John F Kennedy is thought to have called himself a jelly donut in that infamous 1963 Ich bin ein Berliner speech but there is much more to the Berlin cusine scene than jelly donuts. The city is renowned for vibrant, colourful food markets and as being a melting pot of international, multi-cultural cusine. But what of traditional, local delicacies? What are the foods to try to tick that authentic Berlin eating experience box? Well, generally speaking, if it ends in wurst, meaning sausage, it's German and definitely found in Berlin. There's many, many types and varieties but the main three are below.
- Currywurst – Pork sausage, curry powder, Worchester sauce and ketchup combine to give Currywurst its unmistakable taste. It is classic street-food and perfect soakage during a night-out. And it goes down well with a beer. Street vendors are dotted all around but for an unrivaled currywurst experience follow the locals to Konnopke's Imbiss.
- Bratwurst – generally thinner but longer than currywurst, this time a sausage made of veal, beef or pork usually served in Brötchen, a white bread roll, with German mustard. It's also popular with a potato salad and is typical 'pub grub' fare.
- Bockwurst – another sausage, traditionally made from veal and later with veal and pork. Today it's common to find Bockwurst which can be a mix of veal, pork, lamb chicken and / or turkey. Accompany your Bockwurst with a Bock beer for the authentic Berlin experience.
- Senfeier – This is an old-school traditional dish consisting of boiled eggs, creamy mashed potatoe and mustard. OK, it sounds fairly bland but it is a childhood favourite of past generations and can still be found in traditional canteens and restaurants, for example in Kantine.
- Eisbein (aka ice leg) – Steamed (or boiled) Pork knuckle served with potatoes and pea puree. The best places to sample this traditional dish is probably at Max und Moritz or Zur Letzten Instanz, Berlin's oldest restaurant which opened in 1621.
- Schnitzel – This classic German dish is essentially breaded and fried veal which is flat but huge in surface area and usually served with potato salad. Head to Restaurant Schnitzelei for a proper schnitzel experience, and they don't just do classic veal, offering a menu including beef, pork, turkey and more varieties.
There is of course some other traditional dishes to sample but this should be enough to get you started if you're determined to stick to local delicacies. But Berlin is a foodie paradise with something for even the most finicky or most adventurous of eaters. Check out Cassonade for amazing waffles and pancakes, Pêle Mêle for vegan delights, Burgermeister for pretty awesome burgers and Spreegold for brilliant brunch.