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Berlin Eats: Currywurst


by Kristina Wendel



When it comes to Germany, there is one dish that stands out as a true culinary delight – Currywurst. This popular street food has become an iconic symbol of German cuisine, particularly in the vibrant city of Berlin. For those unfamiliar with Currywurst, it is a mouthwatering combination of juicy sausage, smothered in a tantalizing curry ketchup sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. The flavor explosion that ensues is nothing short of extraordinary.


Currywurst has an interesting history that dates back to post-World War II Berlin. It was invented in 1949 by a resourceful Berliner named Herta Heuwer. In a time when food was scarce, she decided to mix ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and curry powder to create a unique and delicious sauce to accompany her sausages. Little did she know that this simple creation would go on to make a lasting impact on street food culture in Germany.


The success of Currywurst can be attributed to its simplicity and versatility. It is a dish that can be enjoyed by people from all walks of life. Whether you’re grabbing a quick bite on the go or sitting down for a casual meal, Currywurst fits the bill. Its easy accessibility and affordability have made it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.


One of the key components that sets Currywurst apart is the flavorful curry ketchup sauce. This sauce is what elevates the dish from a regular sausage to a culinary masterpiece. The combination of sweet ketchup, tangy Worcestershire sauce, and aromatic curry powder creates a harmonious blend of flavors that dance on the taste buds. Whether you prefer a mild or spicy sauce, Currywurst offers options to cater to all palates.


In addition to the sauce, the traditional accompaniments that are served with Currywurst further enhance the overall experience. Crispy fries or a warm, fluffy roll are the perfect sides to complement the richness of the sausage and sauce. The marriage of flavors and textures creates a satisfying and unforgettable meal.


While the classic Currywurst recipe has remained unchanged over the years, innovative variations have emerged to cater to diverse tastes. From vegan Currywurst to gourmet versions with fancy toppings, there is a Currywurst for everyone. Berlin, being the curry capital of Germany, is the ideal place to explore these unique creations and indulge in the diverse world of Currywurst.


If you’re planning a trip to Berlin, finding the best Currywurst is an absolute must. The city is dotted with countless currywurst stands and restaurants, each claiming to offer the most delicious version of this beloved dish. From the bustling streets of Kreuzberg to the trendy neighborhoods of Prenzlauer Berg, you’ll find a Currywurst joint on almost every corner.


So, join us on a culinary adventure as we delve deeper into the fascinating world of Currywurst. Discover the history, savor the flavors, and uncover the hidden gems where you can experience the best Currywurst Berlin has to offer. Get ready to tantalize your taste buds and embark on a journey that will leave you craving for more.


History of Currywurst

The origins of Currywurst can be traced back to the bustling city of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II. The year was 1949, and Germany was recovering from the devastation of the war. In this bleak post-war landscape, Herta Heuwer, a resourceful Berliner, came up with a brilliant idea that would forever change the street food scene: Currywurst.


Herta Heuwer, a widow and entrepreneur, ran a sausage kiosk in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin. Faced with limited culinary resources, she decided to experiment with a new sauce to add flavor to her sausages. Combining ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, and a secret blend of curry powder, she produced a magical concoction that would become the key ingredient of Currywurst.


Heuwer’s creation quickly gained popularity among Berliners. The unique and delicious blend of flavors offered a satisfying and affordable meal option, particularly for those struggling with scarce food resources. As word spread, Currywurst stands began to pop up across the city, serving this newfound culinary sensation to locals and tourists alike.


An interesting anecdote from the early days of Currywurst involves a visit from British soldiers stationed in Berlin. They became enamored with the dish and spread the word to their fellow soldiers, leading to a surge in popularity among the British military personnel. This exposure to international visitors played a significant role in cementing Currywurst as an iconic symbol of German cuisine.


The 1950s saw the rise of Currywurst as a cultural phenomenon. Its affordability and accessibility made it a beloved street food, and it became synonymous with Berlin’s vibrant and diverse food scene. Currywurst stands could be found on almost every corner, each boasting their own secret sauce recipes and variations.


Over the years, Currywurst has evolved, with different regions of Germany embracing their own interpretations of the dish. Some regions opt for spicier sauces, while others experiment with toppings or innovative combinations. Today, Currywurst stands can be found not only in Berlin but throughout the country, offering locals and visitors alike a taste of this irresistible treat.


