'a Weckla") or six sausages on sauerkraut ("Sechs auf Kraut").
  • Saure Zipfel (Bratwurst and sliced onion cooked in vinegar)
  • Klöße: Large dumplings made from a dough consisting of raw or a combination of raw and cooked potatoes. The exact recipe is a matter of regional differences and personal belief. The best friend of pot-roasted meats or mushroom ragout.
  • Schäuferle: An entire pork (or, in some cases, Lamb) shoulder roasted in a fairly cool oven over long period so that the meat is extremely tender with a crunchy crust. Seasoning is usually simple using salt, pepper and caraway and traditionally it is served in a dark sauce, made from the roast stock, meat broth, and often dark beer and Lebkuchen spices. Accompanied by a side salad, dumplings and red cabbage or less commonly Sauerkraut.
  • Hochzeitssuppe ("wedding soup"): A spicy meat broth with bread dumplings, liver dumplings and finely sliced pancakes.
  • Lebkuchen (gingerbread): The most famous German gingerbread is, again, from Nuremberg and traditionally only available at Christmas, although tourist demand means that Lebkuchen are available in some form practically all year round.
  • Karpfen: Carp, fried. Served during carp season, which consists of all months of the year that contain an R in their German spelling.

Frankfurt am Main and Hesse

  • Green Sauce (Made from minced and an abundant amount of seven fresh herbs namely borage, sorrel, cress, chervil, chives, parsley, and burnet. Served with boiled potatoes and hardboiled eggs. Called "Grüne Soße" in German or "Griee Sooß" in the Hessian dialect).
  • Frankfurter sausage, a smoked sausage made from pure pork, which is eaten hot and usually accompanied by bread and mustard. Not to be confused with the American hot dog "Frankfurter".
  • Apfelwein (dialect: Ebbelwoi or Äppelwoi), wine made of apples, somewhat comparable to Cider and French Cidre though dryer and more sour-tasting. Best enjoyed in traditional "Äbbelwoi-Lokalen". Served in a special mug (the "Bembel"), drunk with a special glass (the "Gerippte").
  • Sauer Gespritzer, apfelwein mixed with sparkling water. Very refreshing, usually served during summer. Also available as Süß Gespritzer which is Apfelwein mixed with lemonade.
  • Handkäse mit Musik ("hand-cheese with music"), a strong cheese made from curdled milk served in a dressing from vegetable oil, vinegar, caraway, salt and pepper and sliced onions. Usually served with rye bread and butter. Although people love to make jokes of dubious quality about the meaning of the "music", several traditional Kneipe sport a choice of Handkäs with and without "music" (the seasoning), thereby ruling out any reference to post-digestive side effects.

Hamburg

  • Labskaus (lobscouse), see Bremen and Lower Saxony
  • Birnen, Bohnen und Speck (“Pears, Beans and Bacon”) served side by side to achieve the preferred mixture of sweet, sour, salty and smoky
  • Aalsuppe (“eel soup”), a sweet and sour soup of meat broth, dried fruits, vegetables, and herbs

Palatinate

  • Saumagen (Pork stomach). The stomach itself is not eaten, it just serves as a casing.
  • Gequellde mit weißem Kees (cooked potatoes with curd cheese).
  • Gequellde mit Lewwerworscht (cooked potatoes with liver sausage).
  • Gedadschde (in a pan fried dumplings made of mashed potatoes with flour).
  • Weck, Worschd un Woi (bread roll, sausage and wine).
  • Grumbeersupp und Quetschekuche (potato soup and plum tart).
  • Kerscheblotzer (cherry cake).
  • Zwiwwelkuche un neie Woi (onion pie with freshly made wine).
  • Chestnuts.

Rhineland

  • Rheinischer Sauerbraten, large pieces of beef or more traditionally horse meat, marinated in a spicy water-vinegar mixture for a long time before baking.
  • Potato fritters (Reibekuchen) with black bread, apple syrup, sugar beet syrup or stewed apples.
  • Blood sausage (Blutwurst) crude or fried.
  • Himmel und Ääd (literally Heaven and Earth) Mashed potatoes with stewed apples and fried blood pudding (Köln).
  • Halve Hahn (literally Half Rooster), actually not a rooster at all but a cheese sandwich with onions, the name is based on a wordplay (Köln).
  • Rice pies, apricot pies and pear pies in Eschweiler.
  • Mussels
  • Kale (Grünkohl)
  • Aachener Printen, from the city Aachen

Saarland

  • Dibbelabbes (A potato hash prepared from raw grated potatoes, bacon and leeks, and baked in a Dibbe, or pot).
  • Hoorische/Verheiratete (lit. "Married ones", Potatoes and dumplings made of flour served with a creamy bacon sauce).
  • Schwenker or Schwenkbraten (pork steaks, marinated in spices and onions and broiled on a grill that hangs on a chain over a wood fire).

