German Ethnic Food

By Matthew Yglesias

Long time no post. I’ve been in Germany. Tyler Cowen likes to say that all food is ethnic food, so one should note that the primary ethnic food of Germany is, of course, German food. For example, this pork ‘n potatoes thing:

"Master Steak"

That was pretty good, but after a few days the German diet of quite literally nothing but meat and potatoes gets pretty tiresome. Consequently, Germans have started turning to the outside world for culinary ideas. Unfortunately, some of the results—like currywurst—are totally gross.

You also see some odd concepts like this Croatian restaurant in Freiberg:

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I tried a German take on Thai food that was pretty tasty (crispy duck with fried noodles):

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This place claimed to offer the freshest sushi in all of Potsdam, but having experienced the self-proclaimed freshest sushi in Albuquerque I chose to stay away from a place making such a modest claim on its own behalf:

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All that said, Germany’s greatest contribution to the culinary world continues to be the pseudo-Turkish concept of doner kebab which is more widely available and more delicious in its German homeland than anyplace else I’ve ever been. I also visited an excellent actual Turkish restaurant in Berlin. Residents of the Washington, DC area may also be familiar with Vapiano, a German-owned chain of fake Italian restaurants that’s a pretty solid entry in the casual dining field. I don’t think these exist anywhere else in the USA, but they’re quite common in Germany.

4 responses to “German Ethnic Food

  1. There’s a German-style doner-kebab place in L.A. called Spitz, which is absolutely fantastic. Only a couple of locations that I know of, one of which is in Eagle Rock. The second best thing about Spitz is that they have the best gelato — bar none — in L.A.

    Great. Now I’m hungry.

  2. Vapiano is apparently in Florida and Texas as well, and expanding from there: http://money.cnn.com/galleries/2009/fortune/0908/gallery.fast_food_global_cuisine.fortune/5.html . Agreed that it’s a solid concept.

  3. Oh, my German friends took me out for currywurst when I visited. Fatty sausage pieces, fries, sauce, mayonnaise. Basically, big plate o’ fat. I told them “This would be *perfect* back home in America! This is basically a big plate of fat with fat on top! You’d just need a more American-sounding name and it would be a big seller!”

  4. Currywurst is foul.

    AFAIK, there have been Croatian restaurants in Germany for, basically, ever. They were certainly abundant when I first visited 20+ years ago. Many of them were also delicious.

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