The popularity of Currywurst has reached new heights, with annual Currywurst festivals held in Berlin and other cities, celebrating the dish and its rich culinary heritage. In 2009, the Currywurst Museum opened in Berlin, dedicated to showcasing the history and cultural significance of this iconic street food.


Currywurst has certainly come a long way since its humble beginnings in post-war Berlin. It has transcended its status as a simple street food and has become an integral part of Germany’s gastronomic identity. Whether enjoyed on a bustling street corner or in a trendy restaurant, Currywurst continues to captivate food lovers with its unique flavors and fascinating history.


The Currywurst Sauce

At the heart of Currywurst lies the delectable curry ketchup sauce, which is the secret to its irresistible flavor. The combination of ingredients creates a harmonious blend of sweet, tangy, and spicy flavors that elevate the humble sausage to new heights.


The base of the sauce is typically made from ketchup, providing a smooth and slightly sweet foundation. The ketchup is then infused with a variety of seasonings, chief among them being curry powder. This distinctive spice gives the sauce its signature yellowish hue and imparts a warm and aromatic flavor profile.


Alongside curry powder, the sauce may also incorporate other spices such as paprika, cumin, ginger, and garlic, adding complexity and depth to the overall taste. Worcestershire sauce is another crucial ingredient, adding a tangy and savory element that complements the sweetness of the ketchup.


While the traditional curry ketchup sauce is mildly spicy, different variations exist to accommodate varying heat preferences. Some currywurst lovers prefer a milder sauce, while others seek a fiery kick. The level of spiciness can be adjusted by adding chili powder, hot sauce, or even fresh chili peppers.


The beauty of Currywurst is its versatility. The sauce can be tailored to suit individual tastes, allowing for a personalized culinary experience. Whether you prefer a sweeter profile, a spicier kick, or a mellow balance of flavors, the Currywurst sauce can be customized to satisfy your cravings.


When it comes to enjoying Currywurst, the sauce is generously poured over the sausage, ensuring each bite is drenched in its rich and flavorful goodness. The sauce not only enhances the taste of the sausage but also provides a delightful accompaniment to any side dishes that accompany the dish, such as fries or bread rolls.


In recent years, there has been a rise in artisanal and gourmet versions of Currywurst, with chefs experimenting and elevating the sauce even further. From incorporating exotic spices to using high-quality ingredients, these variations take the traditional curry ketchup sauce to a whole new level of sophistication, appealing to discerning food enthusiasts.


Whether you opt for the classic, mildly spiced curry ketchup sauce or venture into more adventurous flavor combinations, the allure of Currywurst lies in the unassuming yet tantalizing curry ketchup sauce. Its ability to transform a simple sausage into a culinary delight is a testament to the artistry and innovation that has made Currywurst a beloved German dish.


Traditional Currywurst Accompaniments

While Currywurst is undoubtedly the star of the show, it is often accompanied by a selection of traditional side dishes that enhance the overall dining experience. These accompaniments not only add texture and variety to the meal but also complement the flavors of the Currywurst itself.


One of the most popular and classic pairings with Currywurst is a serving of crispy, golden fries. The combination of the savory sausage and the crispy fries creates a delightful contrast in textures. The fries can be enjoyed on their own or used to scoop up the curry ketchup sauce, turning them into a savory, seasoned delight.


Another traditional option is a warm, fluffy bread roll, known as a Brötchen in Germany. The softness of the roll provides the perfect vehicle for sopping up the curry sauce, creating a delightful explosion of flavors in each bite. The combination of the hearty sausage, tangy sauce, and fluffy bread roll is a match made in Currywurst heaven.


In addition to fries and bread rolls, Currywurst can also be accompanied by a side salad. This refreshing addition helps balance the richness of the sausage and the sauce. A simple green salad with tomatoes, cucumbers, and a light vinaigrette is a popular choice, providing a fresh and vibrant element to the meal.


For those looking to add an extra kick, spicy sauces and condiments like mustard or hot chili sauce can be offered alongside Currywurst. These additions allow for customizing the level of heat and adding an extra layer of flavor to the dish.