Saxony

  • Pfefferkuchen (gingerbread): Some believe that the best German gingerbread is from Pulsnitz in Saxony.
  • Eierschecke: A cake consisting of three layers: The bottom one is either a yeast dough (Hefeteig) or one made with baking soda (Rührteig), the middle layer is a cream made of quark, vanilla and some butter, egg, sugar and milk, and the top layer is mainly made from eggs (Eier), which are beaten with butter, sugar and "Vanillepudding"-powder (starchy substance normally used to cook a dessert similar to semolina pudding).
  • Quarkkäulchen (also: Quarkkeulchen): A sweet main dish made from quark, mashed boiled potatoes, a little flour, an egg and some grated lemon peel. The ensuing dough is baked as small, less than palm-sized pancakes and eaten hot with sugar and cinnamon, or with fruit, whipped cream, vanilla ice cream etc.
  • Leipziger Allerlei: Vegetable dish consisting of peas, baby carrots, white asparagus and morels. It may also, but not necessarily, contain broccoli, cauliflower, green beans or corn, even small prawns.
  • Stollen: There are two important centers of Stollen in Saxony, Dresden and the Ore Mountains.

Note: The cuisine of the Saxon part of the Ore Mountains is more a relative of the cuisine of Franconia than a relative of the other parts of Saxony. The cuisine of Upper Lusatia also differs from central Saxony and is more related to the (former) cuisines of Lower Silesia and Northern Bohemia. Typical Upper Lusatian dishes are:

  • Stopperle: small dumpling with fried bacon or sausage and sauerkraut
  • Schälklöße: soup consisting of filled pasta and various vegetables
  • Teichelmauke: mashed potatoes with bouillon and cooked beef

Saxony-Anhalt

Typical for very traditional dishes from Saxony-Anhalt is the combination of bitter or hearty meat dish with sweet. Sweet pancakes in Green bean soup for example are the cause of many jokes.

Schleswig-Holstein

Silesia

When Silesia was German, the influence of neighboring countries was clear in Silesian cooking; Polish carp and cheeses, Bohemian goulash, Austrian sausage and Pfefferkuchen (pepper cakes). Schnapps was very commonly drank with beer in Silesia. There was an old saying that went "Silesia has two principal rivers, Schnapps and the river Oder"

  • Schlesisches Himmelreich (Silesian Heaven); dried fruit with bacon
  • Kartoffelsuppe aus rohen Kartoffeln (Potato soup)
  • Gänsebraten (Roast goose)
  • Schlesische Kartoffelklöße (Silesian potatoes dumplings)
  • Breslauer Leckerbissen (Breslau 'sweet bites'); cookies
  • Schlesischer Striezel (Silesian Christmas cake)
  • Schlesischer Mohnstollen (Silesian poppy cake)
  • Liegnitzer Bomben (Liegnitz honey cakes)

Swabia

Thuringia

Meat dishes

Cakes

Westphalia

  • Pickert (potato pancake)
  • Grünkohl und Kohlwurst (curly kale and cabbage sausage)
  • Westfälischer Schinken (smoked ham)
  • Möpkenbrot (bread, which is made of rye flour, pig-blood, milk, eggs, fat, salt and pepper)
  • Rumpsteak (rump steak)
  • Potato fritters (Reibeplätzchen / Reibekuchen)
  • Pumpernickel hearty bread; it goes black because the sugar in the bread goes to caramel.
  • Gentleman cream (Herrencreme) Vanilla jelly with cream and rum.

