Hello! It’s Katy, one of two daughters of German Girl in America here. This summer after graduating from college (WOOHOO!) my mom brought me along for a whirlwind road trip through Germany. To say I was stoked would be an understatement. You see, I actually have been to Germany a few times. Just in the past 3 years, I have studied abroad in Berlin during Spring of my Junior year and visited my boyfriend in Heidelberg the Winter of my sophomore year when he was studying abroad. And this doesn’t even include the many times Karen (mom) took us for family visiting trips.
What do I know About German Food?
So… not to toot my own horn, but I have been to Germany a lot. And beyond the first-hand experience in Germany, I have always been consistently exposed to German culture through my mom and grandparents. And all this experience has made me an expert in one thing: FOOD! Okay, not an expert (I have very little culinary experience in a traditional school setting) but I know about German food and I know what tastes good. So I’m here to go over some of my favorite German meals that I had this summer and hopefully leave some great suggestions for you to try.
Lets start with the most important meal of the day. Now in my opinion you can do this one of two way: 1) a traditional sit-down breakfast or 2) a pastry to go.
Traditional German breakfast. I grew up spending long hours of the morning at my oma’s house eating bread with various meats, jams/ other spreads, cheeses and much more. German breakfast is a glorious experience of options. You can have bread with toppings, fruits, yogurt, pastries and much more. It’s incredible and a must try experience. We found an awesome cafe where they had various combinations of German breakfast, and we each picked the option we loved most.
Pastry on the go. Nothing beats a cheap pastry on the go. I haven’t met a pastry in Germany I haven’t liked. It’s truly unfair that all their chain bakeries pump out the most delicious treats. And they are soooo cheap. So 10/10 recommend for a quick breakfast, or even a snack during the day.
Imbiß the Other Fast Food
Döner, the BEST Fast Food of All
Now we have eaten breakfast, so let’s get to the more substantial meals of the day and lets begin with this statement. GERMAN IMBISS REIGNS SUPREME TO ALL FAST FOOD. Listen, I spent a semester in Berlin, aka. the hub of all that is German fast food stalls (many credit this both to the thriving nightlife and therefore need for quick food at all hours for all those with “drunchies”) A huge part of this though is the large immigrant populations in Berlin, Turkish being one of the largest. The Turkish immigrant influence particularly brings me to one of my all time favorite meals. Doner Kebab.
I wouldn’t say I traveled to Germany just for the Döner, but man there are some days I am tempted to. Saying goodbye to my go-to Döner place in Berlin was probably the hardest goodbye. This delicious pile of meat, onions, red cabbage, tomato and cucumber covered in garlic sauce (other sauce of your preference) sandwiched inside a warm piece of flatbread brings me a joy that I cannot describe. I am not the only one who feels this way either.
Kebab shops in Germany bring in annual sales of 2.5 billion Euros! Getting a Döner kebab can be an excellent travel food as well. It’s fast, cheap and extremely filling.
Sausage- Who doesn’t love a Sausage?
Other Imbiß favorites include sausage of all forms. Whether that’s Bratwurst in a Brötchen or Currywurst you really can’t go wrong. Germans just do sausage right, and that’s not just big storefronts that sell it. Some of the best in my opinion come from people selling on the street with carts. Plus you get the bonus of having some awesome views with your to go food.
Imbiss is great for on-the-go visitors, workers or students, but Germany, of course, has a great restaurants where you can sit down and enjoy a full meal. While traveling in Germany with my mom, I got to enjoy some of my favorite German meals.
Restaurants and Oma’s Kitchen
Spätzle. It’s not a secret that I am an avid fan of pasta, and I specifically want to drown myself in a pool of Käse Spaetzle. That being said, Spätzle does not have to be an extremely heavy meal. Yes, I love a very cheesy pasta, in this case also covered in fried onion.
But, as most German food isn’t always heavy, neither are all the dishes made with this pasta. In Hamburg, I had a wonderful dish of Spätzle with goat cheese, arugula and tomatoes and it was amazing! All in all don’t think that Spaetzle is just a kids meal.
