Closely related to Brandenburg cuisine, Berlin cuisine is hearty and down-to-earth.
Influenced by immigrants from Silesia, Bohemia, East Prussia and Mecklenburg, the dishes of typical Berlin cuisine are simple and hearty.
So that you know what Berlin tastes like, we have collected the most important dishes here.
Guten Appetit or "Jut'n Hunga" and "Hau rin" as the Berliner says......
According to popular belief, the currywurst originated in Berlin in the post-World War II period. Its success can be attributed to the hardship of the post-war period, when natural casing was in short supply; currywurst is made without casing.
Herta Heuwer claimed to have invented the typical currywurst sauce in September 1949 and served it with the fried sausage, thus invented the currywurst.
The fried sausage is served cut into pieces with a sauce made from tomato ketchup or tomato paste and curry powder.
There are mild versions of the sauce, but also very spicy ones that contain chili powder and cayenne pepper.
Currywurst is served mainly by snack stands in Berlin.
2. Kassler mit Sauerkraut
(Lightly Smoked Cured Pork with Sauerkraut)
The Berlin butcher, Cassel, is said to have lightly smoked cured pork for the first time at the end of the 19th century. This was the birth of Kassler.
It is a hearty and nutritious dish of cured and smoked pork from the rib, neck, shoulder, and belly. Salt and potassium nitrate are used for curing to redden the meat.
Sauerkraut is white cabbage preserved by lactic acid fermentation and flavored with bay leaves, juniper, caraway, cloves, and marjoram.
3. Gepökeltes Eisbein mit Erbspüree
(Salted Pork Knuckle with Pea Puree)
The origin of the name is not clear, but the blades of the first skates were made from the shin bones of the pig, and even today skates are called "isläggor" in Swedish, meaning knuckle of pork.
The hearty and powerful dish made from pork shank, which is first cured and then cooked, is seasoned with cloves, bay leaves, and allspice, and peppercorns. Under a thick layer of fat is the tender and aromatic meat, often heavily marbled. Because of the way it is cooked, it is not crispy on the outside.
Erbspüree is a puree of cooked yellow dried peas, usually prepared with a bacon and onion mixture and seasoned with marjoram.
4. Königsberger Klopse
This East Prussian specialty takes its name from the former provincial capital of Königsberg, now the Russian city of Kaliningrad. The cook of a Königsberg merchant's house is said to have invented the recipe about 200 years ago.
The cooked meatballs are prepared from ground pork, veal, and beef, to which finely chopped anchovy fillets are added. The white cream sauce with capers is seasoned with nutmeg and captivates with its essence of lemon peel, caper acid, and anchovy seasoning. The side dish is usually boiled potatoes or mashed potatoes.
5. Buletten mit Kartoffelsalat
(Meatballs with Potato Salad)
Frikadelle, Fleischpflanzerln, Fleischküchle, and Bulette, behind all the names there is a flat dumpling made of minced meat, seasoned with various ingredients, shaped in different ways and then fried or deep-fried. "Boulette" means balls in French, the term came up during Napoleon's occupation of Berlin between 1806 and 1813.
Made from a mixture of minced meat, egg, onions, and bread soaked in milk or cream, the bulette is seasoned with salt, pepper, caraway, parsley, marjoram, nutmeg, and mustard, according to taste. It is served with potato salad.
Buletten are a staple food in Berlin and are served everywhere, hot or cold.
6. Falscher Hase
(Meatloaf Stuffed with Eggs)
This is a meat loaf strongly seasoned with mustard and onions and stuffed with hard-boiled eggs.
Where the name comes from is not clear, but it is certain that it is an invention out of necessity, because in the post-war period minced meat was very expensive and the eggs could stretch the food.
Very tasty, but also heavy and hearty.
7. Rindfleisch Berliner Art
(Berlin Style Beef)
Beef brisket cooked in vegetable broth, thinly sliced, and served with horseradish sauce.
Classic spices are clove and bay leaf. Be careful, horseradish can be very spicy.
