Read these 120 Food Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about German tips and hundreds of other topics.
Frikadellen is a more formal term for "Fleischkloesschen" (meat balls). They are also known as "Bouletten" in Berlin. Frikadellen are made out of ground meat, usually half and half, with an egg and soaked bread bun added. They are fried in fat until the crust turns golden brown. You get them at fast food stalls, usually with ketchup or mustard.
Schwarzwurst is a German blood sausage, which is smoked and air-dried, seasoned with garlic, cloves, pepper and salt. It looks almost black, hence the name.
Find quality cheeses from all over the world at the Butter Lindtner chain. They also sell excellent butter, soft drinks, milk, yoghurt and snacks. The chain is a little more expensive than a standard supermarket, but the difference in quality is considerable.
If you order a pepperoni pizza in Germany, it will not be what you expect: you will get a meatless pizza topped with green Italian peppers. It will taste very good, but it will not be what an American expects as a pepperoni pizza.
A Pizzeria denotes an Italian restaurant, but the term does not mean that they sell only pizza. You will find a variety of pasta dishes, meat dishes, seafood and alcoholic beverages. Eating at a Pizzeria is not expensive. Most Pizzerias have a 'to go' service and also sell pizza by the slice.
You might be surprised to find that shopping carts are often chained up at the store entrance and can only be "freed" by inserting a 1 DM coin into a slot. That's because the carts are very popular 'free furniture': a lot got stolen before this method was introduced. Don't worry, you will get you money back once you chain up the cart again. Also note: nobody will pack your groceries. You need to buy plastic bags and pack your goods yourself.
The dollar is strong, so going out to eat in Germany should not be a problem. However, if you want to save money, avoid the hotels & restaurants in the city centers. Instead go to ethnic restaurants (Chinese, Italian, Turkish) or even cheaper, buy at the "Wuerstchenbude", "Currybude", the butcher, the local market, the bakery, a cafe or a hamburger joint. BTW, McDonalds is not as good over there as it is in the US! Speaking some German helps, as you can ask locals where they buy their lunch.
Sauerkrautsaft (juice) is a refreshing sour & salty beverage made out of pressed Sauerkraut. It is both sold in grocery stores and health food stores (Reformhaeuser). However, you have to limit your intake, or you will suffer.
This is an extremely white Bratwurst with a fine consistency and delicated taste. It is a typical Bavarian dish and sold at the Oktoberfest in Munich. Excellent with sweet mustard.
Leberkaese is a mixture of pork and liver, which is baked in an oblong tin. It looks like a meatloaf, but it is skinless and has a shiny pink color. It can be eaten cold as is, or fried. It goes well with mustard or ketchup, with onions, sauerkraut and potato salad, or on buttered slices of bread. A lot of Leberkaese is eaten in Bavaria.
The "Haus des Frankenweins" specialises in a particularly dry wine variety called "Bocksbeutel". For more information, contact their e-mail:
It is generally safe to drink tapwater in Germany, as there are strict regulations concerning its quality. However, I recommend you buy the carbonated version ("Selters", "Sprudel"), available at any grocery store or supermarket. Those are fortified with minerals and actually much better for you. Some come from natural wells. The labels give you information on their particular contents and intended use/health benefits. They are also inexpensive.
You will find a wide selection of wine at any grocery store. There is no need to go to a liquor store, although they exist. Among the best inexpensive wines to try are those from France, Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia. Californian wine is also sold, but it is usually more expensive. German wine (e.g. Riesling, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer) is slightly cheaper than the others, but it is usually lighter (less alcohol). Your best bet for Beaujolais is the ALDI store.
Lebkuchen Schmidt is a specialist for German gingerbread cookies. They sell festive tin boxes with 9 - 15 different types of Lebkuchen specialties. These make ideal gifts for Christmas. Find out more at www.germanlebkuchen.com.
These herrings are considered to be the best salted herring available. They are fat female fish with translucent flesh. They do not need soaking prior to cooking.
