Yes, of course, us Germans do have a handful of fastfood chains. Wait. Actually I’m not sure if we do.
The stuff you will usually see is Subway, McDonalds, Burger King, the occasional KFC and that’s about it. There’s probably a few German chain restaurants that might qualify but I can’t really think about any.
Classic German fast food would be a trailer on a city/county/village fair (or Kirmes) or on the parking lot of a large supermarket, in commercial areas. Doesn’t have to be a trailer though, sometimes they’re actual small restaurants.
A word for either of those is Imbissbude.
Imbiss = snack
Bude = shack
The same way a small Turkish food place would be called a Dönerbude. (Döner = doner kebab, served in a pita bread )
A lot of them are also called Frittenbude, Fritten being colloquial for Pommes Frites, the French term that we use for potato chips or fries, depending on where you hail from.
Typical German fast food doesn’t actually have to be cooked quickly, sometimes the stuff has been prepared for a while and is just lounging around on or slowly turning over a grill.
You alread learned about Fritten or Pommes, as we call it. Usually served with ketchup or mayonnaise (or salad cream). You can order them rot-weiss, too.
Red-white, meaning with both.
In certain parts of Germany that is also called Pommes Schranke
A Schranke is this:
Aside from fries, typical German fast food would be Brathähnchen (a roast chicken, whole or half), Spießbratenbrötchen (a slice of spit roast in a bun), Bratwust (red or white sausage, usually grilled) or the ever-present and all-around loved Currywurst.
The latter has always been sort of a cult-ish German experience, and there’s almost war-like competition between where it originated and in what region of Germany you get the best ones.
Currywurst basically is a Bratwurst, served with Ketchup or curry sauce and generously sprinkled with curry powder.
They are available from mildly spice right up until “you have to sign a waiver and show your ID before they sell you one” hot.
While Bratwurst is usually served in a bun, with mustard on the side or on the sausage itself, Currywurst is usually sliced and served with a Brötchen (a German breakfast roll) or fries on the side.
Look at that beauty:
Examples for the popularity of Currywurst in Germany:
– one of our former chancellors declared it his favorite food and the mess halls in our Governmental buildings had to serve it
– one of the German most popular musicians, Hermann Grönemeyer made a song about it that could in time become OUR version of American Pie.1
-there are actually Currywurst-Festivals in Germany. Yes, a Currywurst-themed City-fair! Check this out: http://www.neuwied.de/currywurst.html
So…are you hungry yet? No? Okay, here’s how a typical, rather busy German Wurstbude might look like around lunchtime. Complete with rote Bratwurst, weisse Bratwurst, Frikadelle, Currywurst and Brötchen.
- I hope it doesn’t, I don’t like the singer and the song lyrics actually go ‘I’ll go get me a Currywurst” [↩]