(Veal Patty with Salmon, Sardines, and Capers)
This dish supposedly owes its name to the Privy Councillor Friedrich von Holstein, on whose instructions in the 19th century, the chef of a famous restaurant created the Schnitzel Holstein.
It is a veal escalope garnished with fried egg, smoked salmon, oil sardines, capers and anchovy fillets and served with toasted white bread. The side dishes are fried potatoes and pickled cucumbers.
The peculiar composition of cutlets, sardines, and capers takes some getting used to for the uninitiated.
9. Gänsebraten mit Grünkohl und Klößen
(Roast Goose with Kale and Dumplings)
This very heavy dish is offered in many Berlin restaurants from November and during the Christmas season. Breast or leg, you can choose. Perhaps you are traveling with family and would like a whole goose carved at the table. Roast goose is very flavorful, seasoned usually with rosemary, mugwort, and some grated orange peel.
It is served with potato dumplings and kale, also a typical winter dish.
10. Frikassee Berliner Art
(Berlin Style Fricassee)
This dish originated with an innkeeper named Schlüter and includes stuffed crab noses and crab meat, among many other ingredients. Everyone could afford crabs at that time, as the Spree River was full of them. Legend has it that the feast was cooked for about 24 hours.
Traditionally made of morels, mushrooms, sweetbreads, veal tongue, and veal dumplings, the ragout is sprinkled with capers and surrounded with stuffed crab noses and crab meat.
It is mild in taste, but you just have to like capers.
11. Leber Berliner Art mit Äpfeln, Zwiebeln und Stampfkartoffeln
(Berlin Style Liver with Apples, Onions and Mashed Potatoes)
Offal has always been part of Berlin cuisine. This classic dish is made of relatively thinly sliced veal liver, rolled in flour and briefly fried in butter on both sides.
Inside, the liver remains rosy. It is served with apple slices and onion rings, also fried in butter and with mashed potatoes.
(Onions and Meat Stew)
Bolle means onion in Berlin.
Bollenfleisch or onion meat stew prepared from lamb or mutton and onions. Small pieces of meat from the shoulder, breast, leg, and shank are sautéed and then slowly cooked with plenty of onions until a creamy sauce is formed. The seasonings are salt, pepper, bay leaf, and caraway.
The dish is not spicy, but has a very distinct aroma of its own.
13. Aal grün mit Salzkartoffeln und Gurkensalat
(Green Eel with Boiled Potatoes and Cucumber Salad)
Pieces of eel are cooked in a broth of water with salt, vinegar, parsley root, carrot, onion, bay leaf, sage, tarragon, parsley, and dill. When the eel is cooked, this broth is thickened with butter and flour, seasoned with salt, pepper, and lemon juice and finished with parsley and dill, the green sauce is ready.
It is served with boiled potatoes and cucumber salad. The dish is light and well tolerated.
14. Berliner Schnitzel
(Cow Udder Patty)
Don't let the name mislead you.... Also known as a fake cutlet, this schnitzel-like pan-fried dish consists of boiled cow's udder dredged in flour, egg and breadcrumbs and then fried until golden brown.
In the post-war period, cow's udders were considered a cheap substitute for cutlet meat. Today, fresh cow udders are hard to come by in Germany. Berliner Schnitzel is served in various restaurants that offer old Berlin cuisine.
15. Blut und Leberwurst mit Kartoffelbrei
(Blood and Liver Sausage with Mashed Potatoes)
Blood sausage is a cooked sausage made of pork blood, bacon, rind, and pork meat, liver sausage is a cooked sausage made of coarsely shredded sigel and head meat, pork liver, and onion roux. The proportion of liver in liver sausage is only 15%. It is seasoned with salt, pepper, marjoram, thyme, allspice, coriander, nutmeg, and ginger.
After the sausages are drawn in hot, but not boiling water for 20-30 minutes, they are served with mashed potatoes. You cut the blood and liver sausage in half and then press the sausage contents out of the casing with a fork.
This dish is not for everyone and is traditionally served in the cold winter months.
