Meals and Food
I share the opinion that German food is one of the best in the world, possibly right behind French food! Their meals are high in carbs and protein as they often include sausages, meat, potatoes, noodles and flavorful sauces. Personally, the only downside to German food is that I feel full after almost every meal because it is so hearty. I was amazed to see that my host family would start a meal with a large mound of food, finish it, and serve themselves more. Compared to them, I ate like a bird and still felt full at the end of a meal.
German Bretzels are large, soft and chewy yeast bread in the “pretzel shape” sprinkled with salt. They can be found just about everywhere, from bakeries to street vendors.
Leberknödelsuppe (Chicken liver dumpling soup)
More typical in Bavaria than in Berlin, this light chicken broth surrounds one or two large dumplings made of chicken liver. I’m not a big fan of chicken liver, but these dumplings are flavorful and delicious.
Bratwurst is the most well know pork sausage in Germany, but the Currywurst is also a German favorite and originated in Berlin. Currywurst consists of thin slices of pork sausage covered with a curried ketchup.
German meat dishes
Whether you are eating breaded, pan-fried Wiener Schnitzel, slow-cooked beef in Sauberbraten, German dishes are packed with flavor. Although Gulasch (beef stew) is not originally German, it is a common dish liked by many. The Roulanden is also a German favorite that consists of rolls of thinly sliced beef, veal or pork with bacon, onion and mustards (and many other possible combinations) then browned on the stove and simmered in a broth or gravy.
Sauerkraut and Blaukraut
Sauerkraut (cooked fermented green cabbage) and Blaukraut (cooked fermented red cabbage) are typical side dishes that are served with many main courses. Their slightly sour flavor perfectly balances the heavy sauced meat dishes.
This is one of Germany’s most popular staples. Made from flour, salt, water and egg, this oddly shaped soft noodle is the perfect accompaniment to any tasty German dish, especially with flavorful gravy.
Two typical potato dishes are Kartoffelpuffer (potato pancakes) and Bratkartoffeln, which are boiled potatoes sliced and then fried with onions and sometimes bacon.
Apfelstrudel (apple strudel) is a delicious and popular dessert, consisting of a buttery pastry wrapped around cinnamon and sugar-glazed apples and raisins. However, my favorite dessert is Pflaumenkuchen (plum kuchen), which is a yeast dough cake with plums. I especially love to eat it with a serving of whipped cream.
Germans eat a rather typical continental breakfast with cereal, Danish pastries, and toasted bread with butter, jam or Nutella.
Lunch is the lighter meal of the day (noon – 2:00 p.m.) and Germans usually just eat sandwiches. When I was in Germany in the summer, my host family would often skip lunch as they said the heat made them lose their appetite. It was an interesting concept that I had never experienced before.
Candy can be purchased in bags at grocery stores. Haribo gummies are the most popular as this brand is German and consequently there are factories throughout the country. Therefore, Germans claim to have the freshest gummy bears in Europe!
Dinner in Germany is the main meal of the day, unlike in France and Spain. It is typical served hot and portions are large. My host family typically ate at 7:00 p.m., and I understood that the average dinner time ranged from as early as 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
As previously mentioned, sparkling water is a favorite amongst Germans. My German host family adored mixing different juices with sparkling water. They also drink a lot of soda and beer, which can be purchased at the age of 16.
Teenagers primarily eat at fast food restaurants such as McDonalds, Subway, KFC and Turkish kebab restaurants. Due to the large Turkish population in Germany, Turkish food has become popular and Kebab restaurants are found in most cities and throughout Berlin.
Families, usually the parents, go grocery shopping about once per week. Once, when I was parched, I ventured into a German grocery store to buy some water. I was stunned to see the enormous selection of bottled sparkling water compared to the limited selection of flat water. They love that sparkling water!