The land of wurst and käse, Germany has a lot of weird and wonderful foods to its name. Think a lot of meat, vinegar, cheese, and flavor. Don't worry, vegans and veggies, there are options available for you, too. As someone who was born and raised in the beer and lederhosen, the writer of this article knows everything there is to know about what crazy foods their homes had to offer. Or at least, this writer thought she did until she did research for this article. It turns out that people from Germany take things to the next level.
This writer comes from the Northwestern part of Germany, Nordrhein-Westphalen specifically, and has traveled throughout most of the big cities and countryside throughout her time living there. She's tried many local and traditional delicacies and is excited to tell you about some of the wilder options available. You could even make it your mission to try all of these foods on your next trip to Germany. From pickled fish wrapped around pickles to hedgehog-shaped raw meat to termite cheese, people from Germany have strong hearts and stomachs to consume some of these dishes. Of course, not all locals will be into all of these foods (some may not have even heard of these), but there will be at least one person around who's into them. All we can say is don't be afraid to give them a go, and good luck pronouncing some of these names (you can always ask for help from a local).
20 Gebakenes Blut - Baked Blood
British folks may be able to relate to this one. Baked blood is a delicacy that can be enjoyed alone or served with other items to create other traditional meals. One classic, for example, is Tote Oma, which consists of smashing this blood up and mixing it with liverwurst and potatoes. The squeamish will perhaps want to steer clear of this one. If you do tackle this one, it may be a good idea to chew some gum after you're done. This isn't for the faint-hearted—that's for sure. If you're a fan of blood sausage, then this could be for you.
19 Heringsalat - Herring Salad
For some, making a salad consists of throwing random things into a bowl, throwing some kind of sauce on there, and calling it a day. Some genius was onto a winner when he thought of throwing herring, beetroot, celery, eggs, and other bits and bobs together to create herring salad. Considering Germany has easy access to the North Sea, it makes sense that Northerners, in particular, would make use of the fresh fish at their disposal. This can be served as a side salad or a main. Maybe don't store it in the office fridge, though.
18 Mett - Raw Ground Pork
Most people would expect cake or perhaps a barbeque for their birthday meal. However, if you live in a traditionally carnivorous household from Germany, then you may receive something else entirely: a hedgehog-shaped pile of raw pork mince. Now, you may be thinking that some kind of grilling or burger situation will occur, but nope. People just tuck into this bad boy raw, usually putting it on bread or even just having it on its own. Don't forget to smile and try not to freak out about the smell. This isn't for everyone, but it may surprise you.
17 Zungenwurst - Tongue Sausage
Vegans, look away for this one. This nightmarish mess consists of pig's blood, pig's tongue, pig fat, and oats and is definitely a hit or miss. It takes a few times to get into it, as the taste is so strong, it's almost metallic, but once you're hooked, you're hooked. This one will make your breath stink for multiple days but may help ease that hangover from all the beer from the night before (if you can stomach it, that is). Getting over the smell and the look is key to enjoying this. Enjoy it alone, with potatoes and bread, or as a side dish.
16 Sülze - Jello With Meat
In Germany, they don't just eat their food once it's dead; they also display it in jelly. Sülze is gelatin made with animal stock with chunks of cow or pig head meat—maybe there will even be bits of foot, tongue, or organs in there if you're lucky. You can even get it with other flavors like paprika or garlic or just on its own if that's more your style. It's fascinatingly gross to look at in jars in stores and even crazier to eat. We'd recommend having some kind of chaser with you when trying this.
15 Rollmops - Pickled Herring Rolled Around Pickles
Vinegar lovers unite! Rollmops are pickled herrings wrapped around a pickle. That's it. Not only are they an acidic punch to the mouth but are also considered to be a great hangover cure. We'd be interested in trying this unique dish, but understand that not everyone loves to eat fish as much as we do. This can be eaten alone, as a side dish, or as a palate-cleansing snack. Again, watch your breath after eating them (sensing a theme yet?). We bet these would taste amazing using freshly caught fish, too.
14 Milbenkäse - Mite Cheese
Did you ever look at a termite and wonder what it would be like with cheese? We can't blame you on that one since termites can be devastating pests to have in your home. However, some crazy person out there discovered that locking some cheese with cheese-loving termites in a box produces really good cheese. The termites eat the rind, and their secretion ferments the cheese into a little-known delicacy. The problem? You gotta eat the live termites when you eat the cheese. It's an extra hit of protein, at least. Good luck not gagging when you eat this.
13 Baumkuchen - Tree Cake
One of the coolest desserts we've ever seen, Baumkuchen is a technically unique dish with simple ingredients. Traditionally speaking, you cook it on a spit, adding layers and layers until it's a circular cake with layers like tree rings. It's subtle, soft and sweet, perfect for having during 'kaffee und kuchen;' a pastime between meals where friends and family chat and drink coffee and cake together and often takes place on Sundays. It's similar to the UK tradition of teatime but with nicer cakes (sorry not sorry, English folks). Definitely give Baumkuchen a try on your next visit.
12 Weisswurstfrühstück - White Sausage Breakfast
Bavarians really know how to party. Not only do they have the best accent (Chloe the writer can confirm) and the best views, but they also have beer, white sausage, sweet mustard, and pretzels for breakfast on occasion. If you really want a taste of tradition, you should suck out the sausage—no that's not a euphemism—in a move called the 'zuzeln.' White sausages are arguably the best sausages, and to have them with a cold one surrounded by beautiful scenery isn't a bad way to start your day. Yeah, it's not the healthiest, but so what?
