Here’s what to expect in terms of food when you travel in Germany.
Frühstück commonly consists of bread, toast, and/or bread rolls (the term for which varies a lot by region) with jam (Marmelade or Konfitüre) or honey, eggs, and strong coffee or tea (milk, cocoa or juice for children). Deli meats, such as ham, salted meats and salami, are also commonly eaten on bread in the morning, as are various cheeses. A variety of meat-based spreads such as Leberwurst (literally “liver-sausage”) can be found during breakfast as well. Muesli (Müsli) and cereals such as cornflakes are also popular.
Traditionally, the main meal of the day has been lunch (Mittagessen), eaten around noon. Vegetables are often eaten in stews or vegetable soups, but can also be served as a side dish. Carrots, turnips, spinach, peas, beans, and many types of cabbage are very common. Noodles are usually thicker than Italian pasta and often contain egg yolk. Especially in the south-western part of the country, the predominant variety of noodles is Spätzle which contain a very large amount of yolk. Besides noodles, potatoes and dumplings (Klöße or Knödel) are very common, especially in the south.
Abendessen or Abendbrot is usually a smaller meal, often consisting only of a variety of breads and meats, similar to breakfast, or possibly sandwiches. However, in Germany, as in other parts of Europe, dining habits have changed over the last 50 years. Today, many people eat only a small meal in the middle of the working day and enjoy a hot dinner in the evening at home with the whole family. Nevertheless, the traditional way is still rather common, especially in rural areas.
Most cafes and restaurants will offer daily specials, which commonly come with a side dish such as a salad or similar. If you are interested in something lighter, most bakeries (Bäckerei) and oftentimes butcher shops (Metzgerei) offer prepared sandwiches. Last but not least grocery stores are a good option; you can get bread, cheese and cured meats and prepare your own sandwiches. Groceries, butcher shops and bakeries are commonly open from 9 a.m. through 6 p.m. Some smaller shops might take a break between noon and 3 p.m. Lunches are commonly served from 11.30 a.m. till 1 p.m. and dinners starting at about 6 p.m. as late as 9 p.m., depending on the type of restaurant and whether you are in a smaller town or village or a major city.
Germany currently boasts 334 Michelin Star rated restaurants! For culinary explorations on your own, you might like Bon Appetit’s article.