The European Street Food Awards are nearly upon us. And with the North heat happening on August 13 and the South heat on August 25-27, this month is all about Germany. In a way that’s not dissimilar to Britain, the country is rediscovering its food and drink culture.
Walking into a bar in Berlin and asking for a lager is like ordering the ‘fish’ at a seafood restaurant – it only gets you strange looks. Come on. Be a bit more specific. What you after? A Helles? Dunkel? Altbier? Pils? Bock? Märzen? Same goes for bratwurst. There’re more than 40 types of it in Germany. From your pinecone-grilled coburger, to the EU-protected Nuremberg Bratwurst. These are pork-based sausages, as long (or short) as you like, seasoned with fresh marjoram, grilled over a beechwood fire, served with sauerkraut and tangy mustard.
Bratwurst have proven ideal streetside meals since a least the 14th century. Same with spätzle, though for not quite that long. It’s quite an invention, really – get some egg noodles, grate them down, boil, fry in butter, then toss in Bavarian cheese, chives, fried onion and black pepper. Heisser Hobel, Best Overseas Trader in the 2013 British Street Food Awards, know one or two things about spätzle – to make it, they get through 60kg of cheese every day.
While we’re at it, let’s not forget their Berlin brethren, the Bunsmobile, who also made an appearance at the awards – their mustard-yellow van won lots of fans back in 2013. Not to mention the prawn and pork buns they sold out the back of it.
Anyway, where were we? Ah – that other cornerstone of German cuisine. Schnitzel. Technically of Austrian origin, it might be that the best schnitzel outside Vienna is found at Jolesch – tenderised veal, deep fried in bread crumbs til golden brown. Classic. Sometimes you’ll find Jolesch slinging their schnitzel in sandwiches at street food markets across Berlin.
Speaking of street food markets, Germany’s not short of ‘em. You’ve got Strat, Land, Food festival and ‘Street Food Thursday’ at Berlin’s Markthalle Neun; kebab festival Kebabistan; the Breakfast Market; Thai Park. There’s even the odd trader set up on boats on the river Spree, for crying out loud. And Nuernberg is a whole OTHER story — home to the Street Food Convention, organised by Klaus Wunsch, and billing itself as Germany’s Food Truck capital…
And then there’s Bite Club. Not so much a market as more of a nomadic travelling party, it’s become something of a city institution since it opened in 2013 – Bite Club once fed over 25,000 visitors at an art gallery in the space of just a few days. It’s why we’ve partnered up with them to host inaugural European Street Food Awards – they know exactly how to throw a proper romp. Come see for yourself this summer. Don’t worry, despite the name, they don’t actually ‘bite’.