Culinary Culture: 6 Delicious Bites Of Northern Germany

Looking for a taste of Northern Germany? We’ve rounded up some tasty regional German food bites to add into your next itinerary, from sides to mains to desserts. Let us know your favorite in the comments below.

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Labskaus, a traditional North German dish. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

1. Labskaus

A dish popular around Hamburg, Labskaus was created by sailors in the 16th century to make use of the resources on hand that would fill and nourish these workers. The meal features a mash of potatoes, onions, red beetroot and minced salted beef that rests under a fried egg and gherkin. On the side, herring rollmops enhance the meal. While once associated with the poor, today Labskaus is enjoyed by all classes in Germany, often made modern by nicer restaurants.

Where To Try It: Restaurant Brocheks in the Renaissance Hamburg Hotel offers an upscale version of the dish in an ambient setting.

2. Leipziger Lerche

A Leipzig pastry paying homage to the lark bird, once a very popular food in the city, the crusty shortbread dessert is stuffed with crushed almonds, nuts and a cherry, meant to symbolize the lark’s heart. The treat has a citrusy yet floral flavor and gooey texture, pairing perfectly with a hot coffee.

Where To Try It: Coffe Baum (Kleine Fleischergasse 4) in Leipzig, the second-oldest cafe in Europe since 1686, which is also home to an interesting coffee museum.

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My tasty currywurst from Konnopke. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

3. Currywurst At Konnopke

When in Berlin, don’t even think about getting a currywurst anywhere other than Konnopke. Open since 1930 and the times of the German Democratic Republic, the simple no-frills shop offers high quality sausages topped with ketchup and curry powder. They’re served with plump French fries and enjoyed in an outdoor setting at their tables. Just bring a book or game on your phone, as this establishment is wildly popular with both locals and visitors, so you may be waiting for a bit. Currywurst was invented after the war when Germany got condiments and spices back — and US soldiers had introduced ketchup. People started throwing all kinds of ingredients together, and this is what stuck.

Where To Try It: Konnopke, although Restaurant Das Meisterstuck offers a variety of open-flame cooked sausages from all over the country in an ambient setting. Moreover, the Currywurst Museum serves an atypical “Currywurst in a Cup” that’s delicious.

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A delicious Berliner. Photo courtesy of Jessica Festa.

4. Berliner

A typical treat in Berlin and North Germany, it’s similar to a jelly donut with no center hole. The fried dough is stuffed with marmalade and coated with powdered sugar, granulated sugar or frosting. Plum, cherry, raspberry and strawberry are popular flavors. Berliners were invented in the 15th century in Berlin, and as the population grew in the next centuries so did their popularity. They’re seriously tasty (as long as you have some loose pants!).

Where To Try It: Bäcker Walf (Lankwitzer Straße 3 A, Berlin), a family bakery in operation since 1898. They serve a chocolate pudding-filled Berliner that’s out of this world.

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Delicious potato pancakes with apple sauce. Photo courtesy of HandmadePictures via Shutterstock.

5. Potato Pancakes

In the German state of Brandenburg, the potato reigns king. Introduced by Friedrich the Great from Prussia in the 16th century, the ingredient stuck and today is featured in most of the region’s dishes. One popular way Germans in Brandenburg enjoy their potatoes is as a side dish of pan-fried and crispy potato pancakes. .These are commonly served with fruits — such as apple sauce — to give a nice sweet and savory contrast. Personally, I think they go great with old-world German sauerbraten.

Where To Try It: Hohle Birne (Mittelstrasse 19) in Potsdam, Brandenburg’s capital. Delicious!

6. Butterkuchen

A tasty treat loved by the locals of Bremen, Butterkuchen showcases Germany’s affinity for simple dishes that are tasty. This butter cake features fluffy yeast dough topped with butter, sugar and sometimes cinnamon and/or almond slivers. According to GermanFoodGuide.com, while people eat it all year, it’s a tradition at weddings and funerals, giving it the nickname “Freude- und Leidskuchen,” or “Happiness and Sorrow Cake.”

Do you have a favorite regional dish in Germany? Please share in the comments below.

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Jessica Festa

Jessica Festa is the editor of Epicure & Culture as well as Jessie on a Journey. She enjoys getting lost in new cities and having experiences you don’t read about in guidebooks. Some of her favorite travel experiences have been teaching English in Thailand, trekking her way through South America, backpacking Europe solo, road tripping through Australia, agritouring through Tuscany, and volunteering in Ghana.

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