You might have tried bratwurst (German for “sausage”) in the past, but chances are you do not know the signature dish of Berlin is a humble street food called currywurst – or bratwurst with curry sauce. It is as popular in the German capital as hot dogs in the US or fish and chips in Britain.
Each year, about 800 million portions of currywurst are consumed in Germany – 70 million in Berlin alone (a city of 3.4 million people). There is even a German Currywurst Museum dedicated entirely to the snack.
It is believed that currywurst was invented by Berliner Herta Heuwer in 1949 after obtaining curry powder, Worcester sauce, and ketchup from British soldiers. She mixed the ingredients with other spices and slathered them on to a boiled and fried sausage. The snack soon became popular all over the city and it became tradition for every Berlin mayoral candidate to have a photo taken next to a currywurst stand.
Served with French fries and bread rolls, the satisfying, hearty, and down-to-earth snack is now available at Beijing’s Zeit Berlin, a spacious restaurant opened three months ago by a Chinese family from Berlin.
The Berliner currywurst with fries (RMB 78) comes as a main course and is heavy on sauce. Upon first look (and first bite), the flavors in the dish may taste unusual. On paper, curry and sausage should not be natural allies. But soon, you and your young diners will find yourselves finishing the whole plate, down to the mayonnaise on the side. It is not as spicy as it looks.
On Sundays, the restaurant offers a family-friendly German brunch (RMB 99, free for children under 5 and half price for ages 5-12).
Zeit Berlin also offers dishes from other parts of Germany such as grilled pork knuckle with sauerkraut and potato (RMB 168), a variety of German beers (including Erdinger, Warsteiner and Franziskaner), and regular western fare such as pizza and pasta.
There is little chance of you and your family walking out of the restaurant still feeling hungry. If you overeat, make use of the foosball and pool table to work off the calories. They even have shorter pool cues for children.
Daily 11am-10pm. 1/F, Royal Palace Hotel, 6 Xiaoyunli, Chaoyang District (6461 8842) 朝阳区霄云里6号城宝饭店1层
photo by KEN
This article originally appeared on p26 of the beijingkids February 2014 issue.
Check out the PDF version online at Issuu.com