Additionally, Currywurst can be enjoyed with a variety of pickles, such as gherkins or sauerkraut. The tanginess of the pickles complements the richness of the sausage and adds a crunchy texture to each bite. These pickled accompaniments provide a burst of acidity that helps cut through the richness of the Currywurst.


Whether you choose to indulge in the classic pairing of fries and bread rolls or explore other traditional accompaniments, the side dishes that accompany Currywurst elevate the overall experience. They add depth, texture, and variety to the meal, allowing you to customize your Currywurst feast according to your preferences.


While traditional accompaniments are favored by many, it’s worth noting that Currywurst has also been embraced by fusion and creative cuisine, leading to inventive and unconventional pairings. From gourmet salads to unique dipping sauces, the versatility of Currywurst allows for endless possibilities and culinary experimentation.


Ultimately, the choice of accompaniments comes down to personal preference. Whether you opt for the classic combination or venture into new territory, Currywurst is a dish that can be enjoyed in various ways, always promising a satisfying and unforgettable dining experience.


Popular Currywurst Variations

While the traditional Currywurst recipe remains a beloved staple, innovative variations of this iconic dish have emerged over the years, offering diverse flavors and unique twists. These creative interpretations allow Currywurst to cater to different dietary preferences, spice levels, and culinary preferences. Here are some popular Currywurst variations:

  1. Vegetarian/Vegan Currywurst: With the rise of vegetarian and vegan lifestyles, it comes as no surprise that Currywurst has also undergone a plant-based transformation. Vegetarian and vegan sausages, often made from tofu or seitan, are used as a substitute for traditional meat sausages. These alternative versions are paired with vegetarian or vegan curry ketchup sauce and served with the usual accompaniments.
  2. Spicy Currywurst: For those who relish in the fiery heat, the Spicy Currywurst variation takes the spice quotient up a notch. Extra chili powder, hot sauce, or fresh chili peppers are added to the curry ketchup sauce, intensifying the heat and offering a more fiery flavor profile.
  3. Gourmet Currywurst: Gourmands and food enthusiasts have taken Currywurst to new culinary heights. Gourmet variations of this classic dish feature high-quality sausages, artisanal curry ketchup sauces, and creative toppings. From truffle-infused sauces to exotic spice blends, gourmet Currywurst aims to elevate the dish into a refined dining experience.
  4. Regional Currywurst: Different regions in Germany have put their own spin on Currywurst, giving rise to regional variations. In Hamburg, for example, the sauce is typically made with a tangy mayonnaise base instead of ketchup. In Cologne, Currywurst is often served with a curry-flavored mayonnaise and curry powder sprinkled on top.
  5. Currywurst with Cheese: For cheese enthusiasts, Currywurst with melted cheese is a flavor-packed variation. The dish is prepared by smothering the sausage with cheese, often a combination of melted cheddar or a local cheese variety. The cheese adds an extra layer of richness and indulgence to the already delicious Currywurst.

These variations are just a glimpse into the ever-evolving world of Currywurst. With countless currywurst stands and restaurants across Germany, chefs and food enthusiasts continue to experiment and create new twists on this beloved dish. Whether you’re a vegetarian craving a plant-based version or a spice lover seeking an extra kick, there is a Currywurst variation out there to tantalize your taste buds.


Exploring these diverse Currywurst interpretations offers an exciting culinary adventure. You can delve into the world of fusion flavors, relish in the heat of spicier versions, or indulge in the gourmet renditions that elevate this humble street food to a fine dining experience.


Ultimately, the popularity and versatility of Currywurst lie in its ability to evolve and adapt to different tastes and preferences. So, don’t be afraid to step outside the traditional Currywurst boundaries and explore these exciting variations that have made Currywurst a true culinary icon.


