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The Hungry Traveller

Berlin's wurst snack Add to ...

Berlin's most visible street snack, the currywurst, is turning 60.

This grilled sausage, drowned in a ketchup-like sauce and sprinkled with curry powder, was invented in Berlin in 1949 by Herta Heuwer (though there are Hanoverians and Hamburgers who will contradict this with their own origin stories). So deep is the love for currywurst that more than 800 million are sold in Germany every year, and a new $7.8-million Currywurst Museum was built near Checkpoint Charlie to tell its story (Schützenstrasse 70; www.currywurstmuseum.com).

Berlin restaurant critic Thomas Platt called the currywurst the "the warm meal of the Cold War," partly because distinct versions evolved on each side of the Wall. Because of an intestine shortage, the East developed the "skinless sausage," which they prefer to this day. Both versions, beloved by street sweepers and supermodels alike, continue to be celebrated in song, literature and TV. And you can always befriend a local by baiting him into talking about how the European Union's obsessive health and safety rules are killing the very idea of sausage.

Street versions can be had for less than two euros - with Konnopke's Imbiss, under the Eberswalderstrasse S-Bahn train station, generally getting the highest ratings.

A posher version will set you back $26 - or $50 with a glass of champagne - at Hotel Adlon ( www.hotel-adlon.de), with its view of Brandenburg Gate and its history as the place where Michael Jackson dangled his baby over the balcony.

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