10 foods to try in Germany
Germany is best known for its beer and sausages, but there’s more to the country’s cuisine than these three dishes.
Here’s what I ate whilst exploring the Bavarian region, including must-dry dishes and the best places to find them.
Veal schnitzel (Wienerschitzel)
One of my favourite foods when I was there, schnitzel is a traditional German dish where the meat is thinned through pounding with a meat tenderiser.
Schnitzel may be made using chicken, veal, pork, beef and turkey, with the most common ones in German being veal (wienerschnitzel) or pork. Wienerschnitzel consists of a breaded pan-fried veal cutlet, and is also accompanied by french fries or potatoes, along with salad.
I highly recommend Ratskeller in Munich (located inside the famous New Town Hall) for its excellent wienerschnitzel. Service is quick, and the veal was tender and crisp. Portions were incredibly generous too - my dish came with a generous size salad that also included potatoes.
The place gets a 10/10 for ambience as well, with intricate stained-glass windows and Bavarian decor.
If you’re heading to the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber, schneeball is a must-try. The dessert is particularly popular in this town - a sweet, ball-shaped pastry made from shortcrust and dipped in powdered sugar.
You can find schneeball at numerous bakeries around Rothenburg. The one I had was at Diller Schneeballenträume, near the Market Square. There are numerous fillings to choose from too, such as nougat and cinnamon sugar. I chose the original.
I had plenty of sausages (also known as bratwurst) whilst in Germany, but the best was undoubtedly in the city of Nuremberg. There are many regional varieties of sausages, so the ones you get in Nuremberg are made different from those in other cities.
The Nuremberg variety is small and thin, usually no longer than 9cm and weighing less than 25g. Whilst small, they do pack lots of flavour, and are commonly seasoned with fresh marjoram and served in a bun.
The best place to get tasty Nuremberg sausages is at Bratwursthäusle, a restaurant just opposite the city’s St. Sebald church. Their sausages are freshly grilled over beech-wood fire, and I highly recommend getting the hot dog (not available on the dine-in menu, but you can request for it) along with a side of homemade potato salad.
Pork knuckle (schweinshaxe)
You’ll find this literally everywhere in German, being one of their staple dishes. If you’re travelling solo, it’s going to be a challenge finishing this , as the serving size is massive!
The roasted pork knuckle I had there was tender on the inside, with crispy, crackling skin on the outside. This sinful dish is usually served with potato dumplings and dark beer gravy.
My restaurant recommendations for these are Hofbräuhaus and Haxnbauer in Munich. Hofbrauhuas is arguably Munich’s most famous beer hall, whilst Haxnbauer is also centrally-located near the Marientplatz. Do secure a reservation for Haxnnbauer to avoid waiting, especially at dinner time.
Bavarian mac and cheese (Käsespätzle)
It features spatzle ( German egg noodles ) and grated cheese like cheddar or Emmental cheese. The dish is then drizzled with crispy onions and baked in the oven.
I absolutely loved the rich taste of the spatzle and melted cheese, and found they went particularly well with the onions. I ordered this dish at Haxnbauer as well.
The Germans sure love pimping up their sausages! Currywurst is a fast food dish consisting of a large fried or steamed sausage seasoned with curry ketchup.
It's typically served with fries and as a take-out item, but you can order it at numerous restaurants too. The sweet-tasting curry ketchup is actually a spiced variant of normal ketchup, topped with curry powder.
This was another one of my favourite dishes, especially when I had it at the peak of Zugspitze in the district of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. You can order it at Panorama Lounge 2962, and enjoy scenic views of the German alps whilst you chow down on this tasty meal.
This dish was completely new to me before sampling it in Munich. Schmalznudel is a Bavarian-style donut, basically a fresh, deep-fried ring of dough which you can sprinkle sugar over.
The pastry is light-tasting and not overly rich, being crispy on the outside and soft inside. I found it pretty unique! It’s best paired with either hot chocolate or coffee.
From what I know, this unique pastry is only available at Cafe Frischhut, near Munich’s Viktualienmarkt.
Apple strudel (Apfelstrudel)
Moving on to dessert territory, one can’t forget the delicious apple strudel. This actually originated in Austria, with the oldest known recipe dating back to 1697.
Today, it’s popular in Germany as well, and is made from strudel pastry and stuffed with apple filling. The filling usually comprises of grated cooking apples, sugar and cinnamon.
I ordered this lip-smacking dessert at Restaurant Goldenes Lamm in Rothenburg, but you can find it at many German restaurants.
Of course, I can’t leave out pretzels. To be honest, I didn’t quite enjoy the pretzels I ate at take-out stations and convenience stores. These don’t usually come heated up and I found them rubbery.
I didn’t note the name of the stall selling pretzels at Viktualienmarkt, but recall that it was right next to this organic food store called St. Michaelshof. St. Michaelshof is worth a visit too, with excellent service and delicious brie cheese!
It would practically be a crime to leave out German beer. Whilst I don't generally drink beer, I did enjoy the one I drank at Hofbrauhaus - a Hofbrau Original.
The beer was refreshing, light and went down easily. It had a slightly malty, full-bodied taste, with an elegant finish.
I didn’t try any other beers when I was there, but Germany (especially Munich) is packed with quality beer halls and finding good beer should be a breeze!