Where to Find the Best Currywurst in Berlin

As the curry capital of Germany, Berlin is home to countless establishments serving up mouthwatering Currywurst. With so many options to choose from, finding the best Currywurst in the city can be a delightful, yet overwhelming, experience. To help narrow down your choices, here are some renowned places where you can find exceptional Currywurst:

  1. Konnopke’s Imbiss: Located in the vibrant neighborhood of Prenzlauer Berg, Konnopke’s Imbiss is an iconic Currywurst joint with a history dating back to 1930. This legendary establishment has been serving delicious Currywurst with their secret sauce for generations. Its old-fashioned charm and flavorful sausages have made it a must-visit for Currywurst connoisseurs.
  2. Curry 36: Situated in the trendy district of Kreuzberg, Curry 36 is a popular Currywurst hotspot that draws locals and tourists alike. Known for their scrumptious sausages, authentic curry ketchup sauce, and perfectly crispy fries, Curry 36 has earned a reputation as one of the best Currywurst spots in Berlin.
  3. Witty’s: For those seeking a vegetarian or vegan Currywurst experience, Witty’s is the place to go. They specialize in plant-based sausages and offer an array of delicious vegan curry ketchup sauces. Located in the Friedrichshain neighborhood, Witty’s ensures that everyone can savor the flavors of Currywurst, regardless of dietary preferences.
  4. Kurz & Klein: Situated in the alternative district of Neukölln, Kurz & Klein is a hidden gem known for its creative spin on Currywurst. They offer unique house-made curry ketchup flavors, including options infused with beer or honey. With their dedication to quality and innovation, Kurz & Klein is a standout destination for Currywurst aficionados looking for something different.
  5. Knofi: Nestled in the heart of Berlin’s Mitte district, Knofi is a popular Currywurst joint that prides itself on its homemade sauces and high-quality sausages. They offer a variety of toppings and accompaniments, allowing you to customize your Currywurst experience. With their vibrant atmosphere and delicious offerings, Knofi is a favorite among locals and tourists.

These are just a few examples of the best places to enjoy Currywurst in Berlin, but there are many more waiting to be discovered. Exploring the city’s myriad of currywurst stands, food markets, and restaurants will lead you on a delicious journey through the flavors and diversity of Berlin’s Currywurst scene.


Remember, the best Currywurst is often found in unexpected places, so be sure to keep an open mind and be adventurous in your culinary exploration. Whether you prefer the classics or are eager to try new variations, Berlin offers a Currywurst experience like no other.


So, grab a friend, prepare your taste buds, and embark on a Currywurst pilgrimage through Berlin. It’s a food adventure you won’t want to miss!



Currywurst has undoubtedly secured its place as a beloved icon of German cuisine, particularly in the lively city of Berlin. From its humble beginnings in post-war Berlin to becoming a street food sensation, Currywurst has captured the hearts, and taste buds, of locals and tourists alike.


The history of Currywurst is a testament to the creativity and resourcefulness of Herta Heuwer, who invented this delectable dish in a time when food was scarce. Her simple yet brilliant combination of sausage and curry ketchup sauce has forever shaped German street food culture.


The allure of Currywurst lies in its versatility. It can be enjoyed as a quick snack on the go or savored as a casual meal with friends. The combination of juicy sausage, flavorful curry ketchup sauce, and traditional accompaniments like crispy fries or a warm bread roll creates a harmonious symphony of flavors that tantalizes the taste buds.


While the classic recipe remains beloved, Currywurst has also thrived on its ability to evolve. From vegetarian and vegan versions to gourmet interpretations and regional variations, there is a Currywurst to suit every palate and cater to various dietary preferences.


Berlin offers a treasure trove of Currywurst delights, with iconic establishments like Konnopke’s Imbiss and Curry 36 serving up the best of the best. But the journey doesn’t stop there – hidden gems like Witty’s, Kurz & Klein, and Knofi await discovery, ready to dazzle with their unique flavors and innovations.


Whether you’re a local or a visitor to Berlin, diving into the world of Currywurst is a culinary adventure worth embarking on. Let your taste buds guide you as you explore the countless currywurst stands, food markets, and restaurants throughout the city.


The story of Currywurst is one of resilience, innovation, and the power of simple pleasures. What started as a resourceful creation in post-war Berlin has evolved into a cultural phenomenon that continues to bring joy to people’s lives today.


So, the next time you find yourself in Berlin, don’t forget to indulge in the tantalizing world of Currywurst. From the tangy curry ketchup sauce to the perfect blend of spices atop a juicy sausage, Currywurst promises a flavorsome experience that will leave you craving for more.