A regional term for a Broetchen (Kaiser roll). Buy them at a bakery, as the factory-made ones available at supermarkets taste horrible. The overall term "Broetchen" means 'small bread'. There are varieties, such as "Zwiebelbroetchen" (onion), "Kaesebroetchen" (cheese), or Schinkenbroetchen (ham). Most are very good.
A Landjaeger is a tasty, spicy sausage named after the uniformed officials, who used to patrol the German Alpine regions and carried "Landjaegers" for food. The sausage is usually smoked and keeps well, so it can be transported over long periods of time without refrigeration. It is usually eaten in chunks with pieces of bread.
Koelln has come up with a new multigrain cereal, which is ideal for your self-made muesli or baking. It comes in a 1 lb box and costs ca. DM 3,50.
If you are in a German town which has a university, check out the cafeterias and the "Mensa". Several institutes have their own cafeterias in the basement. The "Mensa" serves complete meals. Some will only serve students with student IDs, but most students are willing to get you something with their card if you ask. It is a lot cheaper than going to a restaurant.
In many cities you will find soft ice vendors in the street. The icecream, which comes in a cone, is cheap and very tasty. Never mind how tempting, try to resist. Over the years, there have been a lot of scandals involving soft ice, bacteria, stomach upsets, and worse. Go to an icecream parlour instead.
If possible, do not buy bread at the grocery store or supermarket. It may seem dirt cheap, but it usually does not taste that great. Check out the local bakeries for a wider (and fresher!) selection of bread, buns and rolls.
A Milchschnitte (milk slice) is a popular snack for kids consisting of a soft spongy cake slice with a creamy white filling made out of vitamin-enriched milk. It is sold in the dairy section of supermarkets and needs to be refrigerated. It is expensive.
This liquor is traditionally served after meals (for desert). It has a rich and creamy chocolate taste. You barely notice the alcohol, but it is there (caution!). Named after Mozart, the composer, but no real connection. Good with ice cream. Expensive. Product is of Austrian origin, but widely sold in Germany.
Peanut butter (Erdnussbutter) is not as widely available in Germany as it is in the US. If you cannot do without, check the grocery store for peanut butter made in the Netherlands. A small jar is ca. DM 3.--. Some stores also carry peanut butter from the UK. Avoid the US brands, they are very expensive. You will also find 'organic' peanut butter at most health food stores. It is not cheap, but tastes better.
Zwiebelkuchen is a Swabian onion dish related to a pie or a quiche. It is traditionally served with Federweisser (young wine) and very tasty. Best eaten hot. Can be made at home using pizza dough. Inexpensive.
German Cervelatwurst is made of finely ground beef and pork. This type of sausage is very popular in Germany, as it is delicate, mild in taste and easy to slice.
Creme Fraiche is a popular dairy product similar to sour cream, but with a much higher fat content. It is used to thicken soups, or in baking. It even tastes good plain, on a slice of bread or on a roll.
German Leberwurst (liver sausage) is usually smoked. It is made out of pig's liver mixed with pork and/or veal. It may contain pieces of fat and liver. There are 'pure' liver sausages made out of calf or fowl (Kalbsleberwurst, Truthahnleberwurst, Gaenseleberpastete). Leberwurst can be either coarse or fine. It is always spreadable. The ALDI store has a good selection of Leberwurst, which is reasonably priced.
Schogetten chocolate comes in a bar, in which individual squares have already been pre-divided. Very good for traveling (no mess, no grubby hands). Comes in a variety of flavors, excellent chocolate, inexpensive. Buy it.
Berliner Weisse is a speciality beer, which comes with a straw and syrup. Warning: this is not for everyone. Most Americans I know do not care for it. It has a sweat and sour taste. However, it can be refreshing on a hot summer day.
Wiesenhof fowl is raised in the open and butchered no sooner than 56 days. It costs ca. DM 10 per kg. Find it in the cooling section of your supermarket. The meat is fresh, not frozen. - Wiesenhof also produces excellent cold cuts (turkey, chicken).
