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Germany Cuisine



Though traditional dishes like dumplings, wurst (sausages), pastries, and beer may make Germany seem the worst possible place to eat healthily, in reality, restaurants are offering foreign foods and neue Küche (modern cuisine). Chefs trained in Switzerland, France, or Italy return to Germany to open Continental restaurants, and Italians and Turks, many of whom originally came to Germany as "guest workers," own restaurants featuring their own culinary traditions.

German cuisine varies greatly from region to region. The southern regions of Bavaria and Swabia share many dishes among them and with their neighbours to the south, Switzerland and Austria.

Regional Specialties

Bavaria & Franconia

In southern Germany, you can feast on such hearty fare as Leberkäs (a chilled mold of minced pork, beef, and liver), Knödel (dumplings or soaked bread), Haxen (pork or veal trotters, most often consumed with sauerkraut), Rostbratwürste (small finger sausages), and Leberknödel (large liver dumplings in a clear broth). Schweinwürstl mit Kraut (pork sausages with sauerkraut) is another unforgettable local dish.

Lower Saxony & Schleswig-Holstein

Here in northwest Germany, with its maritime tradition, a typical local dish is Aalsuppe – sweet-and-sour eel soup flavoured with bacon, vegetables, and sometimes even pears and prunes (or perhaps other fruits). The sailor's favourite is Labskaus, a ground-together medley of pork, salt herring, and beef, along with potatoes and beets. The traditional topping is a fried egg and a side dish of cucumbers. Bruntes Huhn is salt beef on a bed of diced vegetables, a robust winter favorite. Rollmops, pickled herring rolled in sour cream, is another local specialty, as is Finkenwerder Scholle (plaice) and oysters, raw or baked with cheese.


During those cold nights in old Prussia, Berliners took comfort in their soups, notably Kohlsuppe (cabbage soup) and Erbensuppe (pea soup), along with dark bread, especially Westphalia pumpernickel. Hase im Topf is a delicious rabbit pâté. Other favorites are Bratwurst, a pork sausage, and Regensburger, a spicy pork sausage. For dessert, Berliners like Kugelhupf, a marvelous coffeecake, and Käsekuchen, or cheesecake. But probably the most typical Berlin delicacy is Eisbein, pigs' knuckles.

Hassen & Westphalia

Famed for its hams, this region eats food guaranteed to put hair on your chest. Sample their Sulperknochen, made from the pigs' trotters (feet), ears, and tail, and served traditionally with peas pudding and pickled cabbage. Try Tüttchen, a ragout of herb-flavoured calves' heads and calves' brains or settle for Pickert, sweet-potato cakes flavored with raisins.


In the southern region around Stuttgart, begin with such dishes as Schneckensuppe (snail soup), Spätzle (egg-based pasta), or perhaps Maultaschen (ravioli stuffed with ground meat, spinach, and calves' brains). A dish beloved in the area and widely consumed is Geschnetzeltes (slices of veal in a cream sauce). The favourite local dish in Stuttgart itself is Gaisburger Marsch, a beef stew. Another commonly served dish is Rostbraten, braised beef, invariably accompanied by sauerkraut or Linsen mit Saiten, lentil stew cooked with sausages.

Saxony & Thuringia

In eastern Germany, you can feast on everything from Linsensuppe mit Thüringer Rotwurst (lentil soup with Thuringian sausages) to Rinderzunge in Rosinen-Sauce (calves' tongues in grape sauce). Kartoffelsuppe (potato soup) remains a favourite of the district, as does a baked appetizer, Quarkkeulchen, made from curd, boiled potatoes, flour, sugar, and raisins, topped with cinnamon and served with applesauce. Each city in the district also has its own popular local dishes. Leipzig, for example, has its Leipziger Allerlei, a blend of carrots, peas, asparagus, cauliflower, mushrooms, crayfish, ox tails, bits of veal, and dumplings.


The Rhineland features dishes that have made Germans the subject of good-natured ridicule, especially in neighbouring France. For example, there's Saumagen, stuffed pork belly with pickled cabbage. Also beloved is Schweinepfeffer, a highly seasoned and spicy pork ragout that's thickened with pig blood. After that feast, it's on to Hämchen, pork trotters with pickled cabbage and potatoes, or else Sauerbraten, beef marinated in wine vinegar and spices. Postwar Chancellor Konrad Adenauer was a Rhinelander, and one of his favourite foods was Reibekukchen, small potato pancakes with a blueberry or applesauce. Taverns along the Rhine fill up when Federweisser, partially fermented new wine, comes in. They drink it while devouring onion tarts.

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