What’s the big deal with German food?

If you mention German food to someone, often they will respond in a terrible fake accent, pound the table with their fist, and demand a ‘stein’ of beer and a pork knuckle. This doesn’t have a lot to do with actual German food, which varies considerably from region to region.

Also they’re never very good at the accent, are they?

Bread

It should be clear, from the sheer number of Bäckerei, bakeries, on every corner, that Germans love bread.

Test your pronunciation skills by ordering a Sonnenblumenkerne Brötchen, sunflower seed bread roll, or a Roggenbrötchen, rye bread roll.

On Sunday mornings, when nearly everywhere else is shut, you will find queues out the door of the bakeries, as everyone picks up their fresh Brötchen for breakfast.

You will never run out of kinds to try, as there are 3090 types listed by the Deutsches Brot Institut, the German Bread Institute. If you’re curious, Bauernbrot, farmer’s bread, is the official bread of 2019.

Sausage

Yes okay, there are a lot of kinds of Würste in Germany. Hundreds, if not thousands. There are a few types that seem to appear at every Grillabend, BBQ party.

Nürnberger Rostbratwurst are easy to identify as they are small, only about 10cm long, and you can fit several on a Brötchen.

The Thüringer Rostbratwurst is a favourite, and has one of the longest histories, with recipes dating back to the 17th century. It has to be at least 15cm long, and it’s quite light-coloured, with spices like caraway and garlic flavouring the pork.

An odd one is the Bavarian Weißwurst. Often eaten for breakfast, you need to know how to do this one properly: you hold it in your hand, and bite the end, then suck all the meat into your mouth. Leave the skin behind. I mean, you can eat it, I did it two years ago and I’m still here. The sausage itself is cooked by gently heating it in water, and you’re often served your Weißwurst in a little pot of lukewarm water. Don’t drink that either.

german-food-sausages

Potatoes

So maybe the pork and potatoes jokes hold up pretty well, but let’s just move along now, shall we?

French fries are common across Germany at every Imbiss, which is any kind of fast food stand or stall. French fries are called Pommes, which is of course the beginning of ‘pommes frites’ in French, but it is pronounced ‘pom-iss’ in German.

I am easily swayed by side dishes, so if I see something is served with Rösti, I am all over it. Originally from Switzerland, Rösti are potato patties made by shredding potatoes and then frying them so they are crispy on the outside.

Similar but more likely to be found at Christmas markets is the Kartoffelpuffer, though these potato patties are deep-fried and served with applesauce or garlic sauce. There are the gorgeously brown Bratkartoffeln, or fried potatoes, which have an uninspired name but are usually excellent, and studded with little bits of onion and bacon.

Other fun German foods

I have only touched the very surface of wonderful German foods, but it’s worth noting a couple of others. The ubiquitous Sauerkraut, a fermented shredded cabbage flavoured with caraway seeds and juniper berries, is served warm alongside every kind of meat dish.

Mett is a terrifying sounding dish of raw minced pork topped with raw onion, salt and pepper, served on a bun. I had this recently for the first time and can confirm it is actually really good. It helps that a kitschy traditional way to serve it is in the shape of an Igel, or hedgehog, with raw onion bits as spines and olives for eyes.

It’s not all about the Schweinshaxe, or pork knuckle, in German cuisine. Pick out some food, shopping, and eating topics for your next Lingoda lesson and you’ll be ordering like a pro in no time.