Part of the experience of travel is the food. It doesn’t even have to be gourmet. I love local street food. Ironic, as as an infectious disease physician I frequently counsel against eating and drinking purchases from street vendors when travelling internationally so as to not acquire a food borne illness.
Even better is the experience of eating a food you haven’t had in years but have good memories of. What’s funny though is that “absence makes the heart grow fonder” seems to apply to food as well.
Case in point? East German rye bread. I hated that thing. Dense and sour. You could throw a loaf at someone and do major damage. Yet, here I am scouring bakeries for it. The rye or pumpernickel breads in the USA, even the artisan “authentic German” ones, just do not compare. Interestingly, it hasn’t been easy to find. Luckily, we came across a baker at the Saturday flea market at Hackescher Markt and I bought a chunk with the plan to bring it back to my mom in New York – afterall it can last a good two weeks that dense sour thing. Unfortunately, at this time it doesn’t look as if it’s going to make the trans-Atlantic trip. Schade!
But onwards to other foods!
The Doner kebap: Oh my goodness! This mound of meat and vegetables in a warm bread was a welcome occasional treat that our driver would stop for in West Berlin on the way home from school. I have no idea what we did to merit such a reward so I didn’t know how to repeat it.
The wurst: currywurst, bockwurst, bratwurst, and the list goes on. I preferred the East Berlin sausages served without the bread cut up for you on a paper plate and smothered in ketchup (not Heinz) and zenf (a mustard I’ve never tasted elsewhere). M’sa has been on a mission to find THE sausage from her childhood. The one with the firm casing that pops when you bite it and releases its juices into your mouth. I’m not sure if she found it. She seemed overall upset with the sausages but I was pleased. Now if only they could get back that ketchup
BI-FI: not a street food but rather snack salami sticks. This likely contributed to me looking like a 16 year old at age 10. Delicious, what? Toni also liked them. So much so that when we went to Belgium, one of the first things our aunt asked her was if she remembered the Bi-Fi. And did she? She had already chowed down on two XXL servings by that time…one of which was supposed to be mine!
The ice-cream: No, Germany is not known for ice-cream at least not that I know of. But the soft-eis here is what I grew up with and therefore there is no other. The ice-cream itself is light, not too sweet, and doesn’t leave a foul residue in your mouth like other soft serve ice creams in a country I will not name. In addition, the cone is also light tasting almost like a communion wafer and without any extra sugar or ‘high fructose corn syrup’ or whatever it is that is loaded in that other country’s cone.
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