13 years ago, I was diagnosed with sarkoidosis (an autoimmune disease) in stadium 2. There are only 3, the last one can be lethal. I did not want to take cortisone. My doctor recommended eating onions (raw, cooked in butter, sliced on bread ...)and drinking as much onion juice as I could stand. You can get this bottled from a health store or make it with a juicer. It takes about three days until your stomach gets used to this 'diet', but in my case it actually worked. I have been diagnosed as totally healed over 10 years ago, and the disease never returned. I still eat a lot of onions ... The reason this works is that onions are full of anti-inflammatory "stuff" and actually boost your immune system.
Kuhns Delicatessen sells German specialty food. They offer 150 different types of sausages and 50 different types of bread. Call (847) 640 0222 for your free catalog.
A crumbly, dry, low fat cheese with a grainy texture, sold in rolls. This cheese is a speciality from the Harz mountains, but it is available all over Germany. best eaten fresh, as it gets smellier and spicier with age. If it gets too old, it runs and stinks.
A Schusterjunge (cobbler's apprentice) is a dark bread roll and a typical Berlin speciality. It is usually topped with cheese or goose fat (Schmaltz). Inexpensive, but very good. Buy it fresh at a bakery, not in the grocery store.
Weizenbier is a very rich Bavarian beer variety made with wheat. Be aware that one bottle (0.5l) has about the same amount of calories as a meal. Weizenbier is available all over Germany, in both bottles and cans. It tastes better from bottles.
Suesswaren is a generic term for candy, chocolate and cookies. You usually find it in supermarkets hanging over the specific isle (Suesswaren = sweet goods). Term is slightly dated.
German bakeries are open on Sundays for a limited time, but they can only sell cake. Try German bakeries on Saturdays before noon and ask for that day's piece of cake, cookies or breadbuns. A lot of them sell them at half price. Try the same on Mondays, particularly for pieces of cake. They are usually just as fresh as the 'new' items.
It is not advisable to go to Mexican restaurants in Germany, as they are truly expensive. Also, you might not get what you expect: instead of a bowl of chips and salsa, you might get less than a handful of chips and a tiny container of salsa ... (this happened in Berlin). Often, the food selection is limited. Even with the Dollar being strong, expect to pay at least twice as much as you would in the US, for an inferior meal.
Jewer Bier is a 'northern' beer variety brewed in the town of Jewer in Ostfriesland. It tastes similar to Becks, but it is stronger. Available all over Germany, definitely worth trying.
Suelzwurst or Suelze is a jelly made with large pork pieces and vegetables, sometimes also egg slices. It is usually sold in a block, but you can also obtain it pre-sliced. Good with potatoes.
A turkish pizza is a rollled up soft piece of flat dough, similar to a soft tortilla. Dough comes coated with meat and spices. It can be filled with salad if you ask for it. Very spicy, healthy and cheap.
The Schultheiss brewery in Berlin is the maker of a number of brand name products, such as Schultheiss Pilsener (a little bitter and very strong), Berliner Molle (a traditional Berlin beer with a mellower taste) and the popular Schultheiss Bock (higher alcohol content). Try them all, they are all great.
Saure Gurke is a spicy & sour cucumber, medium to large, usually sold at fairs from big barrels. Smaller versions are sold at the grocery store in jars. They are a Berlin speciality and also a typical German party food.
Leberwurst is a rich liverwurst, either smooth or with tiny pieces of liver and other meat. Veal liverwurst is supposed to be the finest, but pork, turkey and chicken are also common ingredients. There are many varieties to choose from, starting with prices below DM 1 and going up to DM 3 (and more) for a 100 g piece.
This is a Cervelatwurst named after a sausage-producing area in Central Germany (Thueringen). In the US-Midwest, where many Germans settled, dozens of Cervelat sausages of this kind are still made today.
