German and Austrian food gets a bad rap – but in our opinion there’s nothing wrong with a little fermented cabbage. But do you know more than pretzels and sauerkraut? We take a look at some of the best German and Austrian food there is.
Currywurst is the quintessential German fast food, a simple dish of a sausage (wurst), grilled, sliced, and covered with – at its most simple – curry-flavored ketchup. The dish has been popular in Germany, mostly in its origin city of Berlin, since after the war. According to a piece about the dish on NPR a few years back:
The currywurst’s origins are attributed specifically to the German capital. In 1949, a resourceful German housewife, Herta Heuwer, traded some spirits with British soldiers for ketchup. The trade created the dish – composed of German sausage, or wurst, sliced and doused in ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder.
The sauce itself has seen gastronomical shifts as more gourmands get their hands on it and has morphed into a specialty of its own, and can include onions, mustard seeds, and a variety of other herbs and spices. You can even buy curry flavored ketchup in most German markets, and in many international markets here that carry German goods, in case you want to try this at home.
The best part about a good Schnitzel is its variety: you can make Schnitzel – flat-pounded meat, breaded with flour, egg, and bread crumbs, and fried in oil – out of almost any meat, though it’s most often made from pork or veal (as with the famous Wiener Schnitzel). Many countries even outside of the German-speaking world have their own variation on the Schnitzel; you’ve certainly heard of the cordon bleu… which is basically just “Schnitzel” with a French accent.
For more thin meat fun, try Rouladen, in which flattened meat (traditionally beef) is rolled with bacon, mustard, pickles & onions, then braised to give it extra flavor. Adventurous cooks can experiment with different fillings in their Rouladen – substituting mushrooms for the bacon, for example
The Austrians are world-renowned for their desserts skills, so it’s no surprise that Apfelstrudel (apple strudel), a favorite dish not just in the German-speaking world, came from Vienna. You can find a great step-by-step recipe for making your own Apfelstrudel at Little Vienna, along with many other great Austrian recipes. The oldest known recipe for Apfelstrudel is a recipe from 1696, and it currently lives in Austrian National archives the Vienna Library in the City Hall (Wienbibliothek im Rathaus) in Vienna, Austria.
Want to learn how to tell someone how delicious these dishes are in German? Get started learning German today!