Next time you are looking for a quick bite to eat while in Düsseldorf, try the famous German ‘Currywurst’. Available at most traditional German restaurants and at ‘Imbiss’ (meal) stands, this dish is immensely popular and definitely worth a try.
From prominent politicians to the common man, every German seems to have a favorite place to get their Currywurst. But a word to the wise: don’t ask for extra spicy (“extra-scharf”) until you’ve tried the regular dish. If you see a crowd at an Imbiss, it’s a good sign that the food is excellent.
Even the New York Times ran an article on Currywurst in August. It may provide you with some extra incentive to have a taste during your next trip to Germany. In any case, if you already have a favorite Currywurst spot in Düsseldorf, make sure to add your comment to this blog!
‘Typical German Imbiss’
The Wall Street Journal By ROMAN KESSLER, AUGUST 27, 2009 (excerpt)
The Craze Over Currywurst
Germany's favorite fast food has a cult-like following -- and its own museum. Now the popular proletarian dish is popping up on menus across the world.
Many dishes claim to be part of a people's heritage - but few have their own museum. In Germany, currywurst, the traditional proletarian snack of sliced pork sausage swimming in a curry-tomato sauce, merits a memorial.
Currywurst is as German as pizza is Italian, hot dogs are American, and fish and chips British. This month, the dish was immortalized in the new Deutsches Currywurst Museum in Berlin, a sausage shrine dedicated to all things currywurst, including sausage sofas, a curry "spice chamber" and a movie montage of all-time currywurst cameos.
A common German street food, called currywurst, has found its way to New York's trendy East Village foodie scene, WSJ's Roman Kessler reports.
What's all the craze over a seemingly simple concoction?
No two Germans will likely agree on the perfect currywurst. Some like theirs with the sweet taste of Indian curry, others with a touch of mustard powder, and still others with a hot chili or lemongrass-flavored curry. Then there's the matter of how you take your currywurst -- with French fries, white bread or a whole-grain loaf. But regardless of the various varieties and debates on which currywurst stand takes top dog, all will agree that dish is an integral part of German culture.
The Deutsches Currywurst Museum traces the invention of the dish back to post-war Berlin in 1949. At the time the dish was known as "poor man's steak" because most Germans couldn't afford a proper chunk of meat.
According to currywurst legend, a witty German housewife named Herta Heuwer got her hands on some English curry by trading it against spirits with parched British soldiers. Experimenting with the spice in her kitchen, Ms. Heuwer soon concocted the cheap yet filling dish now known as currywurst: grilled sausage, sliced, with a gravy-like sauce containing English Curry and stewed tomatoes.
On a cultural level, the dish came to represent the everyday German. Politicians looking for a bit of street cred started posing in pictures with the dish -- a sign that they were one with the proletariat. When the federal government moved from Bonn to Berlin in 1999, Germany's then-chancellor, Gerhard Schröder, loved to picture himself as a currywurst aficionado.
Now, star chefs such as Daniel Boulud are even putting currywurst on their menus. At Mr. Boulud's new French-American brasserie in downtown Manhattan, DBGB Kitchen, he serves the dish with a turnip comfit for $12.
"I grew up on currywurst," says Andre Wechsler, a native German who recently opened a currywurst restaurant in New York's East Village. Mr. Wechsler, who moved to New York six years ago, worked with his German friends to develop the perfect sauce. Of all things German, "I just missed currywurst," he says.