Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Knuckle. Sausage. Beer. (1)

Pork knuckles, sausages and beer.

All three of the above, you could have guessed where I have been for the past week.

Everyone that I have asked, who has been to that country, said that I must try sausages, pork knuckles and beer there!

The beautiful country of Germany! We visited Berlin, Frankfurt and Cologne during this trip. All three cities are very beautiful and unique with their own characteristics and identities.

However, all three cities offer very similar food with the common ones being the various '-wurst' (sausages), beers and pork knuckles.

In all German cities you go to, you will most definitely find shops or cafe selling various kinds of breads with different fillings. 

I am going to introduce the food we tried according to the cities we visited. 



The above photo shows a shop selling breads and wine in Berlin, called Lindner, situated right outside a shopping arcade in Postdamer Platz. This shop looks more posh compared to other shops selling similar products, therefore pricier, although the food is worth every euro we spent.

The above photo shows our daily breakfast or lunch consisting of bread filled with salami, lettuce, boiled egg and sun-dried tomato. In some days we also had different types of breads with different fillings! Very lovely and crunchy bread with very healthy fillings that included lots and lots of vegetables!

I noticed from several travel guidebooks about Germany that most of the restaurants there offer international food. I could not believe it until I saw it for myself when we arrived in Berlin!

We found a place called Asian Snack in Alexanderplatz train station and decided to have a quick dinner there as it was getting late, and more importantly, we were very hungry!

Vietnamese style deep fried duck with noodles

The deep fried duck was absolutely delicious. Perfectly deep fried producing very crispy skin and juicy meat! Not bad at all for a snack bar and I must commend the generous portion they serve!

Sesame Pork Rice

The sesame pork rice was also nicely cooked and tasted very homely! A very balanced diet with pork meat, long beans, green vegetable, bamboo shoots and some mushrooms, very nice served with lovely rice.

For lunch the next day, we decided to search for this particular restaurant recommended by DK's travel guidebook to Germany. The book recommended this restaurant for its traditional German dishes in a nice atmosphere.

We walked several blocks in search of it, and believe me, do not always trust what the book recommends!

Grilled fish with potatoes

First of all, the fish I ordered was very expensive and very over-cooked! The fish meat was so soft that it crumbled as soon as the fork touched it, moreover, the fried bacon on top was way too salty!

Californian pineapple chicken rice

Secondly, does Californian pineapple chicken rice sound German to you? Even though this dish was served with asparagus soup and were not that expensive as it was part of a 3-course lunch offer, I was expecting better value for money!

So, lesson learnt - do not always trust the guidebooks and go where the local goes. (Hint: when you see lots of local people in the restaurant, get in there!)

However, all was not lost when we found this lovely pub-restaurant by the River Spree (where we saw many locals!).

German  Beer and Spirit

The refreshing beer and strong spirit came with the boiled pork knuckle dish! Looking at the thick layer of fatty skin, I guess that's why they included the spirit in the meal.

Boiled pork knuckle, Berlin style, only found in Berlin. The knuckle had quite a heavy 'porky' taste as it was boiled, hence dollops of mustard sauce was served with it. Quite a nice dish!

Boiled Pork Knuckle

The first sausage that I had in Berlin was a Currywurst - sausage with curry ketchup, in a bun. Very delicious, so delicious that I forgotten to take a photo!

In the photo below, was the traditional Bratwurst with sauerkraut and potatoes I ordered at the pub. A rather delightful meal with tasty sausage, nice soft potatoes and perfectly pickled sauerkraut!


Because we had so much meat, we decided to be a bit healthier and went to the supermarket to buy some yoghurt! What better brand to buy if not German's very own Muller yoghurt? We can get Muller yoghurt in the UK, but I must say, there are more varieties and flavours of Muller's in Germany and they do taste much better!

Muller Strawberry Yoghurt
Muller Hazelnut Yoghurt

Yoghurt is readily available in most supermarkets. Different brands, flavours and types of yoghurt can be found there!

We found this very nice and fragrant hazelnut flavoured yoghurt which tasted almost like you were having hazelnut chocolate!

Muller Passion Fruit and Mango Yoghurt

We also had these yoghurt with passion fruit or mango jelly on top and they tasted very refreshing when mixed together!

Not a very good start with food in Berlin, but it did become better and better.

Next stop, Frankfurt am Main - German financial district.

As soon as we exited Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (train station), we walked right into the Thursday market on a street not far away. We checked into our hotel then made a beeline to the store selling bratwurst and currywurst!

I suppose not all sausages in German are nice?! We bought a chicken and a pork sausage and they both had a very strong 'porky' taste to it! Maybe it was the way these sausages were processed or they just lacked proper sauces?!

After that experience, we decided to play it a little bit safer and went into another local pub next to our hotel.

Pork Escalope with various mushrooms

The pork escalope cooked with a sauce made of many types of mushrooms was absolutely delicious! The meat was cooked just nice and tender and of course the skinny fries were very crispy and delicious!

