Berlin is a city constantly on the go, and the food scene reflects that. There are sausage vendors at Alex, Spätis (convenience shop) on every corner and the chance to eat well anytime of the day.
What follows is a list of favorite Berlin street foods and the best places to get them. Go, eat, enjoy!
When you think of German sausage, you are probably thinking of a Bratwurst. Though Bratwurst can be pan-fried and cooked in beer, the quintessential street food meal-on-the-go is a grilled bratwurst from a Grillwalker.
These vendors wear their bright orange grills at hip level, slinging €1.40 bratwurst served in rolls 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.
Germany’s omnipresent wurst (sausage) often comes with curry flavor in Berlin. Currywurst can be found on menus from biergartens to sporting events to modern versions in new 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 (brötchen) 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!
Street food aficionados may believe they know the kabob, but döner are 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 deeply multicultural city Berlin has become.
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 warmed to order and shaved off in salty strips. The meat is then placed in a pide with salad and sauce. The spices, meat, salad and sauce vary from place to place meaning that most Berliners have a favorite stand that they swear by.
I believe favorite 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, follows this model as it is so close the smell actually wafts up to my flat most mornings. For a list of other recommendations, consult Finding the Best Döner in Berlin.
Half a chicken may not seem like street food, but places like Hühnerhaus 36 in Kreuzberg have made a chicken stop no more than a 10-minute affair. Popular with everyone from cab drivers to families to hung-over expats, 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.
Recently, the site has expanded to include a full-scale restaurant just across the street. Here chicken eaters have a greater variety of dishes, and can take a seat, drink a free Turkish tea and dine on the pickled vegetables available on every table.
The city is full of good eats. Go explore.