From Meatballs to Poor Man’s Ragout Fin – DDR Culinary Traditions

It’s been a while since the Berlin Wall fell — but the scent of DDR cuisine still permeates many of Berlin’s kitchens. Many of the city’s inhabitants still base their diets around a large number of these “delicacies”. During the DDR’s 40 years of existence, and despite large regional differences and preferences within the country, a distinctive DDR cuisine emerged. Anyone preparing a Jägerschnitzel á la DDR today will probably spend some time scratching their head (in vain) as they search through the recipe for the mushrooms that would normally make up much of the sauce. The names of DDR specialities were often identical to the names used for dishes in the West, although the food that ended up on a diner’s plate was rarely the same. Even today, most of the inhabitants in former East German regions refer to chicken from street grills as Broilers, a term foreign to most West Germans.

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image courtesy of zettberlin /

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Behind the scenes

In East Germany, art and crafts were part of a deliberate attempt to develop a collective consciousness—even if the end results were often only as beautiful as the State allowed. The collective art produced during the 1970s may eventually have disappeared from East Germany, but there is still art to be discovered in the public spaces around Strausberger Platz.

image courtesy of Andreas Tölke

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Central Berlin lottery: Winner Daphne is moving into her new home at Strausberger Platz

To live in a freshly renovated, spacious, three-room apartment at Strausberger Platz in the heart of Berlin –  for a whole year, rent free. This is exactly what 27-year-old Daphne from Haarlem near Amsterdam is now looking forward to. Daphne is the winner of our Central Berlin Apartment Lottery. Berlin-loving Daphne used her winning essay to describe exactly what makes Strausberger Platz so special to her. Competition was strong as roughly 200 people entered the lottery before the judges chose Daphne’s essay as the winner.


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