POP QUIZ…What food item in Germany has legions of cult followers, is a by-product of the World War II recovery effort, is loved by locals and tourists alike, and can provide a filling take-out dining experience, all for less than 5 Euro? If you said, “Spam!” then you are completely in the wrong country and using the wrong currency (but normally, you would be correct in my home of the Hawaiian Islands)! But if you said “Currywurst!” then you are indeed correct!
Going through the reason why people in Berlin have a love affair and get teary-eyed about their favorite types of currywurst is an exercise in futility. Sure, it’s basically just a bratwurst, sausage, or weiner that has been cut-up and with a special type of curry-sauce, powder, and ketchup. Sure, they have literally hundreds if not thousands of currywurst stands throughout Germany. But there’s no denying the ridiculous lines and queues day and night at some of Germany’s most popular currywurst stands. Whether you are drunkenly eating at a chain currywurst stand at Berlin’s central train station Hauptbanhof, drunkenly wandering the grounds of Oktoberfest in Munich, or (you see the pattern here) drunkenly wandering near the U-Bahn stops in Kreuzberg, there’s definitely a currywurst stand not far from you.
So finding the BEST one in all of Berlin or Germany (although I’ve heard that it’s most popular in Berlin) is pretty much a waste of time and would take a lifetime. If you are interested in reading about the wild history of how currywurst became so popular, read up the Wikipedia page here. I’m going to focus on the 2 most memorable currywurst stands I went to during my Berlin time: Curry 36 and Curry 61.
First of all, almost all currywurst stands, like a lot of doner/durum kebab stands, are just that: stands. There’s not often much place to stand, very few places have chairs at the tables, and they are more take-out affairs. Usually a standard currywurst costs about 3-5 Euro depending on how much currywurst you get and if you get pomme frittes or bread with it or other goodies. I wish more of them provided beer or wine to go with them, but usually you’ll find soft drinks or soda and water to buy. But in the end, it’s a super cheap and filling meal. Curry 36 is one of the most famous of all the stands.
Partially because of it’s location next to über-famous kebab stand, Mustafa’s, Curry 36 gets a ton of traffic. They even have a special type of curry-ketchup mix that they use to douse your currywurst in. The menu is kind of limited, and you have your choice of add-ons or combos with pomme frittes or bread, as well as different types of weiners or sausages. I’ll be completely honest, I think Curry 36 was sort of overrated. Of course there were tons of locals there, and the currywurst was good, but for some reason I found their standard currywurst-pommes frittes combo a little salty, not “curry”-tasting enough, and not totally mind-blowing.
Also, they give you small plastic forks instead of small wooden forks, which I think ruins the experience! 😛 It’s not bad though, and definitely worth the stop if you are in the Mehringdamm U-Bahn stop or near Mustafa’s Kebab and don’t want to wait in their ridiculous 45+ minute line. I just wouldn’t go out of my way to go there.
Curry 61 (the first picture at the top) is, in my mind, heads and shoulders above the more famous Curry 36. It’s also way more central, located near the S-Bahn stop at Hackescher Markt on Oranienburgerstraße. Their currywurst-pommes frittes combo had just the right balance of amazing curry flavor, scrumptious weiner that was well done and crispy without being too salty, and more enjoyable pomme frittes, although I may have been imagining that. Plus you get the super cool cute tiny wooden fork, which of course makes it taste better! I’d easily choose Curry 61 over Curry 36 any day, and it’s easier to get to in Berlin.
Curry 61 is open until midnight most days except Sunday when it closes early at 9 pm, and Curry 36 is open to a ridiculous hour of 5 am, so Curry 36 may be your go-to if you are a late-night drinking and dancing dirty birdie. They are both located near some bar and nightlife areas, although if you are coming from Kreuzberg, Curry 36 may be easier to get to. They both have other locations that are a little less central in Berlin.
Either way, honestly you can’t go on a trip to Berlin and say “NEIN! NEIN! NEIN!” to currywurst. It’s simply unforgivable and a major culinary faux pas. Currywurst is cheap, available everywhere in Berlin, hard to find done right in America, and if you believe the drunken fools leaving the Kreuzberg clubs, the food and nectar of the gods. Right behind kebabs of course. Do yourself a favor and chow down on some!
Do you have any other recommendations on your favorite currywurst stands in Berlin, Germany, or any other exotic location? Leave a comment below for The Traveling Bachelor!
Curry 36 – 3.5/5 Coconuts
10961 Berlin, Germany
Located on the SW corner of the U6/U7 U-Bahn stop and the 140, M19, N6, N7, and N42 bus lines in central Berlin
Curry 61 – 4.5/5 Coconuts
10178 Berlin, Germany
Located on the north side of Oranienburgerstraße, just NW of the S-Bahn Hackescher Markt stop