The word streetfood nowadays definitely is linked to the Food Truck Movement, which came from the US to Europe and is present in every German city. Food Trucks and streetfood are a tribute to the young, urban and mobile city life, a way to combine healthy nutrition and food experience with modern work life, which is fine. What you probably don’t know: Germany has a long history in streetfood – Germans call it Imbiss.
Since mediaeval times food stalls sell local specialties to locals and travelers, you still find them at the historic market place in every town. Imbiss is the general name, but every region has it’s own local specialty and so the food stall might be called Würstlstand (Bavaria), Fischbude (Hamburg) or Currywurst Bude (Berlin). These food stalls already existed long before Slowfood and Food trucks came up, they are neither fancy nor trendy, a German Imbiss doesn’t fit into modern stereotypes. You won’t find these hip bearded young men behind the counter – here the owner sells himself and he/she is mid age or older and named Helga, Torsten or Klaus and is on guard over quality and cleanliness.
Food and travel in Germany
While travelling through Germany you can count on these foodie stalls – some of them have cult-status, some are just neighborhood places – most sell fresh local products with the matching local beer. Germans are not really used to take away, they prefer to eat right then and there, so the stall usually offers some tables outside. Don’t be shy, share the table with others – a great opportunity to get into contact with locals!
Berlin claims itself the leading food stall city and with two innovations on the food market (Currywurst and Döner), they may be on the safe side. However, if you stay in Berlin, don’t make a hustle to go to the famous Konnopke or Currywurst 38 Imbiss – you find these kind of Imbiss at every corner and a line up around lunch time is a good indicator for a good one, frequented by locals.
I stay away from the popular “10 best off” list, even though it ranks high – there can be no such thing as “the best Imbiss in Germany”, but I list the ones I visited and liked in my foodie map:
Aalkate, Königstrasse 20, Lemkenhafen auf Fehmarn
Nuggi’s Elbkate, Anleger Neumühlen, Hamburg
Brücke 10, Auf den St. Pauli Landungsbrücken 10, Hamburg
Ponton Op’n Bulln, Strandweg 30, Hamburg Blankenese
Wurstbraterei, Kölner Rheinauhafen, Südkai
Metzger-Grill Gereonswall, Geronswall 3, Köln
Bratwurst-Manufaktur, Dürernerstr. 219, Köln
bei Klaus, Ruwener Str. 35, Trier
Kultimbiss, Melibocusstr. 35 A, Frankfurt
Gref-Völsings Rindswurst, Alte Markthalle, Frankfurt
Metzgerei Knüpfig, Marktplatz, Würzburg
Meyer, Markt 1, Coburg
Würstlkönig, Lindwurmstr. 33, München