If you go to Berlin and a spend any time at all wandering the streets, you are going to be confronted with signs for what is apparently a favorite street food of Berliners, currywurst. Germans are obsessed with currywurst; estimates are that they consume more than 850 million currywursts a year. There is even a Currywurst Museum in Berlin. Google even made a Google Doodle for the inventors birthday.
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What Is Currywurst
Currywurst is at it simplest, a low-cost street food made from a German sausage, covered with tomato ketchup and sprinkled with curry powder. But, it isn’t that simple. Currywurst is also a cultural phenomenon enjoyed by Germany’s rich and famous as much as it is by ordinary citizens. It is a window into post-war Germany and how scarcity and necessity sometimes conspire to create beloved traditions.
History of Currywurst
Herta Heuwer, a housewife from Berlin, is credited with creating currywurst in 1949. The story is that she traded some moonshine with British soldiers in exchange for some ketchup and curry powder. She used the ingredients to concoct a sauce, poured it over pork sausage and a sensation was born. Soon, she opened a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, and began selling currywurst as cheap street food to construction workers rebuilding post-war Berlin.
What Does Currywurst Taste Like
To try currywurst, Sarah and I went to a popular stand between Brandenburg Gate and the Reichstag. Reasonable people can differ, and I imagine there is a cultural basis for the German’s love of currywurst, but to me, it tastes like what it is – a hot dog with ordinary ketchup poured on it and sprinkled with curry powder. An unusual food condiment pairing choice maybe, but it didn’t taste bad. It is renown as a hangover cure; however, I am not sure I will ever understand the appeal.