Oh, hai! My slightly extended period of absence can be put down to chiefly two things: a) trying to sort my career out and b) spending quite a bit of time in Germany as a result of said career that needs to be sorted out. And there were the Olympics, which all seem like a lifetime ago now.
To the point of German food. It’s almost too easy to make fun of – it feels like poking fun at Amy Childs or slapping a sleeping person. But, when you come across things like this, the feeling of vindication is just a bit too much:
Perhaps I’ve just missed some deeper meaning, but this is to all intents and purposes a tiny blob of mayonnaise on some Swiss cheese, with a TINY, TINY pretzel.
Let’s break it down into ten nuggets of ‘things I have learned about German food’:
- Berlin is like London in that the home cuisine for the most part ain’t much to write home about, but high levels of immigration mean for a great selection of world food.
- German chefs are not short on ambition – although occasionally misguided. Things I’ve been served recently include penne arrabiatta with a chicken kebab on top, a shot glass of pumpkin soup as a palate cleanser and ‘hot sauce’ (salsa in a jar) with lamb chops.
- Berliners love Vietnamese food and this can only be a good thing – something good came out of the DDR after all
- Cold cuts for breakfast. Everywhere. Well, could be worse – I’ve seen Russians eat cold meat for breakfast slightly mixed with strawberry yoghurt
- Naan pizza is amazing as discovered at W Imbiss in Berlin – fresh naan, slathered with curried aubergine and salady bits on top. Legendary.
- Currywurst is actually alright, but in that kind of way that a greasy Chinese takeaway at 3am is alright
- Germans worship at the altar of the snack with ‘imbiss’ stands on every corner, it would be rude not to eat something deep-fried every hour
- Don’t eat Korean food in Cologne unless you enjoy bibimbap where the hot stone bowl is room temperature
- But the Berlin kebab is stellar (see below)
- Yep, the coffee’s still pretty bad
When in Berlin:
- Head to W Imbiss in Prenzlauer Berg for naan pizza
- If in Kreuzberg, scoff a kebab at one of Hasir’s outlets
- Get in some incredible falafel at Mo’s – patience may be required
- Tear up the Nando’s card at Huhnerhaus outside the park in Kreuzberg
- Ask Monsieur Vuong about the old photos – but beware the queues
When in Cologne:
- Eat at Ouzeria and order the rabbit stifado – stunning
- Get more upmarket teppanyaki at Daitokai
- Avoid Columbus (near Heumarkt) at all costs.