Ode to the Berlin Currywurst

Currywurst, Berliner Currywurst, sausage, Berlin, food, hungry, buy, price, champagne, sauce, french fries, gourmet

This is not a sausage. This is a cult. Or else, the Berliners must be completely crazy, to have dignified it with no less than a museum.

You don’t have to be in the neighborhood to go to Curry 195 on Berlin’s trendy Ku’damm boulevard. Many people drive here from the other end of the city, even at 3 or 4 am to satisfy their urge for the best currywurst in town.

For Berliners, currywurst is a very serious matter. It has been part of the city’s spirit (and olfactory perception) for decades. Precisely, since 1949, when Herta Heuwer invented the recipe of fried sausages, made of pork and beef, served with ketchup and spiced with curry powder.

Nothing is too sexy for Berlin

Where else on earth would you find a museum dedicated to a sausage? Of course, Berlin likes to be unusual (something it manages to be most of the time), so it opened a currywurst museum in August 2009. And there is hardly any tourist who would visit the capital without heading there. Of course, a “currywurst in a cup” is included in the entry ticket.

If that hasn’t satiated the longing, it’s also possible to book a currywurst tour of the city. Ok, normally tourists would look for a wine-tasting tour of their favorite city, or a museum tour – but, how many currywursts can you eat in a day? After all, there are some 2,000 currywurst stands in Berlin. Forget about Reichstag, Brandenburg Gate and other attractions. Follow your gut feeling and find the best sausage! (At this point, I would like to apologize to all fellow Berliners for unintentionally downgrading their local culinary star, by occasionally referring to it as “sausage”).

When some friends paid me a visit, we opted out of the tour, but did head to Curry 195 for a more reasonable portion of the good stuff – arguably one of the coolest spots in Berlin.

The idea seemed quite boring to them at first, but the moment I ordered champagne along with the spicy wurst and some French fries, the whole thing took on a new perspective. “What!? Sausages with champagne?” they asked. No, no, not sausages – currywurst! Pairing it with champagne is the latest buzz in the capital, the city for which nothing is ever too sexy.

Follow your nose

Still, in times of globalization, the Berlin currywurst has to keep up with tough competition from the Döner and Kebab. But some of the best-known locations like Curry 36 in Kreuzberg, or the centrally located “Biers im S-Bahnhof” are still included in the city’s list of top “Imbissbuden,” or snack joints.

One way the currywurst is tackling the competition: Internet sales. It has never crossed my mind to order currywurst online, but since I discovered home delivery in Berlin, I might as well consider it for my next party. And speaking of business models, the other day another friend told me that she was contemplating organizing an event in the Currywurst Museum. They also rent out the place as an event location. Fancy idea.

You can never pay enough tribute to the king of Berlin dishes. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder publically declared himself a fan of the currywurst. At Herbert Grönemeyer’s concerts, the audience still sings along to the tune of – take a guess – “Currywurst,” a song he composed back in 1982.

Author: Lavinia Pitu-Schwartz

Previously published on http://www.dw.de/english

7 comments

  1. Just thinking about it makes me want the Currywurst. Whatever chemical combo the Berliners (or the Hamburgers) figured out, they cannot be reproduced. But I will stand back and munch on a currywurst while the B’s and the HH’s haggle over who got the real start.

  2. I tried a currywurst at Curry 36 and asked for it without the ketchup. The guy serving me quickly corrected me on that mistake! Anyway, now I know what to order to drink with it…

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