The Currywurst is to Berliners what fish and chips are to the British or hot dogs are to Americans. But more than just a tasty fast food treat, the currywurst has become an icon in modern german popular culture. Turning 65 years old this year, we decided that this simple but delicious street food deserves some attention.
Where does it come from, who invented it, how many sausages do the Germans eat per year and where do you find the best Currywurst in Berlin? Keep reading and we will fill you in on all you very needed to know about Berliner’s most beloved sausage.
What is a Currywurst?
It is a steamed and fried pork sausage, served cut up in pieces and drenched in curry ketchup. Usually served alone or with french fries or bread rolls on the side.
Over 800 000 million portions are sold per year in Germany, and 70 000 million of them are just in Berlin. That means that Berliners enjoy a striking number of 191 780 portions per day!
The story of the Currywurst
The Currywurst was invented in Berlin in 1949 by Herta Heuwer, a former seamstress turned street food vendor. The story has it that on a quiet September day she started experimenting with ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder, which she had gotten from British soldiers in Germany, mixed it together with other spices and poured it over the grilled sausages and, voilà – a legend was created!
Her food stand in Charlottenburg soon boomed with visitors, selling up to 10 000 servings per week, and as the cleaver businesswoman she was, she decided to file a patent for her sauce in 1951. The sausage quickly spread over the country and in 1960 it crossed the boarder to East Berlin where it became just as big a success.
The sausage is now sold all over the country and is Germany’s favourite fast food. The curry recipes vary, and the fact is that the Heuwer’s original curry sauce is no longer to be found. When Heuwer died in 1999 she took her recipe with her to the grave, allegedly not having shared it with anyone.
Currywurst in pop culture
The popularity of the sausage stretches well beyond the dish. The Currywurst has in fact become an icon in German popular culture. It has its own museum and songs, a novel written about it and there is a long-standing tradition that each candidate for mayor in Berlin is photographed standing next to a Currywurst stand. Even Google acknowledged its icon status by turning it in to a Google Doodle on the German search engine on the 30 June 2013, celebrating Heuwer’s 100th birthday!
Where can you get the best Currywurst in Berlin?
And in order to celebrate this iconic street food we asked one our local Berlin experts, Peter, to point out the best Currywurst spots in Berlin:
“I would recommend the “Curry 36” in Kreuzberg. By the way the “36” stands for the former West-Berlin postcode for this district. “Kreuzberg 36” became a popular synonym for this area. Another place I would recommend is the “Ziervogel’s Kult- Curry” in the area of East-Berlins Prenzlauer Berg.”
So there you have it, now you know where to head for your next visit in Berlin. Guten Appetit!
While Berlin might be the home to German’s favorite fast food it is also the Mecca for the Slow Food Movement. Click here to read our post about it.