11 Schmalz - Spreadable Pig Fat
We don't know what to tell you, folks; it's spreadable pig fat. It's more of a snack than a meal, able to go on any kind of bread you want. While we aren't such big fans of it and would rather just have the bread, some people get really into this after trying schmalz for the first time. Getting creative with your bread choices can enhance the flavor of schmalz; pumpernickel or katenbrot would be good options, or just keep it simple with a little käsebrot from the local bakery. Bread and schmalz are cheap ingredients, so they can help you out if you're a meat eater who's low on cash.
10 Arsch Mit Ohren - Rears With Ears
Yes, you read that right. These gummy fruity candies are behinds with ears attached to them. It's a phrase that's similar to calling someone an idiot. While the insult is distasteful, the gummies are delicious. Maybe consider picking these up as a gift for that person you can't stand. You can give them a souvenir and savor watching them devour the edible insult. If they say anything, you can mumble something about it being a local delicacy based on a joke you don't understand and get away with it. We won't tell anyone if you won't.
9 Spezi - Mixed Fizzy Drink
Did you ever mix orange soda and cola together to create a kid's 'cocktail'? We definitely remember doing that in the summer when it was too hot to play on the trampoline or slide down slides. Luckily, people from Germany serve that beverage ready bottled for your convenience. The drink is called "Spezi" and is, as you can imagine, popular with kids and kids at heart. You can add gin and bitters to create a more alcoholic version of the classic kids' drink. You'll be wanting to bring these bottles home with you, but never fear; you can make it at home if you ever want a taste of nostalgia.
8 Fritz-Kola - Brand Of Drinks
Another fizzy drink entry, Fritz-Kola is a brand of fizzy drinks that come in all kinds of funky flavors: apple-cherry-elderflower, sparkling rhubarb, and aromatic smoky tea are just some of the flavors available from Fritz-Kola. Not only this, but they also have stevia and sugarfree versions for those watching their sugar intake. Need a refreshing beverage but also a caffeine kick? There's a coffee version ready to help you through that afternoon slump at the office. Our personal favorites are melonade and sparkling grape.
7 Paprika Crisps
The world is absolutely missing out on paprika-flavored crisps. A smoky and sometimes spicy experience, this flavor is superior. You can keep your salty, vinegary, cheesy crisps to yourself because these are the best kinds of crisps in the world. Yes, we're using strong language because we feel very strongly about this specific chip flavor. It doesn't matter if the chip is regular, crinkled, bugle spiral, or vegetable style; the paprika will enhance your chip experience no matter what. Don't believe us? Go ahead and pick up a pack for yourself.
6 Milchschnitte - Chocolate Cream Cake Snack Bar
One of the quintessential after-school snacks, Milkschnitte is simply a thick layer of vanilla cream sandwiched between two chocolate sponge slices. There's a rumor that there's a touch of rum in them as well, but hey... if you're just looking for something simple and sweet to tide you over until dinner, then this is a great snack option. Germany has so many wonderful snack choices that it can be hard to pick one, but this is a good start for the new and curious. You can find it in any grocery or convenience store, and they're pretty cheap.
5 Hanuta - Chocolate Hazelnut Wafers
Are you a fan of hazelnut chocolate cream? What about crunchy wafers? Then the Hanuta is for you. Another after-school nibble, the Hanuta is simple but delicious. There's a generous amount of chocolate cream, and the wafer is always perfectly crunchy. People from Germany are big fans of wafers, nuts, and chocolate, so this is a classic snack. Buy these in a multipack because you're going to devour at least three before realizing that you had opened more than one. This may be a "take them home to share but they're mostly for me" thing.
4 Currywurst - Sausage With Curry Sauce
This is the best savory snack. Many of you have heard of Bratwurst, a type of sausage that's flame-grilled and served with a small roll or paprika fries. Well, Currywurst is better than that. Currywurst is sausage slathered in curry ketchup. The most popular brand of curry sauce can be found on Amazon if you'd like to try it. Currywurst is usually served with paprika fries or a small bread roll. Insider tip: don't put the sausage in the roll like a hot dog—it's meant to mop up the sauce. Use this same tip when eating Bratwurst; it's a big tell for tourists.
3 Haribo Flavours
Haribo is a brand from Germany, so of course, it keeps all the best and craziest flavors close to home. Most of them are delicious, and Haribo will probably never die due to its popularity. For starters, there's Pasta Frutta, a fruity sour gummy shaped like small squares of pasta. Then, there's Stafetten, which are candy-covered licorice sticks. Hot Sticks are a controversial one, tasting of citrus and ginger to give you a sweet and spicy snack to nibble on. These are just a few of the crazy flavors you can get when visiting stores in Germany.
2 Handkäs Mit Müsik - "Hand Cheese With Music"
No, this doesn't come with its own personal soundtrack, but it may make your taste buds sing. Consisting of sour milk cheese, onions, vinegar, and caraway seeds, this culinary delicacy comes from the Southern region of Hesse and is traditionally handmade at home. Pretty rural, huh? The vinegar and the onions are the 'music' here, and the smell of the cheese isn't pleasant for everyone. That being said, you can get some cool pictures of this for your Insta feed. It's also said to be good for digestion, but that may be an old wives' tale.
1 Super Dickmann's - Chocolate-Covered Wafer Marshmallow
Carrying on the chocolate and wafer theme, we have the branded snack Super Dickmann's. These are thin wafers topped with a small but cubby marshmallow and coated in a thin layer of chocolate. These are crazy popular and sound simple but are a little technical to eat. The regular-sized ones require a top-down approach. If you try to shove the whole thing in your mouth, you'll end up with marshmallow and chocolate all over your face. Make sure to buy more than one pack, as one won't be enough for you. Marshmallow lovers will adore this snack.