Kiwi food YouTubers Thomas & Sheena Southam are on an eternal quest to find the most delicious local food the world has to offer. This week, they check out the best cheap eats in Berlin.
Berlin: a centre for history buffs, an enclave of artists and a cornucopia for clubbers. It might not scream "food capital" but the city is crammed with enough good eats to satisfy any food lover.
Days in Berlin are packed full of things to do so you'll need to keep those blood sugar levels up. And what better way than to sample some of Berlin's iconic snacks. Here are some local favourites:
1. Currywurst at Krasselt's Imbiss
The king of Berlin's street food scene is, without a doubt, currywurst. Take a fried pork sausage, douse it in Worcestershire sauce, sprinkle over curry powder then slather it with curry ketchup. Berliners wolf down a whopping 70 million of these things a year and there's even an entire museum dedicated to this humble dish. Currywurst is relatively young, created by Herta Heuwer in 1949 after she traded for ketchup and curry powder with British soldiers stationed in Germany. She mixed the sauce and spice together, poured it over grilled pork sausage and the currywurst was born.
If you're willing to travel about 45 minutes outside the city centre, we reckon Krasselt's Imbiss does the best version: a skinless pork sausage covered with a tangy, thick, curry ketchup, served with fries or a bread roll. Otherwise, Konnopke's Imbiss in the centre of Berlin serves up a decent one too.
Eat it at Krasselt's Imbiss Berlin, Steglitzer Damm 22, 12169 Berlin, Germany. Open daily 10am to 11pm.
2. Doner kebab at Imren Grill
Berlin has the largest Turkish community outside of Turkey so it's no surprise one of the city's most beloved street foods is a doner kebab. The doner kebab in Berlin was created by a Turkish immigrant in the 70s. He noticed German workers rarely had a chance to sit down for a proper meal so he adapted the food of his motherland, popping the doner kebab in bread as a snack to eat on the run. The German doner kebab soon morphed to suit local tastes with the inclusion of salad and sauces. The best we ate was at Imren Grill where a chewy, doughy flatbread pocket is stuffed with shaved beef, tomato, raw onion, lettuce and parsley and squirted generously with hot sauce and garlicky yoghurt.
Eat it at Imren Grill, Karl-Marx-Straße 75, 12043 Berlin, Germany. Open daily 9am-3am (Open until midnight on Sundays).
3. Burgers at Burgermeister
Burgers in a disused public toilet? It's quintessential Berlin and could easily be misconstrued as a gimmick. Lucky for you, we've done the legwork and can happily confirm the burgers at Berlin institution Burgermeister measure up. Housed in a former public loo under the U-Bahn, Burgermeister churns out perfectly formed, delicious burgers until the wee hours of the morning. Their brioche buns are buttery and soft and they keep it simple with their combinations of cheese, meat, salad, sauce and mayo. Munch on a burger, swig on a beer and feel the ground shudder as the train roars overheard. If you want to feel a part of this vibrant city, include this spot in your eating itinerary.
Eat it at Burgermeister Schlesisches Tor, U1 Schlesisches Tor, Oberbaumstraße 8, 10997 Berlin, Germany. Open Monday to Friday 11am-3am, Saturday 12pm-4am, Sunday 12pm-3am.
4. Pfannkuchen at Bäckerei Siebert
You wouldn't think a simple jam doughnut would make it into the Cold War history books but when the masses started arguing that President John F Kennedy's famous declaration "Ich bin ein Berliner" could be translated as "I am a doughnut", that's exactly what happened. The people were wrong, by the way. Kennedy's speech-writers had their grammar down pat and the President did in fact say "I am a citizen of Berlin".
But let's talk about jam doughnuts. Known as a pfannkuchen to Berliners and a Berliner to the rest of Germany - because a pfannkuchen is a pancake - it's all a bit confusing really. All you need to know is that you need to eat one. We sampled the ones from the oldest bakery in Berlin, Backerei Siebert, which has been churning them out since 1906. They're well worth eating: fluffy hole-less doughnuts stuffed with a sour cherry or tart plum jam and topped with a thin icing which shatters as you bite into it.
Eat it at Backerei Siebert, Schönfließer Str. 12, 10439 Berlin, Germany. Open Tuesday to Friday 6:15am-6:30pm, Open Saturday 6am-12:30pm.