Walking around Berlin’s Mitte district on a wet March afternoon, I found myself in the area around Hackescher Markt. I stepped briefly into the quiet Hackesche Höfe courtyard complex to pick up some postcards. I’d already seen (and smelled) numerous cafés, bakeries, and snack shops. I hadn’t had lunch, and with the possibilities of food reaching my eyes, the grumbling belly meant it was time to feed.
The ubiquitous yet humble currywurst came to the rescue. I retraced my steps back towards Hackescher Markt, and I arrived at the street-side counter for Curry 61.
A short history of Berlin’s claim to currywurst’s origins goes something like this. In 1949, Herta Heuwer, who ran a snack counter in Berlin, mixed curry powder and Worcestershire sauce with ketchup, and when she served grilled pork sausage with the new sauce to her customers, they loved the new concoction. She patented the sauce as “Chillup” years later. Today, currywurst is ubiquitous, challenging even the Döner as the champion of street-food throughout Berlin.
I had a short conversation in German with the owner:
- Was hätten Sie gern? — Einmal mit (Darm) und Pommes rot; scharf, bitte.
- Woher kommen Sie? — Kanada, doch ich arbeite zurzeit in Chile.
- Was machen Sie hier in Berlin? — Urlaub, ein paar Freunden besucht.
- Wie sprechen Sie so gut Deutsch? — Schon 2. Jahre hier gewohnt, und viele Mass Bier getrunken.
Roughly translated into English …
- What would you like? — An order with (casing), and fries ‘red’; spicy, please.
- From where have you come? — Canada, but I work presently in Chile.
- What are you doing in Berlin? — Vacation, visiting friends.
- How did you come to speak German? — 2 years in the country, and many litres of beer.
The owner seemed to like that last answer.
Although the owner asked if I really wanted the spicy (Scharf) version, I got a good dose of spice; my serving had a good sharp edge.
Now, many have written about and indeed some swear by two of the best currywurst joints in Berlin: Curry 36 and Konnopke’s Imbiss. Me, I feel like I’m working my way up the ladder, and when (not if) I’m back in Berlin, I’ll give these two places a try.
If that isn’t enough, I’ve gone and visited the German Currywurst Museum to learn about the history and evolution of the snack.
Come to think of it, every time I’m in Berlin, I’ll seek out the currywurst, from one “Imbiss” stand to the next, in my perpetual search for the ultimate taste of the city.
This post appears on Fotoeins Fotopress at fotoeins.com.