While each city and region in Germany are famous for their own unique cuisine, Berlin is willing to surprise even the pickiest of foodies. Don't expect to see traditional German Medieval cafes or beer gardens as you would in Frankfurt, Munich, or Düsseldorf. In fact, forget everything you thought you knew about German cuisine: this non-conventional, non-traditional, nonconformist capital, is one of the most international cities in the world, and no wonder, Berlin's culinary choices and opportunities are indeed diverse and curious. Let's take a look at the Top 7 Best Foods in Berlin!
Eisbein, ham hock, is Berliners' ultimate favorite. (Although, don't confuse it with famous Bavarian pork knuckle Schweinshaxe – we are not in Bavaria!)
While Schweinshaxe is grilled, Eisbein is boiled, and that's why it's so incredibly tender and soft. The origin of the name Eisbein, literally “Ice Leg,” is pretty mysterious: According to one of the versions, ice skates' blades were made of pork bones, and perhaps, this is how Eisbein got its name. Traditionally it is served with Sauerkraut cabbage and mashed potatoes or peas.
Berliners joke that to a meal like this you should get a beer as a side dish, and another beer as a dessert. Sounds like good advice, doesn't it?
6. Berliner Allerlei
The name of this dish can be simply translated as, “Everything that they eat in Berlin.” This way you'll be able to try all the meals loved by the locals all in one tray – cabbage Sauerkraut, fried sausage, pea pudding, pork, fried potatoes, and much more.
One of the best places to try Berliner Allerlei is the famous restaurant Zillemarkt, which was named after Heinrich Zille, the painter whose works now embellish the interior.
5. Berliner Kindl
Try Berliner Kindl – Berliner beer sold in nice funny bottles, or served in huge glasses in bars, along with a shot of berry (red) or mint (green) syrup. At first, it seems that a beer with syrup might not be a good idea, but after the first sip, you will truly fall in love with the drink.
If you are not a Berliner Kindl person, worry not – all bars and Späti (little corner stores literally on every corner) offer a nice selection of German beers, from Bavarian Augustiner to Saxonian Bier.
A capital of techno music and refined club and bar culture wouldn't survive without an extra energy shot every once in a while. This is where Club-Mate comes in. Sold in each and every Späti and bar, this soft, carbonated beverage based on Mate tea extract, has been produced since 1924, and is now, perhaps, the main source of caffeine for Berliners.
There are different varieties to try, from Cola Club-Mate to seasonal Winter Editions, so you won't get bored. Of course, you will find it as the main ingredient in many cocktails popular in Berlin, for example, Vodka-Mate (obviously, with vodka) and Jäger-Mate (with liquor Jägermeister).
The legend says, in 1756 one Berlin baker, who wanted to serve in artillery when he was young, but for some reason became a military baker, made cannonballs out of dough and fried them in butter. That's how the some of the most famous donuts in the whole world, Berliner donuts, were made.
At first, they were sold in street stands, but now you can order them in almost any bakery or cafe, for example, Cuccuma.
2. Döner Kebab
Nothing can be more Berliner than going to a Turkish fast food. You will see hungry travelers and locals of all nationalities line up before Döner Kebab places, and having Döners on the go.
The secret of success?
Döners are simple, delicious, and budget friendly.
You can also get Dürüm (Turkish analog of shawarma), Lahmacun (Turkish pizza), and of course, falafel. Every Berliner has their own favorite Döner Kebab, and you can spot good places easily – the best ones have the longest lines.
The most sought after Berliner dish of all, Currywurst, is perhaps the most popular street food, and also one of the easiest meals to prepare. It is simply a fried sausage under tomato sauce with curry, often served with fried potatoes or bread.
This dish is served everywhere – from street food stands next to U-Bahn stations, to fancy restaurants.
It was although invented long ago, in post-war times in one of the small cafes in the British district of Berlin. British soldiers shared the spices they brought from India with the owner of the cafe, Herta Heuwer, and Frau Heuwer decided to add some curry into tomato sauce and serve it over a sausage. The locals instantly liked the dish, and it became rapidly popular, not only all over the city, but within the whole Germany as well.
In 1959 Herta Heuwer patented the sauce. In 2009 – at Currywurst 60th anniversary – the authorities even opened a Currywurst museum. You can try one of the best Currywurst in town in the legendary cafe, Konnopke's Imbiß.