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The gastronomy of Germany

Since 1950 cooking, eating and drinking in German households and restaurants has changed and globalized because of influences such as:

  1. Labor migration
  2. Mass tourism
  3. Increasing industrialization in the production, preservation and distribution of food

However, traditional regional food and specialties were maintained, just developed or rediscovered.

Breakfast usually consists of rolls, toast or bread with jam or honey, sausage or cheese. Also muesli together with milk, fruit, yogurt or other dairy products is quite popular, together with (hard or soft boiled) Frühstücksei(egg).

In addition Germans usually drink coffee, tea or juice as well as cocoa or milk. Traditionally, the main meal of the day is lunch, which takes place between 12 and 14 o'clock. Dinner is a smaller meal, which often consists of only a few sandwiches. Anyway in big cities or because of changing working habits, many Germans started to have their main meal in the evening.


Usually people do not start their luch or dinner with an appetizer, because the portions coming with the main dish are enormous. If you order meat or fish, then salad and potatoes/French fries/croquettes come automatically with the plate. If you feel super hungry, you can order a soup before. There are a lot of varieties, but chicken, potato and mushroom cream soup are the most populars. On the contrary, if you don't feel that hungry, just order a salad instead. German people love potato salad, don’t miss it! They also have a really good tomato and cucumber salad.

Main dishes

  • Bratwurst: it is for sure the most typical German sausage, made from veal or pork. As a main dish Bratwurst usually comes with mashed potatoes and sauerkraut. This meal is so popular that you can order it as a snack in almost every corner in the city, in this case it would be presented as a roll, usually with ketchup or mustard.
  • Currywurst: it is a popular fast food dish of German origins made of Bratwurst. Typically the sausage is cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste. Also Currywurst itself topped with curry powder and/ or other spices. The dish is often served with French fries.
  • Kartoffelsuppe: a good and solid soup based on potatoes, some vegetables like carrots and parsley and wiener sausages. A classical German dish, which is eaten a lot by local people.
  • Kohlrouladen: a cabbage roll made of cooked cabbage leaves wrapped around and usually filled with meat and seasoned with garlic, onion, and spices. This dish is super delicious and is normally served with potatoes or dumplings and red cabbage.
  • Königsberger Klopse: another typical and delicious dish and one of the highlights of East Prussian cuisine. The dish consists of meatballs in a white sauce with capers.
  • Saure Eier: a simple but amazing typical German dish. Hard cooked eggs in a sweet-and-sour mustard sauce with, of course, potatoes.
  • Heringshäckerle: it is a kind of fish salad, mixed with salt herring, onions, potatoes, oil and a lot of spices. This dish is typically and famous in Saxony and you really have to try it!
  • Döner Kebab: by mistake a lot of people think that Döner Kebab is an invention of Turkey, but they're wrong. It was born in Berlin, the capital city, and this delicacy is very famous in every corner of the country... or even of the world. So you should try it at least in Dresden, because in my opinion they have the best ones!


  • Rote Grütze: probably the most original sweet dish is red groats. It has the red colour because of its main ingredients, that is to say redcurrant or raspberry pudding, topped with warm vanilla sauce.
  • Apfelmus: it’s really simple, but delicious and German people love it: I'm talking about apple sauce.
  • Fruit salad: there are a lot of different variations, sometimes they eat it with vanilla ice-cream.


  • Beer: German people love beers, especially Pils and regional brands. Students often drink Sternburg Export, it is produced in Leipzig and it is one of the cheapest brands. Also really famous in Dresden are 5.0 Export, Pilsener Urquell, Feldschlößchen and Becks. It is also common to mix the beer with lemonade, especially in summer times, which is called “Radler”.
  • Wine: after beers the second most consumed alcoholic drink is wine. Most known types of grapes are Riesling, Müller-Thurgau, Spätburgunder and Dornfelder. The wine is often mixed with sparkling water, creating a drink called “Weinschorle”.
  • Mate: this beverage is really famous, especially among students, because it is a caffeinated mate extract drink with less sugar than Cola or other energy drinks. On parties people often mix Mate with Vodka or Jägermeister, creating a tasty longdrink. There are several brands, but the most populars are Club Mate and Mio Mio Mate. Every supermarket, Späti and even every Mensa or University cantine sell this beverage.
  • Spezi: it is a typical German lemonade with a mix of Cola and orange soda and people love it! The most common brands are Spezi and Paulaner Spezi.
  • Schorle(juice with sparkling water): Germans have the tendency to mix almost every juice with sparkling water... creating the so called “Schorle”. I have really no explanation for this... but I can say, that it is more refreshing.
  • Coffee: it is not a German invention, but people here love it. And not only for breakfast... in the afternoon they have it with a good slice of cake. It is one of the favourite drinks of students in the country. When they have a break between courses they have coffee; in the library, they have coffee; even on the way to university, they have coffee. Here what is really popular is coffee-to-go, because university life sometimes starts early (around 8pm), and there is no time to take a seat and enjoy this hot pick-me-up. But please make sure that you buy an environmentally friendly mug, which you can use day by day!
  • Tea: especially for breakfast when the cold winter starts, German people like to have a tea. The most popular are the simple ones: peppermint and camomile tea.

From Dresden City Guide, by Anne Hänisch

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