In Germany's bigger cities, you will encounter 'after hours stores', where you can get groceries and alcoholic beverages, when other stores are already closed (i.e. at night, on Saturday afternoons, on Sundays). These stores are usually located at the train station or a major subway stop. As the goods sold there are totally overpriced, they should best be avoided.
An Armer Ritter (poor knight) is a version of French toast. Breadslices are first dipped in egg and fried, then served hot, topped with fruit and sugar. An inexpensive dish, popular with kids.
Try to go to local grocery market squares on Saturdays (in general stores & food markets are closed on Sundays) to catch traders when they reduce prices before the weekend. It is possible to haggle over the prices. You will end up with bargains (bread, fruit, cheese) and might also be able to buy cheap flowers if you need some, or even get them for free. In order to get bargains, a good knowledge of German is essential.
A Bierbeisser is a small smoked sausage, related to a salami in taste and traditionally served with beer. The Bifi brand is expensive, as it comes individually wrapped. Most supermarkets carry economy-sized pouches, which are a lot cheaper. Bierbeisser are a popular snack with school kids.
A Blutwurst interlaced with bits of tongue. It consists of pork fat, pig's blood and tongue and does not contain any cereal additives. It usually comes pre-sliced and is eaten cold on crusty bread.
A lightly smoked sausage sold in pairs. The classic accompaniments are potato salad, or sauerkraut and mustard. Frankfurters are also sometimes added to potato soup.
Presswurst tastes similar to head cheese. It consists of meast from the pig's head, neck and feet, blood and seasoning (especially sage). It can be cased or uncased. It is cooked, lightly preserved and cooled until the mixture jells.
If you want to cook a German dish, but cannot find the necessary ingredients, try ordering it online at Ethnicgrocer.com. They have 5.000 food items and a great collection of receipes from all over the world.
Verlorene Eier (lost eggs) are added whole to a boiling soup. The soup is not stirred until the eggs are cooked. Inexpensive, but very tasty.
Federweisser is a young wine that has not stopped fermenting. It is sold in bottles with a hole on top. Must stand upright at room temperature for a few days to develop more alcohol and its typical "bubbly" flavor. The more residue on the bottom, the higher the alcohol content. Tastes great. Available in red or white. Seasonal item only. You find it in the fridge section in most supermarkets. Try this!
Legend has it that Stollen, a rich yeast cake, originated in either Germany or Switzerland centuries ago, and that its shape was to resemble Jesus Christ
in swaddling clothes. The cake includes butter, almonds, marzipan, spices and rum-soaked fruit. Interested in trying it? Contact Nancy Potter at
www.newglarusbakery.com. Orders are shipped all over the US. This cake is only available during the holiday season.
You have a choice to get your French fries (= Pommes, Fritten) with either ketchup or mayonaise. "Pommes mit Majo" (pronounced "maajoh") means the latter. Note: both ketchup and mayonaise may cost you something extra.
Pumpernickel is "the" party bread, it is rather small, dark, flavorful, healthy, but not inexpensive. Usually served as an appetizer, topped with cheese, meat, mayonaise, vegetables and pickles.
Tsadziki, a Greek dairy product, has become so popular in Germany that you will find German brands in supermarkets. It has the texture of "Quark", but usually consits of yoghurt with chopped pickles, garlic and other spices. You find is next to dairy products and prepackaged salads. It tastes great with baked potatoes.
It is not common in Germany to bring out drinks on ice, unless it is coke. Neither are free refills for coffee and certain soft drinks common. You will not get a glass of icewater with your meal free of charge. If you want one, ask for one, but it might be tapwater.
The Dimpfmeier Bakery is an American German bread specialist. Order delicatessen such as Pumpernickel, Klosterbrot, Siebenkornbrot, Jagdschnitten and holiday specials (sold between October and December). These are: Stollen, Rum, Dresdner, Marzipan, Pfeffernuesse, Spitzkuchen and Honigkuchen. Get a free catalog at www.dimpfbreadex.com.
A Knackwurst is a short, stumpy precooked sausage made out of finely ground pork, beef and fresh pork fat. It is flavored with salt, cumin and garlic. Often sold in long links or pairs. Good with sauerkraut and pea soup.
