Sunday, November 27, 2011

Things I think you have to be a native German to like

You know me, I love to try new foods, and I eat almost everything. I eat pickled herring at Christmas, really love foie gras. I try (mostly) every deer/moose/elk part my dad has put in front of me. But living in Germany I have encountered a few things I think you have to have native taste buds to enjoy. I know it's not very nice to make a blog post of "gross" German food, but I feel that 99.9% of this blog is a my love for German food and living in Germany, so here's some balance. :) which isn't to say that if you have the chance to try this should! Maybe you will like it?

1. Harzer Käse - I saw the grocery store had samples of something the other day...go over, and it's Harzer Käse. "Nein, danke" I say. This is a sour cheese, translucent and looks wormy on the outside. gross. I found another website that described it as smelling like sweaty gym socks, which I think is pretty spot-on.

2. Leberkäse - a loaf of meat, literally "liver cheese". The serving: a slice of it on a bun. Michael said they were selling this at the basketball game he went to, like they would hotdogs at baseball games.

3.Malzbier - Germans don't have root beer, but maybe this is their "equivalent," in that it's a non-alcoholic beverage marketed to kids and has the word "beer" in the name. It's very sweet, and while I don't think it's gross like the above items, I don't really care for it. But if you like soda you would probably like it. I say often, I prefer to consume my sugar in Kuchen-form.

4. Meat in aspic - Sülze - Any German supermarket, meat counter, deli has many different kinds of meat in aspic. This one, Sülze, is the grossest. Like Leberkäse, it also comes in a loaf form.

5. Mettbrot - Basically just raw ground pork on a bun. I see more old people eating this at bakeries. And, admittedly, this goes more in the category of "things I'm afraid to eat" than things I don't like. If I am eating raw meat I need to know a bit more about kinda weirds me out.

6. Beer mixes - The combination of Sprite (lemon soda) and beer is so popular you can get it in most pubs/cafés/bars. In Northern Germany it's called Alsterwasser,  in Southern Germany it's called Radler. Very refreshing in the summer, I guess...Nicht so mein Ding.  Or how about Colabier, called Diesel? Also popular. Spezi is a non-alcoholic version...with orange soda and cola. But not only can you buy these drinks "mixed" at a bar, you can buy pre-mixed versions. Strange, for the land of the Reinheitsgebot, the purity law for brewing beer.

7. Sweet Popcorn - When you go to the movie theater in Germany, you may be surprised when you take your first bite of popcorn. Yes, it's sweet, not salty and buttery. They have sweet popcorn. I tried to make "American style" popcorn for the German students I was teaching 4 yrs ago, and they didn't like it. They had never seen someone make popcorn on the stove, and I wanted to make something typical for them (buttery popcorn). After they didn't like it, I made a batch, sprinkled sugar on it, and they loved it. (Again, seee #3 for my sugar preferences: not in beverages or sprinkled unnecessarily, but in baked goods.)


  1. Glad you sent out an email about the blog since I didn't realize you were still at it.

    1. I'm not sure if I've ever eaten Harzer Kaese but it reminds me of Handkaese mit Musik (i.e. with onions"), an awful Frankfurter Spezialitaet.

    2. Leberkaese, or Leberkas, is hugely populaer in Bayern, mit Suessem Senf auf 'ne Semmel. It is hugely lecker. You can find various forms, including one infused with cheese or spices. Give it a chance.

    5. One of my Japanese-German aunts makes her own Mett regularly, with lots of diced raw onions -- also hugely lecker. That would probably make you feel better than deli-bought to know when and where your raw meat is coming from.

    7. Do they not have Kettle Corn in your nook of America? German popcorn is American Kettle Corn, which is most often found at carnivals, fairs, markets, etc. It's sweet and delicious, though it took me some getting used to, and I was definitely taken aback the first time I went to the movies in Germany and realized what I'd bought.


  2. haha, thanks for your comments, Adam. I will maybe be more open about the Mett. But Leberkaes? It's like German spam! Come on! :)

  3. I have to agree with Adam; I love love love Leberkaese. (I've never eaten it on a bun - we fried it up and ate it with potatoes and onions.)

  4. Did you eat Blutwurst yet? It's made from blood. My dad loves this Delikatesse but I pass. Nice blog. I am from Berlin and visiting with my husband from California in two weeks. Your perspective on our German culture helps me to pick a few essentials to introduce him to. Thanks!

  5. Hi Anja! Thanks for your comment. I did try Blutwurst, when my friend Jessica was visiting Berlin, at the Restaurant Renger Patzsch. Here is the link:
    I don't love it, but it was okay. It's not the kind of thing I would buy at the store. I am afraid of many Wurst varieties at the the ones in jelly! Hope you and your husband have a great trip!