German specialities

Knife, fork and veal sausage with mustard and a pretzel on a table.

There is no point trying to find a single typical German cuisine – there's no such thing. Instead, there are lots of regional specialties which are also sometimes influenced by neighboring countries.

Labskaus is an old sailor's dish – a stew of salt beef, red beets, onions and potatoes. Matjes (pickled herring), dill pickles and fried eggs are usually served with it. Labskaus is eaten throughout north Germany and in neighboring countries like Denmark and Sweden, and is often served in restaurants.

Weißwurst (veal sausage) is one of Germany's most famous dishes, but it's actually only typical of Bavaria. Weißwurst is often served for breakfast, along with sweet mustard, a pretzel and often even a beer. Weißwurst is mostly made of veal, but many butcher shops have their own secret recipe. The sausage is boiled and then pulled out of the intestine before it is served.

Soljanka is part of eastern European cuisine and was one of the most popular dishes in the former GDR. It is still widespread in eastern Germany and is cooked both at home and served as an appetizer in restaurants. Soljanka is a stew of meat, fish or mushrooms as the main ingredient. Tomatoes, bell peppers, dill pickles, sausage, fresh herbs and – depending on the recipe – potatoes, white cabbage, carrots, capers and olives are also added. Lemon and cream provide the finishing touches.

Himmel und Erde (also: Himmel un Ääd) or "Heaven and Earth" is served in western Germany. It's made from apples, which grow on trees and reach up to the "heavens", and potatoes, which come from the earth. Fried black pudding, bacon or liverwurst and fried onions are served along with this mash of apple and potato.