Grilled pork knuckle

And of course we ordered a pork knuckle, and this time it was grilled. Grilled pork knuckle is even more delicious than the boiled one we had in Berlin! It was filled with flavours and went really well with the sauerkraut and mashed potatoes!

Yes, oh yes, we went to another Asian restaurant. This one in Frankfurt is opened by a Malaysian! So we thought we would give it a try since we felt we had too much meat (pork)!

Thai Iced Lemon Tea

I thought that the Thai iced lemon tea was worth a mention as it was really refreshing and very authentic, just like the one we have back in Asia!

Cantonese style fried meehoon

The Cantonese style fried meehoon was very tasty and had my favourite roasted pork belly! Nicely done with lots of shredded vegetables and prawns. Thumbs up for authentic Asian food in Frankfurt!

Wantan and fishball soup

We also had the wantan and home-made fish balls noodle soup. The fish balls were really well made and chewy although we would have like a bit more of them in the bowl!

Sweet potato dessert

The complimentary sweet potato dessert with coconut milk was really nice. Therefore a very nice end to a meal!

Below are several more examples of German bakery we had during our trip in Frankfurt. All delicious and healthy, just nice for lunch!

Chicken nugget in bread

Football Bun

Pork rib meat in bun

On the bus tour, the audio guide mentioned a local speciality namely the apple wine. This alcohol beverage has a lower tax than other alcohol beverages at is was more popular due to its lower caloric count compared to other drinks.  It tastes like a lighter version of normal beers and was supposed to taste sweeter after your first glass.

Apple wine

Before we headed to Cologne, we had to give the Frankfurt sausage another go, and this time, we were not disappointed!


The bratwurst (sausage) we ordered was indeed like the frankfurters you can find in the supermarkets in the UK! Very nice with a big dollop of tomato ketchup.


Off to Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany. (In Part 2)

Knuckle. Sausage. Beer. (2)

Cologne, the fourth largest city in Germany.

A very beautiful city with the famous Koln Dom (Cologne Cathedral) dominating its beautiful skyline!

Koln Dom

On our first night in Cologne, we had dinner at this pub-restaurant near the River Rhine.

Pilsner - beer

The grilled pork knuckle was really nice and had a very crisp, thick skin. Yum yum (just do not think about the cholesterol!). This dish had a twist to it, it was not served with the usual potato, but was served with dumplings, like those we had in Prague!

Grilled Pork Knuckle with dumplings

We also ordered the beef goulash which came with a cake-like bread, also very similar to those we had in Prague!

Both dishes were very nicely cooked and had lots of flavours.

Beef goulash

For lunch the next day, we wandered into another shop selling 'wurst' (sausages).
The nice lady kindly explained to us what was in the various sausages they had in the shop. We learnt that they had pork (called meisterwurst), beef and chicken sausages but they sold out of the traditional bratwurst.

I went for the currywurst - pork sausage diced and served with gravy with curry powder. A very nice dish and the lady even gave us extra portion of chips!

Curry wurst and Kolsch (beer)

A very common way of having bratwurst is in bun and with sauce of your choice. The sausage we had in crunchy bun and tomato ketchup was simple but very delicious!

Bratwurst in bun

Another popular local delicacy that I have not mentioned is the Pretzels! One can find pretzels anywhere in a German city and they offer either hard (biscuit-like) or soft (bun-like) pretzels.

Shop selling pretzels

The pretzel we bought from the shop above was the hard biscuit-like variety. It had lots of almond slices and chocolate on the surface, it has a very nice crunch to it but also very sweet!

Almond and chocolate pretzel

From the same shop, we also had the grilled tomato flavoured bread with lots of olives on top. A very nice breakfast!

Olive on bread

As I have mentioned in the previous post, many places in Germany offer international cuisine, and this time we opted for Italian. The restaurant we went to seemed to be operated by Italians.

Spaghetti Bolognese and pizza

We had spaghetti bolognese and cheese,tomato & salami pizza. Well executed dishes, looked and tasted very similar to Italian dishes we had in our previous Italy trip.

Below are more of the sandwiches we had in Cologne. As you can see, they were made of many different types of breads and had different fillings. All very tasty and balanced!

Ham, salad and egg sandwich
Roast turkey pieces and sun-dried tomato sandwich

In conclusion, Germans do consume a lot of pork, bread and of course BEER!

A very interesting trip and we were stuffed with meat! Time to do some exercise and have a healthier diet!

Monday, 2 May 2011

The Best Duck with Plum Sauce


The best duck with plum sauce I ever had! Home cooked by my mom who is visiting from Malaysia.

Duck with plum sauce by mom

Crispy skin, juicy and succulent meat. Sweetness and slight citrus of plum sauce cutting into the rich meatiness of the duck. Absolutely mouth-watering!!!!!! So nice served with white rice that we could almost have one bowl of rice after another!

Duck with plum sauce

Very easy to make according to my mom.

All you need to do is marinate a whole duck with dark soya sauce then shallow/deep fry before adding the plum sauce in to shimmer until cooked.

Yum! Mom's home-cooked food is always the best!