Pfannkuchen. Specifically speck Pfannkuchen. You know those cravings of breakfast for diner? Well this gives me the feeling of that, while most definitely being a savory entree that I associate with dinner time. I was raised on German pancakes, never fully having gotten used to thick American ones, so this meal takes me back to my Oma’s kitchen. The meal is just a pancake filled with ham. Some restaurants specialize in this dish and make variations of the pancake with all sorts of fillings. You really can’t go wrong at this kinda place, and there is always a variation that pleases everyone’s taste.
Speck Pfannekuchen in Ulm
Flammkuchen. Continuing on the trend of flat foods, Flammkuchen is a delicious flatbread/pizza that is found in most restaurants throughout Germany, although it’s origin is the German-French border. My favorite is the original Flammkuchen, that has Speck, onions and a cream sauce. My cousin’s husband made this one special for me, so I got extra cheese in mine, and it was AMAZING. Flammkuchen is like having the best meal of cheese and crackers that is warm and seemingly never ending. Just be careful, most Germans eat it with a knife and fork.
Flammkuchen at Hotel am Pferdzentrum Vechta
Pfifferlinge. Pfifferlinge are a type of mushroom which dominate German menus throughout the summer. And for a good reason. They are absolutely delicious. Seriously, I’m not a huge mushroom gal, but these ones in a nice gravy are fantastic. Restaurants serve these in many ways. My mom got just a pile of them with a nice Rosti (aka. a delicious giant hash brown patty) and I got them with a Schnitzel and bread dumplings (very reminiscent to Jäger Schnitzel). ALSO, the baby spinach salad took me back to every meal my German home-stay mom made in Berlin, and I miss that type of salad. In summation, embrace these mushrooms in all their forms.
Pfifferlinge… over Rosti and in Rahm Soße over Schnitzel
Time for Dessert
We have truly feasted throughout this blog post, and for those who stayed until the end I saved the best for last. DESSERT! Oh my goodness, Germans get dessert on a holy level. And here are some of my summertime favorites.
Spaghetti Eis. Don’t listen to anyone who says Spaghetti Eis is a child’s meal. They are wrong and live a sad life. This dessert is possibly the easiest creation, but man do I get so excited every time I have it. I ate it at least 5 times during our 2 week trip. It’s essentially vanilla ice cream send through a press over whipped cream, topped with strawberry sauce and covered in shaved white chocolate. Mine also had strawberries on the side. It is incredible, and even more incredible is how Germans will eat this stuff as a mid afternoon coffee snack. Plus they eat it with spoons shaped as a shovel! They literally shovel the stuff into their mouths! So grab that Eis cafe menu with no shame and order what you want.
Kuchen. Germans just know what is up about cake. They love it. They eat it. And they don’t make a big deal about when they eat it. It’s amazing. There is no shame in their cake game. They just eat their cake during mid-afternoon coffee, and are like “of course there is cake”. I need more of that energy in my daily life.
As you can tell, I like cake that is flavored with fruit. In these cases raspberries and strawberries, but really any cake in the cake shop will not lead you astray.
( I also love a good carrot cake) I just recommend trying something other than Black Forest Cake. Trust me when I say Germans make a lot more delicious types of cakes than that.
Picnics with Adult Beverages
Finally, this isn’t a meal but one of my favorite things that Germany offers is being able to drink in public. Thus, I bring you picnics in the park.
Strawberries in the Park… Bliss
Okay, I know. This is just strawberries, a beer and a lemonade. But to be honest this was one of the best meals I had in Germany. I ate a whole basket of strawberries, so ripe and juicy I just couldn’t stop. I sipped on a delicious Rhubarb Lemonade, a flavor I’m waiting to for in the US. And I had a delicious beer while reading in Munich’s famous English garden. It was incredible and a much needed slow down. Plus so affordable for travelers! It also is quite a common occurrence for most who live in Germane, because after a cold winter they take advantage of all the outdoor time they can. So get with the culture and allow yourself to take these moments too. To eat a pile of strawberries, or pretzels or Paprika chips in the park and enjoy a favorite beverage. These are the meals you remember.
Me and Mom
Well this was my food experience this summer. These are only my opinions, but I recommend all of them. Especially if you are enjoying them with your mom.