Some of you might think of wine in France, pasta in Italy and sushi in Japan – but what do you think of German cuisine? Pork leg with sauerkraut? White sausages? Spaetzle? Yes and no.
Yes, because German cuisine can actually be as hearty as a salted knuckle of pork. And no, because “German cuisine” does not exist at all – it is constantly changing due to the diverse composition of the population and it differs from region to region, making it as diverse as the range of beer and bread types.
Germany attaches great importance to good bread, which is why there are around 300 different types of bread – more than anywhere else in the world. The origin of this diversity is, incidentally, German micro-state rule in the past centuries. At that time, today’s country consisted of numerous small dukedoms and independent towns where every baker produced his own bread. The fact that there are more than 1,300 breweries in Germany, which together brew more than 7,500 different types of beer – no other country can match this. But before any misunderstandings arise: the Germans are not world champions in beer drinking. But they are also familiar with wine: In Germany, about 9.5 million hectolitres of wine are produced per year.
Some say that German cuisine has such a strong regional character because the Federal Republic of Germany borders on nine other states and has taken over something from everyone. There’s something about that.
In Saarland, for example, the influence of French cuisine is unmistakable – for example, in the cross-over dish Lyoner Stroganoff, a combination of French sausage, cucumber, onion, mushrooms, and paprika. The cuisine in Schleswig-Holstein and Hamburg, on the other hand, has one or two things in common with the Danish cuisine – for example, labskaus, cured or fresh beef prepared with potatoes, herring/rollmops, onions, red beets and fried eggs. In Bavaria, the Austrian pancake is often on the menu as a dessert – a thin, sweet-filled egg pancake.
The favorite food of the Germans
If you ask the Germans for their favorite dishes, geographical proximity is no longer an issue. Spaghetti Bolognese and pizza are at the top of the list of the most popular main courses.
But with Italy, however, Germany shares no more a border than with Turkey, from which the Germans’ favorite snack, the doner kebab, comes. At any rate, almost: as the inventor of the doner kebab, marinated grilled meat with vegetables in flatbread, the Turkish Kadir Nurman is considered to be the inventor – but Norman created his first doner kebab in 1972 not in Istanbul, where he grew up, but in Berlin, where he had worked as an assembler for printing machines before his Döner career.
Between stars and snacks: the restaurant scene
So that’s how it is, German cuisine: Divers. Here everyone will find something for their taste. There are certainly plenty of opportunities to have a varied meal.
In the capital city of Berlin alone, almost 190 Italian restaurants can be found on Internet portals, 64 French restaurants, 36 Indian, 30 Spanish, 29 Chinese, 26 Greek, 23 Thai, 10 Mexican, 8 Russian and much more. The hundreds of snack bars, cafés, and pubs with foreign cuisine are not even included. There are a total of around 125,000 restaurants, bars and cafés in Germany – there is something for everyone. And also for gourmets. According to the Gourmet Bible Guide Michelin, Germany had a total of 282-star restaurants in 2015 – more than ever before. After France, Germany is also the country with the most three-star restaurants in Europe.
Healthy alternative: organic food
To eat well, you don’t have to go to a restaurant. You can also cook at your own stove – with good and healthy ingredients. Organic food, the organic products, are becoming increasingly popular in German supermarkets.
There are around 71,977 articles with state organic label according to strict classification. In other words, foodstuffs must not be treated with chemical plant protection products or genetically modified and meat may only come from animal welfare.
Speaking of meat: The German national dish is sometimes called curry sausage. This is probably because the Germans eat about 800 million of them every year. In any case, the curry sausage is not typically German, because even if the bratwurst comes from Germany, the sauce is made from ketchup or tomato paste with an Indian spice mixture of coriander, pepper, and turmeric.
Source: German Food Website