Currywurst (top) and pommes frites
|Place of origin||Germany|
|Main ingredient(s)||Pork sausage, curry ketchup|
Currywurst (German pronunciation: [ˈkœʁiˌvʊʁst]) is a fast food dish of German origin consisting of steamed, then fried pork sausage (German: Wurst) cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, regularly consisting of ketchup or tomato paste blended with generous amounts of curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup-based sauce seasoned with curry and other spices.
The invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949 after she obtained ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany. She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. Heuwer started selling the cheap but filling snack at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the devastated city. She patented her sauce, called Chillup, in 1951. At its height the stand was selling 10,000 servings per week. She later opened a small restaurant which operated until 1974. On June 30, 2013, Heuwer's 100th birthday was celebrated with a Google Doodle.
Today, currywurst is often sold as a take-out/take-away food, Schnellimbisse (snacks), at diners or "greasy spoons," on children's menus in restaurants, or as a street food. Usually served with french fries or bread rolls (Brötchen), it is popular all over Germany but particularly popular in the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Area. Considerable variation both in the type of sausage used and the ingredients of the sauce occurs between these areas. Common variations include the addition of paprika or chopped onions. Often currywurst is sold in food booths, sometimes using a special machine to slice it into pieces, and served on a paper plate with a little wooden or plastic fork, mostly a Currywurst fork. It is also sold as a supermarket-shelf products to prepare at home, such as Meica CurryKing.
The Deutsches Currywurst Museum estimates that 800 million currywursts are eaten every year in Germany, with 70 million in Berlin alone. The Volkswagen plant at Wolfsburg runs its own butchery producing 3.5 million Currywursts per year, serving 1.6m to Volkswagen employees.
In popular culture
The currywurst is an icon of German popular culture. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is a noted fan of currywurst. By tradition, every candidate for Bürgermeister (mayor) of Berlin is photographed at a currywurst stand.
The 1993 novel Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (English title: "The Invention of Curried Sausage", ISBN 978-0811212977) by Uwe Timm was made into a 2008 film of the same name. The plot is based on an alternative but unproven theory that currywurst was invented in Hamburg.
The Deutsches Currywurst Museum opened in Berlin on August 15, 2009, commemorating the 60th anniversary of its creation. Curator Martin Loewer said "No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans".
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- pdf, German
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|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Currywurst.|
- Deutsches Currywurst Museum Berlin
- Berlin's obsession with currywurst - BBC News report
- Currywurst is The Secret Weapon - AEG Perfunkt video about a West Berlin cult snack shop
- NY Times Jan 26, 2011 - National Dish Comes Wrapped in Foreign Flavoring