Street food in Germany

Street food events and food trucks conquer Germany.

dpa/Jörg Carstensen - Berlin Village Market

Not only in Asia has eating food in the street – “street food” – a long tradition. In Regensburg of the twelfth century, for example, the “Cookshop at the Crane” provided builders working on the cathedral with boiled meat. Today there stands on the same site the “Historical Sausage Kitchen”, perhaps the oldest snack bar in the world. “Drei im Weggla”, three Nuremberg sausages in buns, is among the oldest German street food.

The street food of today, however, is about more than gobbling a bratwurst in standing. The current revival of the age-old street movement comes from the United States. Especially the food truck scene in the New York metropolitan area has led the way in what, since 2013, several thousand guests a week can also experience at “Street Food Thursday” in the Markthalle Neun in Berlin-Kreuzberg, the Hamburg “Street Food Sessions” and the Cologne “Street Food Festival”: uncomplicated but high-quality food in public spaces. A simple food stand with a cook shop guarantees the cook freedom, mobility and independence. And simple dishes guarantee guests regional ingredients and careful handiwork. Such as bánh Mì from Vietnam, a baguette of wheat and rice flour with pan-fried meat, vegetables and coriander. Or gua baos, a Taiwanese variant of the hamburger. And Käsespätzle (cheese noodles) are also celebrated as well as fourteen-hour smoked pork.

Focus on conscious enjoyment and communication

Street food events, however, are not about only what gets eaten but also how it gets eaten. Sandwich factories, soup kitchens and regional burger shops have existed in large German cities since the 2000s. But unlike the sandwiches-to-go mentality of the past, street food is consumed not only in order to down the most efficient possible lunch or to fill yourself up quickly on the way from point A to point B. The focus is on conscious enjoyment. Also on communication during and about eating, which is why many street food markets remain open till evening. They then function like a bar or a restaurant. Only much more democratic, because here neither dress code nor big money plays a role. In the street only your gut feeling counts.