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Meat streets: Berlin's ultimate curried sausage

Thursday, October 21, 2010
If you thought Germany's favourite dish is sauerkraut and sausage, well think again. The sausage part is right, but as Jules Lund found out on his trip to Berlin, curried sausage — currywurst — has taken over the city's tastebuds.

The spicy aroma of sizzling sausages and curry sauce entices droves of hungry passers-by to the Curry 36 stand.

Currywurst is served with skin on or off, doused in curry tomato sauce, curry powder and a pile of chips. There are always queues — young, old, rich and poor. It's a gastronomic equaliser. It seems everyone loves them and some people actually order two for themselves at a time! There are those who say they are a great hangover cure.

The dish originated in West Berlin just after World War II when food was scarce. The Germans had the sausage, the British the Worcestershire sauce and curry powder and the Americans provided the tomato ketchup.

It's said Herta Heuwer patented the sauce in 1951 and sold up to 10,000 servings a week at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district. Who would have thought it would become Germany's national dish? It's estimated 800 million servings are devoured every year.

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum opened in Berlin on August 15, 2009, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the dish's creation. "No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans," curator Martin Loewer says.

The song 'Currywurst' on Herbert Grönemeyer's 1982 album Total Egal is a tribute to the snack.

The 1993 novel Die Entdeckung der Currywurst ("The Discovery of the Currywurst") by Uwe Timm was made into a 2008 film of the same name. The plot is based on an alternative but unproven theory that currywurst was invented in Hamburg. So you see, they take it very seriously.

Lutz Michael Stenschke opened Curry 36 in 1980. He serves boulette as well as currywurst. Boulette is Berlin-style meat balls with the same sauce and chips. You'll also find currywurst on children's menus in restaurant.


Berlin, Germany.


Currywurst is around $2.20 a serve. Curry 36 is open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays, 10am to 4pm on Saturdays and 11am to 3pm on Sundays.

For further information

Curry 36
Mehringdamm 36
10961 Berlin

German National Tourist Office

Visas: Australians require valid passports to enter Germany, but return tickets and visas are not required.

Electricity: 230V at 50Hz with two round pins.

Time zone: GMT +1.

Currency: The euro.

Telephone code: +49.

User comments
I first had currywurst in Witten, West Germany in 1990. Loved it so much I looked for excuses to go into town all the time. Enjoyed directing the guy making the curry as to how strong I wanted it to taste. Then we stood at a table around a pole on the footpath and devoured it. It is true that you want more than one in the same sitting. Can buy the sauce here at Holland House, Fairfield if I remember correctly.
I'd go back just for that!

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