Germany is a country rich in history, culture, and cuisine, though it is often only associated with beer, sausages, and soccer. Here are some interesting facts you may not know about German food, as well as a few recommendations for where to find it in Mexico City.
Döner a la Berlín
Berlin is the city with the second largest population of Turks in the world after Istanbul. Foodies know that the German capital is home to some of the best döner, however, the ones you eat there are basically a Berlin (and therefore German) invention. It was in the 1970s that they were popularized due to arrival of Turkish immigrants and adapted into the street food-friendly pita form we know today. In Turkey they are not eaten as a sandwich, rather on a plate with all the ingredients placed separately.
The land of sausages
Before its unification in 1871, Germany was divided into independent kingdoms and cities. Each of these entities had its own proud traditions, among them sausages. General Charles de Gaulle, former president of France, complained about the difficulty of governing a country that had 246 varieties of cheese. To put this in context, in Germany there are more than 1,000 regional varieties of sausages. We don’t know if this makes it difficult to govern, but it definitely explains the notorious presence of sausages in their kitchens.
Currywurst – from workers’ food to symbol of Berlin
In 1949, after World War II, Herta Heuwer invented the now famous Currywurst (sausages served with curry ketchup) in Berlin. She received ketchup and curry from the British soldiers who occupied the Charlottenburg borough where her stand was located in a post-war divided West Berlin, and served it alongside roasted pork sausage. Her creation was a hit with the many workers who were rebuilding the city.
Why do people drink so much beer in Germany?
Beer and Germany are practically synonymous. This beverage has deep roots in German culture for two reasons. During the Middle Ages and with the spread of Christianity, monasteries became important centers of culture and knowledge. For those who may not know, beer and monasteries are closely linked (research Trappist beers). Due to its chemical composition, beer can be considered liquid bread and is highly nutritious. Because it is a liquid, monks were allowed to drink it during fasting. Subsequently, it became a means of celebration, which then spread to all social classes.
Moreover, in 1516, the Beer Purity Law was decreed, which is considered the first food law in history. Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria obtained the concession of barley. Thus, with the help of the monks, they created a brewing emporium that has survived to this day. Under the rule of brewing beer with only four ingredients (water, hops, barley malt, and yeast), the Germans became highly specialized in their creation, which would eventually become a source of national pride.
Oktoberfest – the October festival in September
The most traditional beer festival in the world is Oktoberfest. Contrary to what its name implies, Oktoberfest is usually celebrated in September. The reason is very simple. It was originally held in October, but as its popularity grew, the party was extended and pushed forward into the month of September for the simple reason of taking advantage of better weather.
The best German restaurants in CDMX
Frankfurt: Sausages and Beers
Frankfurt (in Mexico, that is!) is a perfect place to get to know German sausages. They have an extensive menu of German fare, but the best selection is from the variety of sausages. Be sure to ask for the different mustards, so you can taste them as they should be tasted. And naturally their beer menu is just as comprehensive.
Tamaulipas 136-B, Hipódromo Condesa, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 5256 0767
In the heart of Narvarte, Niebelungengarten has reproduced a classic German Biergarten. The owner is German, so we can assure you that the food here is authentic. It is a perfect place to explore the different options of Teutonic cuisine. We recommend the baked pork knuckle (Eisbein) paired with a Tucher Doppelbock beer.
Dr. José María Vertiz 1024, Narvarte, Benito Juárez
T. 55 5609 1309
Since opening its doors in 1947, Fritz has positioned itself as one of the most traditional German restaurants in Mexico. A meeting place to watch die Mannschaft matches, you’ll find typical German dishes in a more gourmet atmosphere. The Sauerbraten (marinated roast beef in sour cream sauce) or the Wiener Schnitzel are spectacular.
Dr. Río de la Loza 221, Doctores, Cuauhtémoc
T. 55 5709-2305