Other famous dishes

  • Aachener Printen, from the German city Aachen
  • Bratkartoffeln (fried potatoes, often with diced bacon and/or onions)
  • Currywurst, a large-format fried or grilled sausage cut into thick slices and seasoned with spicy ketchup and generous amounts of curry powder, usually served with french fries — a popular snack originating in early 1950s Berlin. Both "Bockwurst"-style (ie. intended to be boiled) and "Bratwurst"-style (ie. intended to be grilled or fried) sausages are used depending on region and the use of one or the other is a matter for much debate among "Currywurst"-Gourmets. Currywurst remains one of most popular fast foods in Germany, especially in Berlin and in Düsseldorf, Cologne and the surrounding area, but the larger Döner kebab is gaining rapidly in popularity.
  • Whole grilled Chicken, marinated with pepper and other spices. Known as Brathühnchen, Brathähnchen and in eastern Germany also as Broiler.
  • Hasenpfeffer (stew made from marinated rabbit)
  • Kartoffelsalat (potato salad, which comes in many varieties, for example in a cream or mayonnaise dressing or even in meat broth. Often served as a side dish to bratwurst or boiled sausages)
  • Königsberger Klopse, from the East-Prussian city of Königsberg, now Kaliningrad
  • Marzipan e.g. Lübeck style (widely used in Christmas specialities)
  • Mettbrötchen, raw Mett on bread rolls (Brötchen), frequently with a garnish of raw onion rings or dice.
  • Pellkartoffeln (potatoes boiled or steamed unpeeled, young ones often eaten with the peel, served with Quark, butter, or herring.)
  • Pfefferpotthast (peppered beef stew)
  • Pommes, a shortened version of "Pommes Frites". Both American style "french fries" and Dutch or Danish style fries are common, with the portion being traditionally offered either with ketchup or mayonnaise or, as "Pommes rot-weiß", with both.
  • Rouladen, a roulade of bacon and onions wrapped in thinly sliced beef.
  • Sauerbraten
  • Sauerkraut (pickled shredded cabbage)
  • Schweinshaxe, pork hock served grilled and crispy with Sauerkraut or boiled as "Eisbein"
  • Spanferkel, a grilled whole young pig. Usually eaten in a big company of friends or guests.
  • Speckpfannkuchen (large, thin pancakes with diced, fried bacon)
  • Spätzle (hand-made noodles used extensively in southern Germany and Alsace)
  • Stollen (a bread-like cake with dried citrus peel, dried fruit, nuts, and spices such as cardamom and cinnamon, usually eaten during the Christmas season as Weihnachtsstollen or Christstollen). The best-known Stollen is from Dresden and is sold at the Striezelmarkt Christmas market, which derives its name from the cake.
  • Wiener Schnitzel is a thinly sliced veal filet with a flour, egg, bread crumb coating which is pan fried and served with a slice of lemon.
  • Würzburg E-Donäten, A dough ball filled with berries, fruit and hops (Fermented hop husks) and moulded into the familiar Würzburg 'oval' shape used in local bread making. This semi-alcoholic confection was popular with local farm workers as a way of circumventing the strict drinking laws in the 1900s.

Specialities from the former German Democratic Republic

The cuisine of the former German Democratic Republic (GDR or East Germany) differed in several ways from the cuisine of West Germany and today's united Germany.

East German cuisine was strongly influenced by Russian, Hungarian, Bulgarian and other Eastern European countries from the 1960s on. East Germans travelled abroad to these countries on holiday and immigrants to East Germany from these countries brought their dishes with them. A typical dish that came to the East German kitchen this way is Soljanka.

Another dissimilarity was the lack of certain spices in the GDR. Oregano, for example, was totally unknown and the value of garlic and Worcestershire sauce reached extremes. Lemon juice had to be replaced with vinegar and instead of capers, peas soaked in brine were used. While cooking with wine (as is typical in the wine-growing regions of Franconia and Hesse) was known, the lack of good wine on the East German market reserved this for special occasions. For these reasons Ragout fin (commonly known as Würzfleisch) became a highly sought-after delicacy.

East German cafeterias had a unified cuisine. Over the entire country cafeterias in companies and schools served the same food. The cafeterias were commonly run by the national HO (Handelsorgan) organisation. They had a list of approximately 300 dishes that tasted almost the same everywhere, since the recipes were standardised. The lack of supplies and the pressure of cooking for large numbers of people gave birth to several typical East German inventions such as Jägerschnitzel, large and thin slices of Jagdwurst covered with bread crumbs, pan-fried and served with tomato sauce and noodles.

An effort has been made to preserve this cultural East German heritage, and a collection of East German HO recipes is available online in German .

Foreign influences

With the rising influx of foreign workers after World War II, many foreign dishes have been adopted into German cuisine — Italian dishes like spaghetti and pizza have become a staple of German cuisine. Turkish immigrants have also had a considerable influence on German eating habits — Döner kebab, a meat sandwich invented by Berlin Turkish immigrants, is Germany's favourite fast food, selling twice as much as the major burger chains put together (namely Mc Donald's and Burger King, being the only widespread burger chains in Germany). Chinese and Greek food is also widespread and popular. Indian, Thai and other Asian cuisines are rapidly gaining in popularity. Many of the more expensive restaurants used to serve mostly French dishes for many decades, but they are increasingly turning to a more refined form of German cuisine since the 1990s.

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