12 Best German Dishes: Traditional Food of Germany
Not many people think of Germany as a country with a rich foodie history, especially when compared to Italian or Asian cuisines for example. But you might be surprised to find there is definitely a distinctive foodie culture in Germany with some real delicious dishes to try.
Having lived in Germany, I have traveled the country many times and always looked to find the most authentic, traditional dishes in the places I visited. I wrote about the Bavarian foods I ate in Munich in a recent post but this article looks at the most popular German foods eaten throughout the whole country.
Germans love their bread (brot) which they are very proud of. I also discovered that pork is very common in a lot of German dishes and there are a lot of similarities with Eastern European foods.
Pro Tip: Germany requires travelers from outside of the EU to have a visa so make sure to check if you need to apply for one. Remember to travel to Germany with your ETIAS visa because you’ll have to submit it together with your passport at your point of entry into the country.
So without further delay here are the best foods to eat in Germany!
There are several versions of this dish the most popular being Wiener schnitzel. The Wiener schnitzel is prepared by covering a thinly sliced piece of veal with egg, flour and bread crumbs. The veal is then deep-fried in butter for a few minutes until it turns brown on the outside.
Other than veal, schnitzel in Germany can be made with tenderized pork, chicken breast, soya meat or turkey. This tender and crispy meal is very popular everywhere in Germany and is often served with potatoes, sauce and green salad.
Germans are known to love sausages, and one of the most consumed sausages in the country is currywurst. This sausage is so popular that close 800 million of them are consumed in Germany each year. There is even a museum in Berlin, where this sausage originated from, that gives the history of currywurst.
You can find this street food everywhere you go in Germany. To make currywurst, a chef grills a sausage, usually a pork sausage, then slices it to add curry-flavored ketchup. You can have currywurst with chips or a bread roll.
If you crave a slice of pizza while touring Germany, then you must try Flammkuchen which is the German version of pizza. To make it dough is rolled into a rectangular shape then toppings such as thinly sliced onions, cheese, lardons, mushrooms, vegetables, etc. are added.
The dough is then placed in a wooden oven to bake. This German pizza is delicious and will make you forget about your pizza craving.
In Germany, it is difficult to go for a barbeque and not find bratwurst being served. These beef, pork or veal sausages are usually grilled or pan-fried, put in a bun, then served with ketchup and mustard.
You don’t have to wait to be invited for a German barbeque to taste a bratwurst. This dish is a very popular street food in Germany, so you can try one as you do your sightseeing in German cities.
This vegetarian meal which resembles pasta is one of the most famous foods in Germany. Ingredients used to make Spätzle include flour, salt, eggs, and fizzy water that fluffs up the dough. If you like melted cheese can be added to your Spätzle to make what is referred to as German macaroni and cheese.
You can have spätzle alone or order it alongside a meaty dish like schnitzel. You cannot miss spätzle on the menu of most German restaurants so be sure to give it a try.
To make this food a thin slice of beef or veal is rolled up with bacon, ham, onions, mustard, and pickles inside, then roasted in a special sauce for a couple of hours using an oven. This meaty meal is extremely delicious, something that makes up for the time it takes to prepare rouladen.
There are vegetarian options available so you can ask for one of these if you don’t eat meat.
Spargel (White Asparagus)
Visit Germany between April and June and you’ll be surprised by how much Germans love white asparagus. During the 3 month period known as spargelzeit (asparagus time) the average German consumes this vegetable, which is usually boiled or steamed, at least once a day.
Restaurants across the country create special asparagus menus which include meals such as asparagus salad with a vinaigrette and asparagus with butter, ham and hollandaise sauce. If you find yourself in Germany during spargelzeit make sure you have some spargel, so that you can be part of this German white asparagus craze.
Leberkässemmel (mit süßem Senf)
Leberkässe translates as ‘liver cheese’ and looks like it’s just a ham sandwich, but it’s actually not and is a surprisingly delicious little snack. The meat is made out of corned beef, pork and bacon and is simply stuffed into a bread roll.
The best part is that the meat is topped with süßem Senf (sweet mustard) which is absolutely delicious and is a common condiment found particularly throughout Bavaria.
To prepare this food, pasta dough is stuffed with several ingredients which can include spinach, beef or pork, onions, and bread crumbs. The pasta dough which is usually shaped into small squares or rectangles is then boiled or fried. Seasoning is often added to give maultaschen a magical taste.
Weisswurst are white sausages made from minced veal and bacon, seasoned with parsley, lemon, onions, ginger, and cardamom. They are traditionally eaten for breakfast with sweet mustard, pretzels and a beer in Bavaria.
Weisswurst are cooked in water (not boiling so as not to split the skin), and then served in the bowl still full of warm water. You then take a sausage, split it down the middle to remove the skin and eat with a dollop of sweet mustard and a side of pretzel.
At first the taste is rich and flavorsome, but after two sausages it can quickly become a bit sickly. They are a must-try dish in Bavaria so it makes sense to order these at least once.
Rindsgulasch mit Brezenknödel
Rindsgulasch mit Brezenknödel translates as beef goulash with pretzel dumplings. Goulash is widely popular in Eastern and Central Europe so it’s not unique to Germany by any means, but it is particularly popular in Bavaria and indeed across Germany. The flavor is rich and aromatic and it goes without saying that restaurants in Munich know how to cook up a good goulash!
Another thing Germany is known for apart from its love for sausages is beer. Germany has a wide variety of quality beers and the Germans drink beer in large quantities too. So it goes without saying that you cannot go to this European country and leave without having a beer or two.
To sample the different varieties of beers available you can order a beer together with your meals. The two go down well, try a pilsener which is the most popular of the German beers.
There are a lot more foods you can try when visiting Germany such as königsberger klopse, döner kebab, sauerbraten, reibekuchen, fischbrötchen, senfeier, eisbein, etc. Depending on where you go to in Germany you’ll find a wide range of different foods you can sample in each region.
If you’re travelling to Berlin you may want to check out my guide to Berlin on a budget (includes insightful tips I picked up when living there). So travel to the country with a big appetite and Guten Appetit!