Currywurst: Germany’s #1 iconic street food and popular post war snack
We love Currywurst! But do you know who invented it, what it is exactly and why this curried sausage became such a popular street snack?
What is Currywurst exactly?
The iconic Currywurst is a popular fast food staple and specialty from Germany.
This treat consists of a steamed or boiled and deep fried sausage that is then traditionally chopped up into bite-sized bits and smothered in a mild or spicy curry ketchup. The sausage is often sprinkled with a good dash of curry powder as well, depending where you order it from.
This German fast food is served with either fries or bread on the side.
What meat is Currywurst made of?
A classic Currywurst is made with a lightly cured and smoked pork sausage.
Not a Bratwurst as you might think.
However we have ordered and tasted quite a few of these curried sausages before and the type of sausage that is used can differ quite a lot: from the authentic smoked pork sausage, pan fried Bratwurst and boiled Weisswurst (a Bavarian white veal sausage) to even Frankfurter hot dog sausages.
What is the difference between Bratwurst and Currywurst?
The classic Currywurst is made with a lightly cured and smoked pork sausage.
Bratwurst is a fresh sausage that contains pork or a mixture of pork and veal or beef.
Is Currywurst spicy?
The sausage itself isn’t spicy.
The curry ketchup that goes on top of it can either be mild or spicy.
You can often choose which sauce you want the sausage with: mild oder scharf, mild or spicy.
The curry powder that is often sprinkled on top of the curry ketchup can also be a little spicy. It can contain a mixture of other spices such as turmeric, chilli powder, cumin, ginger and pepper.
What is Currywurst sauce made of?
A classic Currywurst sauce is a mixture of pureed tomatoes or ketchup, vinegar, sugar and a mild yellow curry with or without other ground spices.
Is Currywurst fully cooked?
Yes absolutely, it is either steamed or boiled and afterwards deep fried as well.
So it is totally safe to eat!
Who invented the famous Currywurst?
The classic Currywurst finds its origins in Berlin, the German capital.
And it dates back to 1949 after the war, where an ambitious and creative German housewife by the name of Herta Heuwer somehow found a way to get foreign products from American and British soldiers. Classic condiments such as tomato ketchup, Worcester sauce and curry powder that were not available in German stores at that time.
Herta would boil pork sausages and serve them with her homemade curry ketchup sauce at her Charlottenburg street food stand. Her curried sausages soon became a popular post war snack all over Berlin.
And it still exists until this very day all over Germany.
Why is Currywurst spelled with a capital C?
Because in German all nouns are capitalized.
Just like Schnitzel, Kartoffeln, Sauerkraut, Bratwurst and Frittatensuppe.
Why is Currywurst so popular in Germany?
This curried sausage is a super simple street snack, perfect comfort food and most of all cheap.
Germans eat around 800 million Currywursts a year, can you imagine!
And not only as a snack, or a late night (hangover) bite. Cafés, beer gardens and pubs also serve it as a meal with bread or fries. This curried sausage is the ultimate Berlin street food, but it is also served in restaurants across the city.
For a couple of years you could even visit the Deutsches Currywurst Museum, a museum in Berlin dedicated to the German curried sausage. It was permanently closed on 21 December 2018.
In 2019 a German coin manufacturer honoured its country’s love for the Currywurst and made a special coin to celebrate 70 years since Herta Heuwer first sold here savoury curry sausage snack in Berlin.
What does this Currywurst taste like?
Fair to say that the sweet curry ketchup is the most powerful flavor here.
The sliced pork sausage underneath is salty, juicy and a little greasy. Its texture is very fine and a bit bouncy. Depending on which type of pork sausage is used with or without casing, the skin around it can add an extra crunch if they have been properly deep fried.
It still is a delicious comfort food bite you can enjoy while walking around, with or without fries or bread.
You really have to try it out if you visit Germany!
How do you eat Currywurst?
Your street food curried sausage will be served on a cardboard plate.
It is cut into 1-inch bite sized bits, and topped with a curry ketchup sauce and often with a good dash of curry powder as well. You eat it with a plastic or wooden disposable fork that comes with it.
You can eat it just like that, plain and simple. Or ask for a portion of fries (Pommes) or a bread roll (Brötchen) on the side.
How much is Currywurst in Berlin?
A plain and simple street food curried sausage with sauce will cost about 3 to 5 euros, with or without bread.
For a curried sausage with curry ketchup, fries and mayo you can expect to pay 5 to 8 euros.
In pubs and cafés prices can vary from 6 to 12 euros for curried sausages with fries or bread.
Where can I buy Currywurst in Berlin?
Currywurst shacks are strews all over the city.
You can find them near popular places, malls, plazas and museums.
If you need a few good addresses, here is an article about a taste test of 12 Currywurst places in Berlin.
Or take a break and just walk into a traditional German beer café, they surely have this curried sausage on the menu. Sit back and relax for a couple of minutes.
What do you drink Currywurst with?
Do you like wine?
Then a good dry Riesling will be a good match for the sweeter ketchup and curry flavored sauce.
What beer goes with Currywurst?
Are you more of a beer lover?
Don’t go for anything fancy to match with that sweet, spicy and salty flavor sausage combo.
A crisp and refreshing pilsner beer is your best bet!
How do you pronounce Currywurst?
According to the International Phonetic Alphabet (IPA): /ˈkœʁivʊʁst/
Recipe for Currywurst
Do you want to make this German street food classic at home?
Then I can highly recommend this recipe from Milena and Chris over at Craft Beering!
How about you?
Have you tasted this iconic German street food snack before?
What do you think about it?
Do you think it is worth its money or is it overrated?
Perhaps you have you very own favorite place to eat this Berliner curried sausage?
We would love to hear from you, so leave a comment below if you like!
After living in Germany for 4 years and visited just about every Snell Imbis in the area, I can testify how great the Currywurst and pomfrittes ( no mayonese) is, as a snack. Indeed I would rate it above our fish and chip meal.
In Lincolnshire a visit to Skegness in summer can be relied upon to provide this meal at the German Resurant cabin but is not so authentic as the one I get at Lincoln’s Christmas Market . But Christmas comes just once a year and you need to be more patient than me to wait that long so I make do with visit to Lidl for the Bratwurst and on line order for a bottle of Hala curry Ketchup mild strength.. Good but not as good as from the ‘snellie’