Berlin- a centre for historophiles, an enclave to artists and a cornucopia to clubbers. It might not scream ‘food capital’ but the city is crammed with enough good eats to satisfy any food lover. Days in Berlin are packed full of things to do so you’re gonna need to keep those blood sugar levels up and what better way then to sample some of Berlin’s iconic snacks. Here are some local favourites:
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1. Currywurst at Krasselt’s Imbiss
The king of Berlin’s street food scene is without a doubt, currywurst. Take a fried pork sausage, douse it in Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle over some curry powder and then slather it with curry ketchup. Berliners wolf down a whopping 70 million of these things a year and there’s even an entire museum dedicated to this humble dish. It’s relatively young- created by Herta Heuwer in 1949 after she traded with British soldiers stationed in Germany for some ketchup and curry powder. She mixed the two together, poured it over some grilled pork sausage and the currywurst was born.
If you’re willing to travel about 45 minutes outside of the centre- we reckon Krasselt’s Imbiss does the best version- a skinless pork sausage lathered with a tangy, thick, curry ketchup and served with fries or a bread roll. Otherwise, Konnopke’s Imbiss in the centre of Berlin serves up a decent one too.
Eat it at: Krasselt’s Imbiss Berlin, Steglitzer Damm 22, 12169 Berlin, Germany. Open daily 10:00am to 11:00pm.
2. Döner kebab at Imren Grill
Berlin has the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey and so it’s no surprise that one of the city’s most beloved street foods is a döner kebab. The döner kebab in Berlin was created by a Turkish immigrant in the 70s where he noted that German workers rarely had a chance to sit down for a proper meal so he adapted the meal of his motherland, popping the döner kebab in bread as a snack to eat on the run.
The German döner kebab soon morphed to suit local tastes with the inclusion of salad and sauces. The best we ate was at Imren Grill where a chewy, doughy flatbread pocket is stuffed with shaved beef, tomato, raw onion, lettuce, parsley and generous squirts of hot sauce and garlicky yoghurt.
Eat it at: Imren Grill, Karl-Marx-Straße 75, 12043 Berlin, Germany. Open daily 9:00am to 3:00am (Sunday open until midnight).
3. Burgers at Burgermeister
Burgers in a disused public toilet? It’s quintessential Berlin and could easily be misconstrued as a gimmick but luckily we’ve done the legwork and can happily confirm that the burgers at Berlin institution Burgermeister measure up.
Housed in a former public loo under the U-Bahn, Burgermeister churns out perfectly formed, delicious burgers until the wee hours of the morning. Their brioche buns are buttery and soft and they keep it simple with their combinations of cheese, meat, salad, sauce and mayo. Munch on a burger, swig on a beer and feel the ground shudder as the train roars overheard. If you want to feel a part of this vibrant city, include this spot in your eating itinerary.
4. Pfannkuchen at Bäckerei Siebert
You wouldn’t think a simple jam doughnut would make it into the Cold War history books but when the masses started arguing that President John F Kennedy’s famous declaration “Ich bin ein Berliner” could be translated as “I am a doughnut” that’s exactly what happened. The people were wrong by the way, Kennedy’s speech- writers had their grammar down pat and the President did in fact say “I am a citizen of Berlin”.
But let’s talk about jam doughnuts. Known as a pfannkuchen to Berliners and a Berliner to the rest of Germany because a pfannkuchen is a pancake- it’s all a bit confusing really but all you need to know is that you need to eat one. We sampled the ones from the oldest bakery in Berlin- Bäckerei Siebertwhich has been churning them out since 1906. They’re well worth eating- fluffy hole-less doughnuts stuffed with a sour cherry or tart plum jam and topped with a thin icing which shatters as you bite into it.
Eat it at: Bäckerei Siebert, Schönfließer Str. 12, 10439 Berlin, Germany. Open Tuesday to Friday 6:15am to 6:30pm, Open Saturday 6:00am to 12:30pm.
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