Currywurst (top) lightly topped with curry and served with French fries
Type Bratwurst
Place of origin Germany
Created by Herta Heuwer
Serving temperature hot
Main ingredients Pork sausage, curry ketchup
Cookbook: Currywurst  Media: Currywurst

Currywurst (German pronunciation: [ˈkœʁiˌvʊɐ̯st][1]) is a fast food dish of German origin consisting of steamed, then fried pork sausage (German: Bratwurst) typically cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste, itself topped with curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup seasoned with curry and other spices. The dish is often served with French fries.


The invention of currywurst is attributed to Herta Heuwer in Berlin in 1949, after she obtained ketchup (or possibly Worcestershire sauce) and curry powder from British soldiers in Germany.[2][3] She mixed these ingredients with other spices and poured it over grilled pork sausage. Heuwer started selling the cheap but filling snack at a street stand in the Charlottenburg district of Berlin, where it became popular with construction workers rebuilding the devastated city. She patented her sauce under the name "Chillup" in 1951.[3] At its height the stand was selling 10,000 servings per week.[4] She later opened a small restaurant which operated until 1974.[5] On 30 June 2013 Heuwer's 100th birthday was celebrated with a Google Doodle.[6]

Today, currywurst is often sold as a take-out/take-away food, Schnellimbisse (snack stands), at diners or "greasy spoons," on children's menus in restaurants, or as a street food and usually served with french fries or bread rolls (Brötchen). It is popular all over Germany but especially in the metropolitan areas of Berlin, Hamburg and the Ruhr Area. Considerable variation, both in the type of sausage used and the ingredients of the sauce, occurs between these areas. Common variations include the addition of paprika or chopped onions. Often currywurst is sold in food booths, sometimes using a special machine to slice it into pieces, and served on a paper plate with a little wooden or plastic fork, mostly a Currywurst fork.[7] It is also sold as a supermarket-shelf product to prepare at home, such as Meica CurryKing.

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum estimates that 800 million currywursts are eaten every year in Germany, with 70 million in Berlin alone.[8][9][10] The Volkswagen plant at Wolfsburg runs its own butchery producing 3.5 million currywursts per year, serving 1.6m to Volkswagen employees.[11][12]

The currywurst is an icon of German popular culture. Former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder is a noted fan of currywurst.[13] By tradition, every candidate for the mayor of Berlin is photographed at a currywurst stand.[14]

The song "Currywurst" on Herbert Grönemeyer's 1982 album Total Egal is a tribute to the snack.[15]

The 1993 novel Die Entdeckung der Currywurst (English title: "The Invention of Curried Sausage", ISBN 978-0811212977) by Uwe Timm was made into a 1998 play and a 2008 film both of the same name. The plot is based on an alternative but unproven theory that currywurst was invented in Hamburg.

The Deutsches Currywurst Museum opened in Berlin on 15 August 2009, commemorating the 60th anniversary of its creation.[4][10] Curator Martin Loewer said "No other national German dish inspires so much history and has so many well-known fans".[16] The museum receives approximately 350,000 visitors annually.

See also


  1. Duden, Curry. Accessed 2013-06-30
  2. Slackman, Michael (2011-01-26). "National Dish Comes Wrapped in Foreign Flavoring". The New York Times.
  3. 1 2 Paterson, Tony (2009-08-15). "Spicy sausage that is worthy of a shrine in Berlin". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  4. 1 2 "Honoring the best of the Wurst of German Cuisine". Deutsche Welle. 2009-08-15.
  5. Kessler, Roman (2009-08-27). "The Craze Over Currywurst". Wall Street Journal.
  6. Herta Heuwer's 100th Birthday
  7. "A Food Lover's Guide to Berlin". Condé Nast. 12 November 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  8. Horenburg, Berit (23 August 2002). "Hau wech". Motorrad. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  9. "Data and Facts" (PDF) (Press release). Deutsches Currywurst Museum. September 2013. Archived from the original (PDF) on 29 October 2013. Retrieved 23 October 2013.
  10. 1 2 "10 Things We Learned at Berlin's Museum Dedicated to Currywurst". Condé Nast. 17 December 2014. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  11. Hall, Allan (2003-11-15). "VW wants its bangers on menu". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 2013-05-05.
  12. pdf, German
  13. "Sausage Museum Celebrates Berliners' Romance With Currywurst". Bloomberg. 2009-08-13.
  14. Boyes, Roger (2009-08-15). "Berlin dedicates museum to street-corner snack of wurst cuisine". London: Times Online. Retrieved 2010-04-30.
  15. Grönemeyer, Herbert. "Currywurst" (in German). Archived from the original on 6 January 2013. Retrieved 26 November 2009.
  16. "German cult sausage gets own museum". Reuters. 2009-08-13.

Further reading

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