Fast food

more than a year ago

Berlin is known for several simple dishes, but its most indigenous dish is a hard sell to tourists: Eisbein (pork knuckle) with sauerkraut and puréed peas. Though it comes from an animal that most people have nourished themselves on for years, there’s something about this chunky bit of anatomy that intimidates those who botched their dissection exams in biology.

It’s a meal to wrestle with at a proper tavern with dim lighting and dark wood to hide any mess. But ultimately, the meat on a joint bone clearly reminds us that it’s a barnyard animal we’re consuming, and that can make even devoted carnivores queasy.

Berlin’s other adopted hometown recipes are perfect for those who don’t like their food to remind them from whence it came: Currywurst, Buletten and Döner kebab - all sold at fast food stands (Imbiss), which number about 2,000 in Berlin.

There are various claims to who first put the curry in the German Wurst, but a front-runner is the late Herta Heuwer of Berlin. She ran an Imbiss in Charlottenburg, and her culinary contribution to the city in 1949 is commemorated with a plaque on Kantstraße, corner of Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße.

The snack’s name is an overemphasis of just one of its many ingredients - the chubby smoked pork sausage (Dampfwurst) is served with ketchup that’s been laced with spices such as mild curry, ginger, cumin, cardamom, cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Frau Heuwer patented her curry sauce in January 1959.


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