December 5, 2022

A very German Speciality – The Currywurst

By Ralph Kratzer


Despite my long-time cold, today I could not resist the temptation to mount my motorbike “Black Betty” and go for a spin.

In my former article “50+ Facts about Germany” I told you that there are more than 1.000 sorts of sausages in Germany (to remember the post – please click here!)

Our member of The Foreign Residents, Sonja, one of the two owners of the Food Lodge in Catalköy had told me a few weeks ago that they now offer, in addition to their bakery specialities, snacks in the form of for example “Currywurst“ (German Curry Sausage).

So I thought it would be a good idea to try this typical German snack once on site.

To remember the Food Lodge – please click here!

Currywurst_1Currywurst is not always the same in Germany. There are excellent ones and some that are best forgotten again immediately.

The decisive factors are not the sausages, which are nowadays available at the worldwide German supermarket chains Lidl or Aldi in excellent quality, the decisive factor is the sauce. And there are Currywurst takeaway owners in Germany that would rather cut out their tongue before betraying their recipe!

I tested the Currywurst at Food Lodge and I can say: that was a very very good one!

Currywurst_6They can be ordered there with chips or bread at a reasonable price.

The Currywurst together with a small beer and your lunch or supper is perfect!

Unfortunately I  had  to do without the beer today, because I was on the road with the bike.

After my first Currywurst experience again for many years I searched the Internet for the history of the Currywurst and found this:

The History of Currywurst

The butcher Max Brückner from Saxony experimented at the end of 1940 at a sausage without skin. Natural skins were then scarce and expensive. Usually the meat mixture was injected into the skin and was then fixed. That´s how the sausages got their shape. With his new invention Brückner’s sausages kept their shape without intestinal skin.

At the beginning of 1948 Brückner came to West Berlin, where he established his butcher shop under the name “Maximilian”. Here he perfected the production together with his partner Frank Friedrich and started selling these sausages. The first customer was the family Janko from Berlin-Spandau. That´s where the name “Spandau without Pelle (skin)” came from and the product was well received.  As usual in the postwar period, Brückner and Friedrich missed having the process of making a sausage without skin patented.

Currywurst_2Also, a close family friend of Frank Friedrich, Hertha Heuwer, was one of the first customers of “Maximilian“ and sold at her fast-food takeaway the “Spandau without Pelle”, first as a normal sausage with mustard with a bread roll.

The invention of Currywurst, as the combination of sausage AND sauce is now historically documented. Herta Heuwer attributed for the first time in September 1949 at her fast-food on the corner Kant-/Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße in Berlin “Our fine Spandau without Pelle” offered with her first sauce creation that at the beginning was not a success.

An idea came about through her husband, who worked for the Americans at Siemens in Berlin-Spandau then. His American colleagues loved their huge T-Bone steaks poured with huge amounts of ketchup, which obviously tasted good. That was for Hertha Heuwer the initial spark of the idea to create the Currywurst…

Currywurst_3T -Bone steak was simply too expensive for the Berlin people of the post-war period and thus she made a virtue of necessity and mixed the forerunner of the legendary sauce that was modeled with Heinz ketchup and added it to her “Spandau without Pelle” with a pinch of curry – completed this was the new  exotic creation, the Currywurst.

But not quite …

Because this first sauce mostly tasted like Heinz ketchup, she asked Frank Friedrich if he could mix her a special ketchup. He devised a recipe that took into account the spiciness and the taste of the sausage and then made it in connection with some curry powder to a real taste experience.

The Real Currywurst was born!

Currywurst_5In January 1959 Hertha had the name for her sauce, “Chillup“, as a brand protection (Munich Patent Office number 721319). The “Steak of the little man,” as she called the Currywurst jokingly , was now “official”.

Success was not long to be waited for.

With the success of the Currywurst Herta Heuwer naturally caught many snacks in Berlin to create their own curry sausages with their own sauces. This is also the reason why a Currywurst can taste very different depending on the sausage, sauce and curry.

Currywurst_4The original Currywurst is clearly a real child of Berlin and is inextricably linked with the rise of the Western sectors and West Berlin.

There is now also a museum of the Currywurst in Germany! Click the link:

6 thoughts on “A very German Speciality – The Currywurst

    1. Very nice to hear from you! It was a pleasure for me to add the link of the Currywurstmuseum to my article. Will hopefully create some more traffic on your fantastic website! Greetings from North Cyprus!

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