Taking Five at Curry 36: My Discovery of the Berliner Currywurst

February 28, 2014 12:00 pm

After making my descent from the pinnacle of Viktoriapark I began to feel very peckish, so when I stumbled across Berlin’s famous Currywurst vendor, Curry 36, I was ecstatic to say the least.

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The previous day, I had been to the official Currywurst Museum, which not only offered a light-hearted insight into the colourful history of the Currywurst, but a small sample of this simple but addictive local delicacy. From those few minuscule bites, I was hooked.

I stood under the haggard canopy of Curry 36 and waited in a large queue of hungry Berliner’s looking for their lunchtime fix. Once at the front of the queue, I sheepishly ordered a ‘doppel Currywurst’ in my best pseudo-Bavarian accent. I watched as my server cut two bratwursts into ten small pieces, applied a thick crimson sauce and sprinkled on curry powder with military precision – lunch was well and truly served!

My first bite was packed with a mouth-wateringly meaty contrast of spices and fruits, and there was no doubt in my mind that the Curry 36 Currywurst was certainly living up to its name. Wishing to savour the rest of my meal, I propped myself against one of the four large and busy tables on offer and in a quiet moment of reflection, it finally dawned on me that the dish I was eating wasn’t just a sausage, it was an experience.

In the forecourt of this tiny hole in the wall, squat-dwelling artists conversed with suited city bankers, skinheads laughed at the jokes of elderly pensioners and students compared tasting notes with pink eyed jazz musicians without a single shard of animosity or segregation because at that moment in time, they all had one thing in common…

The Currywurst – since its creation in 1949, this cheap, tasty and accessible dish has been a significant part of the city’s rich culture and no matter what has been thrown at it over the years, it has never stopped Berliners getting together to enjoy this unique slice of culinary genius.

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As I absorbed the bustling sights, sounds and smells of the scene before me, I couldn’t help but raise a smile – the sensationally bizarre mix of people reminded me of the city skyline I’d seen from Viktoriapark. At first glance, the skyline seems like an in cohesive patchwork quilt of high rises and decrepit old ruins, but on closer inspection, it’s something of real beauty – a unique backdrop where old and new sing together in perfect harmony.

On that cold yet clear winter’s day, my experience at Curry 36 taught me that the Currywurst embodies the city’s progression since the shackles of The Cold War – while tucking into my lunch, I saw the breaking down of the Berlin Wall with my own eyes, and one thing’s for sure, it tasted good.

 

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