Weißwurst, Bratwurst, Schweinebraten: Germany’s cuisine is known as good and robust – and also as very meat-based. When it comes to traditional dishes, it is not always easy to find something suitable for vegans or vegetarians in Germany.
But besides the lack of meatless meals, there is a growing number of vegetarians and vegans in the country. Even without eating meat, you don’t have to starve in Germany – although it isn’t always easy.
Hidden meat-base dishes
When it comes to traditional German meals, you will soon notice that meat is often an essential ingredient. Even if you don’t see it at first sight, many foods do contain a certain amount of meat, like soups or the so-called Eintopf which is available in many different styles. So beware of hidden meat when you are planning to have a typical German dinner and better ask for it if you are in a restaurant.
Thus most of the restaurants in Germany do have at least a few vegetarian dishes, but especially smaller ones in rural areas might have not. A durable alternative, in this case, is just to order some “Beilagen” (side-dishes). For example, if you are in Franconia, “Kloß mit Soß,” i.e. dumplings with brown sauce, is a popular meatless alternative not only for children but also for vegetarians. Also, Spätzle can be a very satisfying main-dish. Try some Käsespätzle – Spätzle with onions and lots of cheese. Besides this, many of the sweet dishes of the traditional German cuisine are suitable for vegetarians, for example, Kaiserschmarrn or Dampfnudeln. In northern Germany, old-school food does, of course, often contain fish in some kind. If you are a pescetarian, you won’t have any problems.
When it comes to veganism, it gets a bit more complicated because traditional food mostly contains milk or eggs in certain amounts. In this case, you should just be slightly more aware, but you might find yourself some satisfying food to enjoy.
Veganism and Vegetarianism on the Rise
Vegetarianism and veganism are disproportionately large popular among educated persons. That is why you can find very suitable vegetarian restaurants or those offering vegetarian alternatives in bigger cities. Even many meat-biased restaurants like those offering burgers will have something without a touch of an animal. Universities and higher schools are always a good indicator for a more or less distinctive vegetarian community, in every cafeteria, students will get at least one meatless meal. That’s also the reasons why you won’t have any problems to find something that suits you in the major cities of Germany, also if you are vegan.
Vegetarian and Vegan Street Food
But what about a quick snack on the streets? The real Germans like Bratwurst, Fischbrötchen or Currywurst are not the right choice, but the all-time favorite street food of Germany is Döner. Although Döner usually contains meat, you can always have a vegetarian variation with cheese. Other healthy alternatives at the Döner-stand are Falafel or Halloumi. You can see, even if you are vegetarian or vegan, you don’t have to suffer in Germany. But sometimes, you’ll just have to be a bit more patient.