16. Stolzer Heinrich
Behind the dignified name is a very simple dish: Bratwurst in beer sauce Glassy fried onions are deglazed with beer and malt beer, the previously fried bratwursts are finished cooking in this decoction. The sausages are seasoned with juniper berries and bayberries.
The aroma of the sausages is transferred to the sauce, the alcohol gives the dish a special flavor, and the malt refines the sauce.
Brined eggs are a traditional dish and are a standard offering in Berlin's pubs. They are hard-boiled eggs that have been pickled in a strong saline solution and thus preserved.
The eggs are usually eaten as a snack. The yolk is taken out of the peeled and halved eggs, oil, vinegar, and pepper are put into the hollow, then the half yolk is put back on top in reverse and the half egg is eaten with mustard in one bite.
(Minced Pork Spread)
Hackepeter is raw minced pork seasoned with chopped onions, salt, pepper, and mustard. It is eaten raw as a spread.
The dish was first mentioned and prepared in Berlin as early as 1903.
19. Strammer Max
(Bread with Raw Ham and a Fried Egg)
The Strammer Max is a simple dish of mixed bread, ham and fried egg and today a popular pub meal.
Buttered slices of bread are topped with raw ham and then covered with a fried egg. Sometimes slices of pickles, tomato slices or onion rings are added.
Rollmops is herring fillet in which a filling of onions and cucumbers is rolled up. The rollmops is held together by two small wooden sticks. It is not eaten with cutlery, but put into the mouth as a whole and is a traditional part of the hangover breakfast.
The dish originated in the first half of the 19th century in Berlin. Its shape and appearance are reminiscent of the pug dog breed, hence the name.
21. Teltower Rübchen
A special kind of turnip named after Teltow, a landscape in Brandenburg where it originated. They are either eaten raw or stewed with sugar caramelized in butter and meat broth, creating a concentrated, dark sauce.
22. Berliner Luft
(Light Whipped Dessert)
Already mentioned in a cookbook from 1897, this recipe is older than the song of the same name written by Paul Lincke in 1904.
The frothy dessert cream is prepared from egg yolks, beaten egg whites, sugar and gelatin and served with raspberry sauce.
Not to be confused with the peppermint liqueur, which is also called Berliner Luft.
23. Berliner Pfannkuchen
Known as Berliner for short, this is a sweet yeast dough baked in floating fat with a filling of jam or plum jam dusted with powdered sugar. In southern Germany, this pastry is known as Krapfen.
In the past, doughnuts were only available at carnival time, but today they are available all year round.
24. Berliner Weiße
(Light Wheat Beer)
The Berliner Weiße is a light wheat beer drunk with a straw from special drinking bowls and is offered either as Weiße rot - with raspberry syrup - or Weiße Grün - with woodruff syrup.
(Glass of Beer)
A molle is a glass of beer, if you order a molle with compote, you get beer and grain.
Fassbrause is a lemonade made from natural fruit and herb additives and malt extract.
It was invented by the chemist Ludwig Scholvien in Berlin in 1908, who wanted to produce a non-alcoholic drink for his son that was similar to beer in color and taste.
(Kebab Meat in Pita Bread)
The kebab meat and kebab spit comes from Turkey. The idea for the döner kebab comes from Berlin. Kadir Nurman put the meat in a pita in his country in Berlin in 1972 and had invented the Döner.
Kadir’s "real" kebab store no longer exists. Instead, the doner kebab is now the number one street food, ahead of the Berlin curry sausage.
Influences on Berlin cuisine
Typical dishes are prepared with pork or goose, accompanied by cabbage, legumes such as peas, beans, and lentils, as well as beets, cucumbers, potatoes, or pickled gherkins. Pike-perch, carp, eel, and pike from the Havel and other surrounding waters are also very common.
Some of the dishes that are considered typical of Berlin today did not originate in Berlin, but only found their way into Berlin cuisine with the immigrants.
The Huguenots, who moved from France to Berlin and Brandenburg in the 17th century, brought cauliflower, asparagus, green peas and beans, cucumbers, and leaf lettuce to Berlin.
Another part originated in Berlin. These include cured pork loin, currywurst, sol-eggs and Holstein schnitzel.