If you’re going to spend your Erasmus in Germany, you will want to taste the German cuisine sooner or later. In general, Germany is associated with Berlin’s currywurst or Munich’s beer and white sausages. Both are honourable representatives of their geographical latitude, but the German cuisine has much more to offer. Hearty sausage tasting, sweet desserts and lots of variation for meat lovers. Here is a selection of dishes across the German map.
1. Birnen, Bohnen, Speck (Schleswig-Holstein)
This meal is known in the Northern part around Schleswig-Holstein, Lower Saxony, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and Hamburg. The three ingredients are served together as a kind of stew with potatoes.
2. Labskaus (Hamburg)
Labskaus is a potato dish with cured beef and red beet eaten in Northern Germany. German Labskaus is prepared on bread slices, and mainly consists of cooked potatoes and corned beef, with pickled herring, onions, beetroot and fried eggs.
3. Matjesfilet mit Speckstippe (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern)
This signature dish from Northern Germany has pickled herring matured in salt solution as the star of the plate, and it’s served with skinned potatoes, green beans with bacon, and onions. This herring version is very popular in Germany. Every year, the Matjesfest (or Pickled Herring Fest) takes place at the end of May/beginning of June in East Friesland by the North Sea coast.
4. Quark mit Leinöl und Kartoffeln (Brandenburg)
The hearty and flavourful ingredients star in the name of this dish — quark with linseed oil and potatoes — and it’s traditionally served with Pellkartoffeln as a side dish. It used to be considered as food for the poor; under the influence of the Sorbian population, it gained great popularity and is now regarded as a local specialty of Saxon cuisine. It’s also known as a breakfast dish, a snack, or as dietary food.
5. Bremer Knipp (Bremen)
Knipp is a type of minced black pudding. It’s a specialty in Bremen and in some regions of Lower Saxony, and it also used to be considered as food for the poor. Knipp is made from oatmeal, pork and beef, seasoned with salt, allspice and pepper. The sausage is traditionally fried, served with bread or with roast or boiled potatoes, cucumber, pumpkin, sauerkraut, apple purée and beetroot.
6. Pinkel mit Grünkohl (Niedersachsen)
Pinkel is a smoked, coarse grained sausage, mainly eaten in green cabbage on Northwest Germany. It’s a particularly nutritious and fat dish often served with smoked meat ingredients. Boiled or fried potatoes are common as a side dish, as well as a bowl of mustard.
7. Linseneintopf (Sachsen-Anhalt)
Linseneintopf is a global dish whose variations extend across every continent. Naturally, Northern Germany also has its version. It’s a stew with lentils, diced vegetables, potatoes, bacon and pork belly or sausage. In some German regions, lentils with sliced blood sausage, additional vinegar and sugar are seasoned to personal taste.
8. Currywurst (Berlin)
The German classic. Currywurst is a sausage dish, served whole or diced, covered in tomato sauce and curry powder. It’s mainly served in snack bars or food trucks. It’s equally popular as a ready-made meal in supermarkets. Every year, over 800 million curry sausages are gobbled up in Germany.
9. Pfefferpotthast (Nordrhein-Westfalen)
This simple recipe is an absolute crowd pleaser from Dortmund. Every year, there’s even a Pfefferpotthast festival in the city in the end of September. It’s a slow-cooked beef dish similar to goulash; the difference is that there are no tomatoes or paprika. Instead, bay leaves, clove and pepper are used. The recipe was first recorded in the city in 1378!
10. Speckkuchen (Hessen)
Speckkuchen is a Northern specialty made from rye bread dough. The dish is prepared and consumed in large quantities, especially in the country and amusements parks. Spread on the bread dough before baking is a mixture of sour cream, eggs, leeks, diced bacon and spices.
11. Thüringer Rostbratwurst (Thüringen)
The Thüringer Rostbratwurst is a pork sausage, but it can also be made from veal or beef. Eating this sausage is a centuries-old tradition in Thuringia and has a very high significance. The oldest known mention of it dates back to 1404. In 2006, the first German Bratwurst Museum opened up in Holzhausen near Arnstadt. Leave it to the Germans to open up a sausage museum!
12. Quarkkeulchen (Sachsen)
These are either flat or round pancakes. They’re made from quark, grated potatoes, eggs and flour, and served with fruit jam, and apple purée. It’s the perfect snack while you wander around the picturesque German Christmas markets.
13. Sauerbraten (Rheinland-Pfalz)
Sauerbraten is a marinated pre-treated braised pot roast. The marinade usually consists of vinegar, water or wine, onion, carrot and spices. After it’s cooked, a sweet sauce is poured over it and it’s served with bread dumplings, pasta and salad.
14. Dibbelabbes (Saarland)
Dibbelabbes is a potato casserole dish, in which a mass (labbes) is cooked in fat in the oven in a cast-iron pot (dibbe) with a closed lid. Besides the potatoes, also onions, dried meat, skim milk bread roll and eggs make up the main ingredients. It’s served with a sweet apple purée or endive salad.
15. Maultaschen (Baden-Württemberg)
Maultaschen are a specialty of Swabian cuisine. As the name implies, they’re bags made of pasta dough with a basic filling of meat, onions and soaked bread rolls — think of it as German ravioli. Depending on the recipe, other ingredients can also be added. Maultaschen are served either as a soup, with potato salad, or in a pan.
16. Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Baden-Württemberg)
A Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, or Black Forest cherry cake, is one of most popular German cream cakes. The basic ingredients include chocolate biscuit, a cherry filling, cream, and cherries and chocolate rasps as decoration. It may have gained its name from the Black Forest in the South East of Germany, but the geographical origin of the cake isn’t clear.
17. Weißwurst mit Brezel (Bayern)
The Bavarian white sausage is a dish everyone knows from Oktoberfest. Since it’s seasoned with salt, it has a light gray-white colour. The Munich specialty is prepared early in the morning and traditionally consumed before noon as a snack in markets and pubs with sweet mustard, pretzels and white beer — a German English breakfast, if you will.
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What other German dishes would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments. And remember: if you’re looking for student accommodation in Europe, you’ll find the perfect student home on Uniplaces. We have rooms in Berlin and rooms in Munich!