Berlin: The best Currywurst in town
By C.H. Kwak in Berlin—
Currywurst, grilled or fried sausage served with ketchup and curry powder, is a signature Berlin dish. Inspired by American soldiers eating steaks with ketchup, a certain Frau Herta Heuwer invented it in 1949 from her sausage stand at Kantstrasse 101 (where a memorial to her legacy shares the address with an Asian supermarket today).
These days, you can’t throw a stone without hitting a Currywurst stand in Berlin. Just follow the sweet smell of a deep fryer and you won’t be disappointed. But if you want an extra special experience, here are a few picks:
Steglitzer Damm 22
Leave the likes of Konnopke’s to the amateurs. Get off the tourist circuit and get yourself to Steglitz. If not for the Turmkunst, a stop at Krasselts is well worth the trek to the residential district. Instead of the common ketchup, the owner uses a tomato sauce made from a “secret” recipe.
For those of us who like to eat on the go, there’s also a far less messy option: pork on the stick. If there’s a line, it’s not because the place is conveniently located (it’s not). It’s because Krasselts’ Currywurst really is all that.
Bier’s Ku’Damm 195
When you’re done sweeping through the department stores and boutiques of Charlottenburg, head down to Bier’s. Better yet, go there late at night—and you might see society folks in tuxedos and evening gowns. Don’t act all surprised. It’s Kurfürstendamm—naturfürlich you can order champagne with your Currywurst or shish kebab. (This being Berlin, of course, everything’s still affordable.)
I know, I know, every guide book mentions this place—and for a good reason. Open into the wee hours, this snack bar, nay, “legendary institution” serves up fresh-off-the-grill sausages smeared with plenty of sauce. The brusque Berliner service is part of the charm.
A magnet for club-goers and bar-hoppers, this lively joint is the perfect place to eat, chat with strangers and watch the sun rise after a long night out. Don’t forget the sauteed onions and fries. You need some veggies and carbs for a balanced meal.
Just steps away from Checkpoint Charlie, this compact museum is perfect for the diehard fans. While the admission fees are steep (€7-€11), they do include a complimentary serving of Currywurst. You can watch a documentary called “The Best of Wursts” (rim shot, please), listen to Herbert Groenemeyer’s 1982 rock tribute, browse a 3-D map of Currywurst stands in the city, or trace the history of snacking back to 4,000 BC (popcorn, if you must know). It’s Teutonically thorough fun.
It’s technically not a Currywurst place, but this innovative business model deserves a mention. Men sporting a grill like a backpack hang out on the street, serving pipin’ hot brats for around €1.20. You’ll see them moving about across Mitte, but you can always count on running into one outside the Friedrichstrasse and Alexanderplatz stations.