No trip to Berlin is complete without trying the most popular local food: currywurst. But with thousands of currywurst shops in the city, how to decide which to try? We've made a list of our favorite currywurst shops and kiosks that will introduce you to the wonders of combining curry and ketchup on top of a great wurst.
- What is currywurst?
- 5 Best Places to get Currywurst in Berlin
- History of currywurst
- Currywurst Museum
Before we begin, What is Currywurst?
This unofficial German national dish is so popular that over 800 million plates of the beloved fried sausage doused in curried ketchup are consumed each year across the nation – with over 100 million of those portions doled out in Berlin alone!
Currywurst is served with a ketchup type curry accented sauce. Many shops serve various levels of spiciness.
Top 5 Currywurst in Berlin
(1) Curry Mitte
A great place to start is in the center of Berlin in Mitte at Curry Mitte. Curry Mitte's spice levels can really get hot, so start simple and go with the standard sauce. After enjoy this awesome neighborhood - here are Things to see in Mitte.
(2) Curry 36
Curry 36 in Charlottenberg is renowned as the best in Berlin and are a favorite with both kids after a trip to the nearby Berlin Zoo and with grown-ups after a late night of drinking! Enjoy a stroll around the area using our Self-guided Walking Tour of Charlottenburg.
(3) Bermann Curry
Another favorite is Bergmann Curry in Kreuzberg. Here you can choose if you prefer with or without the crunchy "Pelle" (skin), though we recommend you try it with "Pelle". If you are in Kreuzberg, here's our Self-Guided Walking Tour of Kreuzberg.
(4) Konnopke's Imbiss
If it’s long-standing tradition and great flavor you are looking for, try Konnopke’s Imbiss, a stall located on trendy Prenzlauer Berg that has been open since 1930 and the first in East Berlin to sell currywurst (in 1950).
(5) Yellow Sunshine
Finally, if it is vegetarian currywurst you are after, Berlin has you covered. Head over to the neighborhood of Friedrichshain to Yellow Sunshine for their completely vegan interpretation of the classic dish. Be sure to check out the East Side Gallery, part of the Berlin Wall with murals included in our Self-guided Walking Tour of Friedrichshain.
History of Currywurst
Now that you know where to find the best currywurst in Berlin, chow down on the history of this iconic Berlin food. Enter Herta Heuwer in the Charlottenburg neighborhood of Berlin in 1949. Frustrated by the poor postwar economy and looking for a tasty innovation that would set her food stall apart from the others plying lunches to the local construction workers, she traded some alcohol to the local British soldiers in exchange for packets of curry powder. Mixing the spice blend with quintessentially American ketchup (also provided by soldiers stationed in Berlin) she created sauce that she slathered on top of steamed and then fried pork sausage, sliced into five hunks.
The dish, often accompanied by French fries, fried onions and mayonnaise, was eaten with tiny disposable forks on the street side – and it soon developed a massive cult following. By 1951, Heuwer was selling ten thousand portions a week! Heuwer continued to operate her small restaurant until 1974, and ate her invention daily – and still lived to the ripe old age of 86. She was posthumously honored as a Google doodle on what would have been her 100th birthday on June 20, 2013. Her fame has spread far and wide as the mother of currywurst.
The Currywurst Musuem
The humble dish is now a symbol of Berlin, and it is tradition for each new mayor to be photographed enjoying one of the decadent snacks. The currywurst is now so iconic that a museum dedicated to its porky glory was opened in 2009, on the 60th anniversary of Heuwer’s first plate served! Deutsches Currywurst Museum BerlinThe Deutsches Currywurst Museum is a must-visit attraction for anyone with a love of pork, a passion for foodie tourism or just a curiosity for strange museums. It is conveniently located 100 metres from Checkpoint Charlie, which you will likely want to visit as well.
As unusual as it is, the Currywurst Museum does not rest on gimmicks alone. It boasts over 350,000 annual visitors, and has an extremely high visitor satisfaction rating. Founder Martin Lower absolute adores the spicy sausage of Berlin, and wanted to create a place that would celebrate and document its history in Germany. Guests can experience sights, sounds, smells – and of course, tastes – while singing currywurst songs, playing games and sitting on a sausage shaped sofa. A truly unique attraction – and a place to buy the weirdest souvenirs in Berlin!
So, have you had your wurst today? If not, get out onto the streets of Berlin as soon as possible and eat like the locals!
Want some guidance on where to walk in Berlin to see the best sights of each neighborhood, check out our pay-what-you-like walking tours of Berlin!