Schwarzwaelder Schinken is a ham from the Black Forest region. It is strongly brined and smoked. Its robust taste goes well with sourdough bread and pumpernickel.
This is the "king" of Bavarian beer: rich, dark, strong, with a nice foam. It is only available in restaurants and some speciality beer stores (or liquor stores). Excellent beer, but quite heavy, with a high alcoholic content (ca. 7). Origin: a Bavarian cloister brewery. Do not drink more than one 0,5 l bottle at a time.
A Leberknoedel is a Bavarian variety of the popular meatball, with liver added. Usually sold in soup tins. Inexpensive and very good. A "Knoedel" would be a dumpling, but Leberknoedel are more related to meatballs than to dumplings.
Knaeckebrot (Knaecke) is a crisp bread generally made from rye flour. It can be eaten spread with almost anything, sweet, sour, or spicy. It is available in light and dark varieties, sometimes sprinkled with sesame seeds, even with muesli. A good brand Knaecke to try is WASA.
I heard an American friend complain that German health food stores tend to be a lot more expensive than American health food stores. There are basically two varieties in Germany: Independent stores and "Reformhaeuser" (i.e. chains). Reformhaeuser tend to be a little less expensive and offer a bigger variety of goods, so that might be your best bet.
Semmelknoedel are a Bavarian speciality and consist of potatoes and/or breadcrumbs. They look and taste similar to dumplings. You also find them cut into stripes and fried in fat. Tip: The Pfanni company makes great instant Semmelknoedel. Check them out at any supermarket.
Silberzwiebeln (silver onions) are very small white onions (size of a cherry), sold in jars in a vinegar sauce. They are very flavorful and usually served at parties.
Order authentic Bavarian baked breads from Hofer's of Helen. They have Bayrisches Landbrot, Schinkenbrot, Laugenbretzeln and -semmeln & much more. For detailed info call: (706) 878 8200, or check them out on the web at www.hofers.com.
You will find a considerable variety of readymade salads at German grocery stores. Among the cheapest are: potato salad (Kartoffelsalat), cut meat salad (Fleischsalat) and pasta salad (Nudelsalat). Warning: the meat in the "Fleischsalat" is sometimes inferior. I got food poisoning from this stuff once. Stick to more harmless stuff, like potato salad. If you are in the mood to spend more, you can also buy egg salad, chicken salad, fish, seafood & the like. Cole slaw is not that common.
Here's the original question from Renee:
"your site would be better if it told me all about lebkuchen because i don`t know what it is and i need to!"
OK. Lebkuchen are gingerbread cookies traditionally eaten in the Christmas season. They contain spices & honey and come with either a chocolate or sugar coating. They vary in sizes. The most popular ones come from Nuremberg. They are also featured in my newsletter archive. They are not featured in my recipe section because it is rather complicated to bake them. They can be ordered online (see "German Food in the US").
Your best source for fresh vegetables is the farmers' market, or weekly market (Wochenmarkt). If you are in a rural area, you will find that many farmers have stands by the road. In any case, do not buy 'greenhouse tomatoes' from Holland (usually sold at the grocery store, cheap). They are vile, watery and tasteless.
Hefeweizen is a rich Weizenbier with a high yeast content. It tases slightly sour and is usually served with a slice of lemon in a tall glass. It is a typical Bavarian beer.
Holsteiner Wurst is a Cervelatwurst from northern Germany (county of Schleswig-Holstein). It is heavily smoked.
Katenrauchwurst is a cottage-smoked German sausage made out of coarse pieces of pork. It is dark in color and firm in texture. For serving, it should be cut diagonically into thick, oval slices. The German word 'Kate' means a hut, or cottage in a rural area.
