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Make JFK Proud and Eat These Three Things in Berlin

Where: Berlin, Germany
May 16, 2014 at 11:43 AM | by | ()

In this addition of Street Food Friday, we head to Berlin to see what's cooking. While it does have some very strong traditions, it's important to note that Berlin is a huge international city where locals eat everything from burgers to Asian barbecue. Try the following local dishes along the way, but if you really want to live the local life, be sure to explore the Berlin's vast multicultural food scene.

Doner Kebab

This staple of Berlin was started by Turkish workers who immigrated after World War II in the 60s. It is now the most popular street food, sold in just about every neighborhood of the city (typical shop shown in the cover photo). Veal, chicken, and turkey are the three most common base meats used in Berlin, which is cut from a vertical rotisserie, stuffed inside a thick flatbread, and topped with lettuce, onion, tomatoes, cucumbers, potatoes, and your choice of spice or yogurt-based sauces (exact recipes vary between shops). Make sure to also try another version of the same dish, the Durum, which is the same ingredients served as a wrap. Tip: When choosing a doner restaurant, be sure to have a good look at the spindle. It should look like real meat, and the eye test is a good judge of quality.


Chowing down on bratwurst is the norm throughout all of Germany, but Berlin is responsible for the invention of a version known as currywurst. The dish takes the brat out of the bun and adds a special curry-flavored ketchup, usually served with a side of fries that the locals douse with mayonnaise. Sometimes, a bread roll will also come on the side or in substitution of the fries, although it is never eaten as a sandwich. Like doner kebabs, currywurst can be found all over the city and the recipes vary slightly from place to place.


Who could forget the infamous JFK line during his speech in Berlin, Ich bin ein Berliner. He wanted to say that he was one with the people of Berlin, but many people translated what he said into "I am a jelly doughnut." There has since been some controversy about what he said and how it should translate, but no matter: It's a perfect segue to discuss the city's famous pastry, the Berliner. It is very simply a doughnut, typically filled with jelly, or in some cases, chocolate or custard. You can refer to them as "Berliners" in most of Northern and Western Germany as well as Switzerland, but if you want to fit in, take note that they are called Pfannkuchen by locals in Berlin.

[Photos: Flickr/Flickr/Flickr/Will McGough]

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