Who doesn’t love food? One of the best parts of traveling is undoubtedly sampling local cuisine. There is a long list of foods I’m looking forward to enjoying again that I just could not find in the US and foods that I will be sad to leave behind because they’re impossible to find or just not the same in Germany.
Read on if you want to torture yourself with mouthwatering descriptions of foreign food.
This is by far number one on the list of foods I have missed. If you have never tried this delicious Turkish street food, you need to find some. Pronounced “dew-ner,” it features a variety of ingredients in a bread pocket. The star of the show is the döner meat which is cooked on a giant, vertical rotisserie and shaved off order by order straight into the bread pocket.
There is quite the variety of ingredients you can add but I usually chose to keep it simple with some lettuce, cabbage and garlic/white sauce. The white sauce is very untraditional so if you enjoy spicier foods or just want to get the full effect of the dish, opt for the regular, red sauce.
I know most people would not associate Germany with amazing ice cream. While it’s true that the country has many dishes more famous, I have never had ice cream like the kind you can find in little shops all over Germany. For just a Euro (two Euros in the tourist traps) you can get a scoop of homemade heaven. German ice cream tastes like a hybrid between gelato and ice cream, but I believe it is just ice cream made with actual milk and without the need for preservability. Lots of ice cream in America (especially the kind you buy in tubs at the grocery store is made with skim milk, has high water content and uses some sort of thickener like starch to make up for the lack of fats. While German ice cream is likely higher in calorie content, its taste and freshness probably makes it the healthier option. If you want my recommendation, get the mocha/coffee flavor; it will not disappoint.
The happy world of Haribo jingle has probably played on your TV a time or two before but let me tell you that they are ten times better in their parent country. If you are like me, you probably really liked gummy bears when you were little but find them unflavorful and too chewy as an adult. I don’t know why but they are completely different products in Germany. They’re flavorful, soft and juicy. Not to mention the variety; Haribo has dozens of different types of candy that you’ll likely never find in the US. If you’re taking a trip or even stopping through Frankfurt on a layover, pick some up at the airport to enjoy on the plane and share with friends and family.
I never though I would say it but I will miss McDonalds. You may be thinking, “I thought that every country had McDonalds, doesn’t Germany?” Well, yes they do, but if you were doing a blind taste test you would never guess it was the deliciously greasy, unhealthy McDonalds we’ve all come to know and love. The fact is, so many of the ingredients in McDonalds food are illegal in Germany that the food is much, much healthier and bears little to no resemblance to the American original. I only ate there once myself out of desperation (after all why have McDonalds when you can get döner?) and can personally attest to how different even the simple McChicken is. While I recognize how insane it sounds to miss such terrible ingredients, preservatives and grease, the heart wants what it wants.
Continuing the same theme, I will really miss Taco Bell and Mexican food in general. Germany doesn’t have Taco Bell (although it’s rumored that US military bases have them) and their idea of Mexican food is tear worthy. My German friends explained to me that Germans just don’t like refried beans and that in itself is enough to make me laugh at anything labeled as Mexican food. Can you have Mexican food without refried beans? I guess maybe I just love them more than is accepted as normal but to me this is horrifying. Aside from that, the amount of Mexicans in Germany (12-15,000 estimated by the latest census in 2014) to make authentic German food is pitiful. Even going to the grocery store to make your own will leave you sorely disappointed. It’s for these reasons that I’m bringing taco seasoning both for myself and my friends there.
I already wrote a little blurb about this condiment in my Stock Up post but I thought I would point it out again. Of course, I’m bringing powder to make my own Ranch dressing but it’s still not the same. I will miss being able to order it with my meal at restaurants although I must say, mayonnaise as a condiment in Germany is much more commonplace and for that, I’m thankful. Ordering a side of mayo for my fries in the US has earned me some looks before but I actually picked up the habit from my trip to Berlin! I guess that in terms of condiments, it’s a wash between the US and Deutschland.
Let me know if there’s other food in Germany that I should be looking out for! I’ve already had authentic schnitzel, knödel, and currywurst but I’m sure there is more for me to sample.