If you are looking for some great German products, you must try Germandeli.com. To my surprise they are located just 25 miles from my home, so I hopped in the car and drove there!! I bought Oetker Apple Struesel (mix), 6 Semmel-Knoedel (bread dumplings mix), Oetker Creme Caramel (mix), Werner`s Potato Pancakes, Bechtle Homemade Egg Noodles, Schalter & Weber Liver Pate, and wursts, and much more (I filled a big bag!) All these can be purchased on the net...so what are you waiting for?? Very nice people to do business with, a large variety of products,and one owner is traveling to Germany end of August to obtain many more products for us.
Kassler is the name given to cuts taken from the loin of the pork. The cut looks like a row of pork chops. German Kassler is sold uncooked in its native country.
Drinking alcohol in restaurants can get quite expensive. In general, the more expensive the restaurant, the more expensive the drinks. If you must, order beer. It is cheaper than wine. If you want to drink wine, go to an Italian pizzeria or a bar. Avoid buying whole bottles. Instead buy those at an ordinary grocery store and have the drink after your meal.
Deutsche Salami is not cured for long, so it is fairly moist and mild. It has a hint of garlic and a medium-fine texture. It is made out of lean pork and some pork fat, sometimes with added beef.
You will find McDonalds, Kentucky Fried Chicken, Pizza Hut and other familiar fast food chains in Germany. However, the quality of the food is not as good as in the US (generally speaking), and it is also not as cheap. Try "local" fast food instead (Currywurst, Pommes Frites, Wiener, Bouletten, Doener Kebap ...).
A "Mehlspeise" is a somewhat ancient term for a desert, particularly puddings, Pfannkuchen or Schmarrn (made in a pan, with eggs, sugar and fruit). "Mehl" stands for flour. This term is still widely used in Southern Germany.
You will need your own bottle opener, as most German beverage bottles do not unscrew like the American ones. This goes particularly for beer bottles. The opener is available at grocery stores and should cost between DM 1 and 2.
Stung by a bee and no sting aid handy? Slice an onion in half and apply ASAP. Works great. If you do not have one, try to buy one (my mother bought it from a stall which sold hot dogs. The person behind the counter was surprised, but obliged).
Rote Gruetze is a steamed fruit jelly made out of lots of red berries (usually strawberries) or cherries. It is served as a desert topped with cream. It is popular in northern Germany, Sweden and Denmark. It is sold in pouches at most grocery stores. There is a variety called Gruene Gruetze, which is made with gooseberries, which give it the typical green color. It tastes very good and even finicky kids will eat it.
A Schmaltzhering is a large skinned herring, filleted and preserved in brine. Schmaltz is the German word for fat.
A Laugenbretzel is an example of what Americans mistakenly refer to as 'pretzels'. It is a big, crunchy snack with a soft center and salt on top. Usually served with beer and cheese. Comes from Bavaria.
This bread variety with rye is very dark and tasty. It is an ideal party bread, as it tastes great with ham, pickles and cheese. The best quality is available at the bakery. Try not to buy factory made rye bread. It tastes like cardboard.
According to various surveys, the generic/store brand variety of potato chips available at the ALDI store is just as good and flavorful as other leading brands. Look out for "IBU" potato chips. Great taste, dirt cheap.
Attention smokers! German cigarettes are very expensive. However, discount stores such as "Aldi" can supply you with cheaper generic brands. You can also buy pouches of tobacco and roll your own. This is the most economical approach. Buying cigarettes tax-free on planes is also a way out.
Deutscher Tilsitter is a yellow pungent cheese named after the German town of Tilsitt. It is sometimes made with caraway seeds. Its taste might remind you of a monterey jack cheese.
Plockwurst is a sausage with a smoke-darkened skin and dark meat with a high proprtion of beef. It is very tasty, as it often comes studded with whole peppercorns. It is excellent on Pumpernickel or any other type of dark, rich bread.
A popular dairy product, which resembles buttermilk in tatse, but it is thicker. It is said to prolong life (das Getraenk der Hundertjaehrigen - the beverage of people who live over 100 years). It is available in full-fat and low-fat versions, with and without fruit. Its origin is Asia.