The whole world on your plate

Where did they come from? The origins of kebabs and currywurst

Where did they come from? The origins of kebabs and currywurst

When you bite into your hamburger or kebab, you probably never stop to think where these dishes actually came from. But you should. The origins of some of our favourite dishes reveal many exciting stories about the history of our cuisine.

Top export from Turkey to Germany

The doner kebab is the Germans’ number one favourite when it comes to snacks. The crispy meat from the rotating spit originates from Turkey, where it is eaten on plates. The kebab form we all know and love – a thick pitta bread containing ample salad, meat and yoghurt sauce – is said to have been invented by a young Turkish snack bar owner in Berlin in the 1970s. Now there are over 16,000 kebab shops dotted all around Germany. And, what’s more, this Turkish snack has also spread all over the world from Germany. You can even find it in China, where it is considered a German speciality.

Sausage with a cult quality

A novel has been written about it, German rock singer Herbert Grönemeyer has composed ballads about it, and it even has its own museum. Currywurst, invented in Berlin after the war, quickly became a national favourite, particularly in the capital and in the Ruhr valley. The combination of German sausage and spices from eastern Asia makes currywurst a pioneer in the fusion cuisine of today. You can even get luxury versions of the classic dish: Berlin restaurant Zander serves currywurst with 22-carat gold leaf, truffle chips and a glass of champagne.

Where did they come from? The origins of kebabs and currywurst

More than just mince on bread

Does the hamburger come from Hamburg? It is not as simple as that. The origins of the burger and what it really looked like are still hotly-disputed topics, even today. Did German emigrants take the hamburger overseas in the 19th century, or did two clever brothers in the state of New York invent it? Burger-lovers do not really care – the most important thing is what is between the two pieces of bread. And people are becoming more and more creative in this regard. Small burger bars, with their fine organic ingredients and unique combinations, are proving tough competition for the huge fast food chains. How would you like to try an asparagus burger with Hollandaise sauce?

Cuisine from the wood-fired stove

When guest workers from northern Italy came to Germany in the late 1950s, they were curious about the large round bread topped with fresh ingredients that their compatriots were enjoying great success with in Germany. Back home in Italy, at the southern foot of the Alps, they had never seen anything like it – after all, the pizza originates from southern Italy. The fact that pizzas can now be found at dinner tables all over Italy is down to German tourists. For Germans, pizza is simply a part of their Italian holiday, regardless of whether they are in Sicily or on the banks of Lake Garda.


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