Fast Food in Germany; more than one expects
Author: Philipp Schiwek
Keyword: fast food
No time for healthy food and eating? Fancy some tasty, too fat, few vitamins fast food? Although many American fast food chains and trends swashed across the Atlantic Ocean, fast food history didn’t start with McDonalds, KFC, Burger King or Subway but much earlier. European travellers, salesmen and street traders have long eaten on the fly, even if the term fast food has its origin in 19th century USA.
Nowadays Germany offers serious multicultural fast food opportunities and fast food connects the nations. Germany wouldn't be on the map, if The Economist couldn't complete their Big Mac Survey here. Yes you can find American fast food chains everywhere with McDonalds market leader in Germany but there is of course the typical German snack, Imbiss.
And the snack bar, Imbiss-Bude can be found on every other street corner serving typical national and traditional gastronomic specialties. Many have really long traditions and some try to reserve titles like best bratwurst or best currywurst but there is no such official title, not yet.
The big fast food chains may have been tough competitors but Döner-Buden have recently spread across cities and towns and seem nationalised into the local diet. Fast food from other cultural origins like Chinese or Lebanese abound but the pizza, originally brought into the country by former Italian migratory workers is some of the finest available anywhere.
Some fast food also influences etymology. The word hamburger originates from a ground beef-steak-bread combination that immigrants from Hamburg brought to North-America around the 19th century.
Bockwurst - A traditional Frankfurter, Bockwurst is made from ground veal and pork and it is flavored with salt, white pepper and paprika. Other spices, such as chives and parsley, are often also added in Germany. Thicker but smaller in length than a Frankfurter, this classic is warmed in hot water and often served with potato salad, always with mustard.
Bratwurst - A classic, and seldom a Nürnberger, the Bratwurst is fried, has less veal that pork and it is usually served with a slice of toast or a small bread roll and mustard.
Currywurst - A Bratwurst is sliced and doused with ketchup and curry powder, usually not too hot. Sometimes, someone may order a very colloquial Mantaplatte, which means chips/fries with mayonnaise, ketchup and a Currywurst.
Pommes - Called chips in Britain and French fries in the US deep fried potatoes are known as Pommes Frites or just Pommes in Germany and there are several ways to eat them.
chips/fries white or with mayonnaise, Pommes Weiss or Pommes mit Mayo
chips/fries red or with ketchup, Pommes Rot or Pommes mit Ketchup common
chips/fries white-red or with Mayonnaise and Ketchup, Pommes Weiß/Rot
Remember that mayonnaise and ketchup are seldom free of charge, usually costing 20-30 cents and there is no chance to get vinegar or brown sauce for your chips/fries.
Döner - Short for Döner Kebab, which means basically rotating grilled meat, it is a Turkish dish that has captured Germany. The meat is scraped off a spit that has pierced many slices of meat that get grilled. A Döner comes with a piece of bread filled with onions, salad, slaw, tomatoes, cucumbers or whatever you wish to have on it. Additionally you will be asked which sauce you would like to have hot, Scharf or garlic, Knoblauch.
Frikadelle - Known also as a Bulette, it is quite similar to the piece of meat in a hamburger. There are different recipes but it consists most often of ground meat, breadcrumbs, spices and onions and it is ball-shaped. Unfortunately the quality of Frikadellen is not always as good as it should be, the best from quality butchers, your faithful Imbiss or your best friends' Mom.
Halbes Hähnchen - A half a chicken or Halbes Hähnchen is normally purchased at a take away stand where the chickens are roasted on spits and already well spiced with paprika and salt.
Schnitzel - A boneless cutlet or Schnitzel is most often served with salad and fries but comes in many variations.
Hunter’s style Jäger Schnitzel is made of pork with a dark sauce normally consisting of gravy, cream and mushrooms.
Gypsy style Zigeuner Schnitzel is also pork, this time with a spicy redish sauce with paprika, onions and/or mushrooms.
Vienna style Wiener Schnitzel is a crumbed cutlet made of veal, while a Schnitzel Wiener Art is made of pork, both with no sauce but a quarter of a lemon.