Currywurst is a popular German fast food dish that has become an iconic part of German culinary culture. It is essentially a bratwurst (pork sausage) that is typically steamed, fried, or grilled, and then sliced into bite-sized pieces. The sliced sausage is served with a special curry ketchup sauce and sprinkled with curry powder, giving it its distinctive flavor.
The origins of currywurst can be traced back to Berlin in 1949 when Herta Heuwer, a German housewife, created the recipe using ingredients obtained from British soldiers stationed in Germany. Heuwer mixed ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and curry powder to create the tangy and slightly spicy curry ketchup sauce that accompanies the sausage. She started selling her creation from a food stand in Berlin, and it quickly gained popularity, becoming a staple street food in the city.
Another region in Germany known for its love of Currywurst is the Ruhr area (Ruhrgebiet), an agglomeration of cities with a history of coal mining, steel and heavy industry. Currywurst was a popular meal among the workers, because it was fast, tasty and provided a lot of energy for the heavy work carried out.
Currywurst is commonly served with a side of fries, known as “Pommes” in German, and it is often enjoyed as a quick and satisfying meal or snack. In addition to street food stalls, currywurst is also served in restaurants, imbiss (snack bars), and even dedicated currywurst shops throughout Germany.
The dish has variations across different regions in Germany, with variations in the type of sausage used, the spiciness of the curry ketchup sauce, and the level of curry powder added. Some places offer vegetarian or vegan versions using plant-based sausages.
Currywurst has become a cultural symbol of Germany, representing the country’s love for fast food and the blending of international flavors. It is celebrated at various currywurst festivals and even used to have a Currywurst Museum in Berlin (now closed, unfortunately).
Whether you’re a local or a visitor, trying currywurst is a must to experience a tasty and unique aspect of German street food culture.