Thursday, January 22, 2015

German Food: It's Not the Wurst

Once I found out that my marketing field study course was to Germany I was ecstatic. The first thing people asked was "what are you going to eat?" because I don't eat meat. Well vegetarians and vegans rejoice! In Frankfurt, best of luck finding German food. It's a melting pot, similar to NYC (and many other major cities), and people visiting are most likely there on business. I read a lot prior to leaving and apparently the last thing Germans want while on business trips is German food. Makes sense!

The population is heavily Turkish, so the cuisines you see a lot of are Turkish, Indian, Asian fusion, and Thai. They also love their burgers there. Another common misconception is that all Germans drink is beer. They do drink a lot of it, but the big thing there is Apfelwein (pronounced apple wine). It's a cider that you add sparkling water or fanta to. I spent a ton of money on water because that's not a popular drink of choice and you have to get the glass bottles of it while eating out. Side note: when you say "water" in Germany, you're going to get sparkling unless you specify you want still.. learned that the hard way.

Of course we had German food a few times. One of the first nights there we stumbled upon Adolf Wagner and figured why not give it a shot? When we got back to the hotel we found out that it's one of the better places to go for a German experience. The inside was awesome and you felt like you were really in a German cider-tavern. It opened in the 30s, so it has quite a bit of history. 

Another restaurant we went to twice was Cafe Wega because (1) they took credit cards (so uncommon in Germany) and (2) it was delish. I got the same thing (the antipasti salad)  both times because I'm a creature of habit and when I find something I like I just can't not get it. My friends got schnitzel the first time and then the chicken crunchy burger the second time. Everything was delish.  

Toh-Thong Thai is one of the top 10 restaurants in Frankfurt, so the Thai-lover that I am had to check it out. It was very good, but I've had similar quality Thai food in NYC so it didn't blow me away. I started off with the papaya salad and it was spicy and perfectly dressed. My nose was running nonstop from the heat, but that didn't stop me from finishing the whole thing. As a meal I got the phas-phakluam with tofu and it was the prefect size and had great flavor. I also liked how the tofu was cooked because I'm super picky when it comes to that. I hate when my tofu is spongy and chewy. My friend, Crystal, had never had Thai so this was a great first experience for her. She tried the Thai beer and said it was "light and so smooth." Chicken satay is always a safe bet, so I suggested she try that as an app and then she had phae-briew-warn with chicken as an entree. This is definitely a place to go while in Frankfurt. 

My final food highlight was in Heidelberg. We had a few meals that were set for the whole group, and this was one of them. The Golden Sheep (the English translation) has been around since the 1600s and has an awesome atmosphere. The set menu was beef consomme as a starter, turkey breast filled with goat cheese and spinach, seasonal veggies, and homemade spaetzle for dinner, and orange pudding with vanilla ice cream and fresh fruits. Everyone loved their meal and thought it was a nice change from the "wurst" German-fare (aka bratwurst, knockwurst, etc.). My professor and I had special meals due to dietary restrictions (no meat and dairy-free). The starter was a delish onion soup and my entree was seasonal veggies, spaetzle, and German raviolis. It sounds like a lighter meal but it definitely was not. The veggies were very heavy on the oil and the raviolis weren't like the Italian boiled ones. They were more along the lines of pierogies.. fried. Regardless, the flavor was there and it was great. 

Living in New York definitely spoils me when it comes to cuisines because not only do we have all of them, you can find authentic anything. It's not like Chinese takeout where you say you've had Chinese food but then go to China and can't even recognize the dishes. My family would rather eat our arms than have Italian food (well my dad and I hate it.. my mom and brother don't care either way) so we always have different ethnic foods. It shocks me when people have never had Greek, Thai, Indian, Mediterranean, etc. Stop eating Italian food, get out from under your rock, and try different cuisines! Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now and get to where I was going with this.. there's a German butcher that sadly just closed in Ridgefield Park. Kocher's had been there since the 40s and my dad would make stops a few times a year for food, so German food is not foreign to me. Going to Germany wasn't shocking and I knew a lot more about the cuisine and what was what than the people I was with, despite the fact that I wouldn't touch a sausage with a 10-foot pole (funny story..  I used to eat liverwurst like there was no tomorrow. This is when I was little and had no idea about what anything was). 

To answer everyone's burning question "how was the food?".. it was good! Similar options to NYC and you can get almost anything you're in the mood for. 



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