Try these 5 peculiar foods in Germany
Feeling adventurous? Here are the top five most peculiar foods Germany has to offer.
If you feel nostalgic for the savory Jell-O based meals of the American 1960s, modern day Germany has a food that will take you back to the glory days. Aspik is a gelatin based loaf that is filled with anything from herring to vegetables to eggs to beef, sometimes everything at once. The gelatin itself tastes of vinegar and the mouthfeel is exactly like the sugary Jell-O from all of our childhoods - stuffed with chunks of meat. Even though it could be considered kind of out there, Aspik is popular enough with the Germans that it can be found in most German supermarkets. Although not for the texture adverse, I'd recommend trying it. At the very least, it's an experience.
Raw pork may be a huge no-go in America, but in Germany it's often molded into Mettigel (Mett in the shape of a hedgehog with raw onion spikes) and consumed in large quantities spread over Brötchen (small crusty bread rolls, also called Semmel). Risk of trichinosis aside, Mett is a wildly popular raw spiced pork dish with a variety of interesting varieties. Butchers here are legally kept to strict set of rules when handling pork that is destined to become Mett; maintaining a certain temperature at all times and a level of freshness that is unmatched in the States. Mett is not for the faint of heart but is certainly a fun snack for the more adventurous among us.
A German favorite for group gatherings and potlucks during the holidays, Heringssalat is touted to bring good luck and bountiful wealth for the upcoming year. Heringssalat can be found pre-prepared in German supermarkets, and pickled herring is available to sample year round. Hundreds of recipes also exist online if you'd like to try your hand at crafting the salty, sweet and sour concoction yourself. There are variations with raw apple or jarred beets to make Rot Heringssalat, and classic versions with onions and pickles; it's truly a pickled fish salad for everyone.
Not quite what the average American might expect to be spread on two pieces of bread to make a sandwich, Griebenschmalz is a chunky pork lard mixed with cracklings (fried pork skin). Commonly found throughout Germany, Griebenschmalz is served as a spread on dunkel Brot (dark bread) because the bread’s hearty whole grain flavor can stand up against the savory spread. It is also used as a cooking oil in traditional German dishes and can even be employed as a party dip with fruit. It's heavy, rich, crunchy, greasy, and everything one could possibly want from of clarified lard and crushed cracklings. Griebenschmalz may not be for everyone, but it's worth a try.
This list wouldn't be complete without dessert. Or, well, something like desert. Black licorice is often a polarizing snack to begin with. Add some aluminum chloride and you've got Salmiak, a salty licorice candy-esque treat that is popular all throughout Northern Europe and Germany. Surprisingly, the most common way to buy it here is at your local supermarket. There have been reports of Salmiak raising blood pressure when consumed in large quantities because of the aluminum chloride in the candies, but regular consumption has yet to cause adverse health reactions. Haribo Piratos (a coin-shaped Salmiak candy) are nearly everywhere and advertise 7.99% aluminum chloride. The flavor has been described as salty, electric, even slightly sweaty. The only way to find out for yourself is to try it out.
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