You might think it weird for us as vegetarians to visit a „Wurst museum“ – a museum that is dedicated to a specific variety of German sausage. But we went out of curiosity rather than of culinary interest, and it promised some undemanding diversion in an otherwise busy writing day.
As one would expect, there is not much actually to see in such a museum in terms of "original art work" or artefacts – it is more like an entertaining read plus hands-on activities loosely grouped around the Currywurst theme. Currywurst is a fried pork sausage cut up into slices, seasoned with a curry-tomato sauce, and topped with curry powder. It is served either with a bun or with French Fries (by the way we also went to the French Fries museum in Bruges, which might well warrant another independent blog post – see also Chocolate, waffles and fries). Currywurst is such a famous fast food in Berlin that people visit explicitly to taste it, and guided Currywurst tours are offered here. Berlin is where the Currywurst was allegedly invented, but the dish is also widespread in the West German Ruhr district. A novel by the German author Uwe Timm even claims Hamburg as the birthplace of the Currywurst.
Most widely acknowledged as inventor of the yummy snack, however, is Herta Heuwer, a street stall vendor in Berlin in the after-war years. As there was no mustard available to be sold along with the traditional Bratwurst, she experimented with other ingredients she could get hold on. Then-exotic curry powder was among them, as she was operating in the British sector (imagine what she would have done with Mayonnaise in the French sector or vodka from the Russians....). She mixed tomato sauce and several other ingredients and came up with a new kind of sausage dish that quickly became a top seller. Herta Heuwer kept the recipe for her curry sauce forever a secret, but she revealed as much as never to use ketchup but always concentrated tomato paste as a base.
We quite enjoyed the many hands-on features in the museum. Some were educational, like a spice-smelling riddle in the Spice Room. Curry is made out of 16 different spices, five of which you are to recognise by sniffing – quite difficult, it turned out. Others are just fun, like the computer-based game where you have to prepare different orders of Currywurst as fast as you can. There is a Currywurst street stall you can pose in, a comfy sofa in the shape of a giant Currywurst, and giant French fries to carry around.
We are a bit reluctant to admit it, but we really had fun at the Currywurst Museum. At the end we got a small portion of the real thing in a paper cup. And yes, there was also a vegan version on offer. The guy behind the counter took two suspiciously looking longish things wrapped in aluminium foil out of a cupboard (some sort of oven, we realized later), cut them into slices and drowned them in tomato sauce („classic“ and „chilli“). By far the most disappointing part of the museum – we've had tastier vegan Currywurst.
Schützenstr.70 (near Checkpoint Charlie)
Open daily 10–18 h, entrance fee for adults 11 Euro