Berlin Street Food

Best cheap eats in Berlin and where to find them

Konnopke Imbiss.JPG
Erin Porter

Berlin is a city constantly on the go, and the food scene reflects that. There are sausage vendors at AlexanderplatzSpätis (convenience shop) on every corner, and the chance to eat well anytime of the day.

Read up on Berlin's best street foods and the best places to eat them. Eat your way through the city from sausage to döner to falafel.

Bratwurst

When you think of German sausage, you are probably thinking of a bratwurst.

It can be pan-fried in beer and served along with rotkohl and potatoes, but it is best known as the quintessential street food. Eat this German meal-on-the-go from a grillwalker. These vendors wear their bright orange grills at hip level, slinging €1.50 bratwurst on a roll (brötchen) with your choice of mustard and/or ketchup. Don’t be alarmed that the sausage hangs out both ends – that is the way it is supposed to be.

Look for vendors around Alexanderplatz or anywhere groups of hungry people gather.

Döner Kebab

Döner Kebab is just better in Berlin. Often treated as a sloppy late night drunk food, a good döner can be so much more. Developed to suit German tastes by Turkish immigrants, this is a dish symbolic of the multicultural Berlin.

You will probably notice the vertical spits of meat before you ever actually order one. Giant cones of lamb, chicken or veal mix are prominently placed in imbiss windows before being grilled to order and shaved off in salty strips.

The meat is then placed in a pide with salad and sauce. 

I believe the best döners are usually dependent on location. A suspicious number of people’s favorite stands align with proximity to their house so feel free to scout out convenient locations. My personal favorite, Imren Grill 2, is noted for its unique blend of spices and freshly assembled meat skewers.

Use our guide to finding the best döner in Berlin.

Along with döner, sample other Turkish favorites like köfte, börek, and lahmacun (often referred to as Turkish pizza).

Burgers

This international favorite has found a home in Berlin Once a poor imitation of American-style burgers, there are now tasty burgers throughout the city. Experiment with classics like bacon and cheese, or go wild with peanut butter, or stick with the city's hipster veggie vibe with its many meat alternatives.

For one of the first popular American burger joints, go to The Bird, or try a Berlin classic in Kreuzberg, Burgermeister, which is located in a former urinal under the U-Bahn.

Halbes Hähnchen

Half a chicken may not seem like street food, but places like Hühnerhaus 36 in Kreuzberg have made a grilled chicken stop no more than a 10-minute affair. Popular with everyone from cab drivers to families to hung-over Americans, the small chicken stand at the entrance to Görlitzer Park usually has a line. Crackling, crispy skin hides succulent white meat with a side of salad, fries, or both coming to a grand total of around 5 euros. It is so popular they opened a sit-down restaurant across the street.

For a different kind of chicken, fried has become increasingly popular with the halal Riza Chicken opening sites all over the city.

Falafel

It's only mostly meat on this list.

Another favorite import from the east, deep-fried chickpea balls can be found in sandwich form or on a platter (teller) with a delightful array of sauces, spreads like hummus, halloumi and roasted vegetables.

Along with the usual falafel, look for the Sudanese version with a signature peanut sauce.

Currywurst

One of my favorite German sayings is "Alles hat ein ende, aber Wurst hat zwei" (Everything has an ending, but a sausage has two). So what better way to begin and end a post on German street food then with sausage?

Germany’s omnipresent wurst (sausage) comes curry flavored in Berlin. Currywurst can be found everywherre from biergartens to sporting events to high-end German restaurants. The dish is composed of a bratwurst that has been lovingly deep-fried and served with skin (mit Darm) or without (ohne Darm) according to your preference.

It is then slathered in curry ketchup and finished with a dusting of curry powder. This wurst is usually paired with fries (pommes) or a roll to sop up the sauce.

While Germans generally shy away from most things spicy, currywurst can deliver tongue-tingling heat. Watch for stands that specialize in high levels of spice and order at your own risk!