Munich: The Bavarian Culinary Trail

Home to the world's largest beer festival, Oktoberfest, Munich is where you must go for a Bavarian repast
Oktoberfest Bratwurst
Oktoberfest BratwurstWikimedia Commons

Munich, the capital of Germany's Bavarian region is not only a feast for the eyes but a gourmet delight too. Roam among the city's Baroque and Rococo architecture, lush parks, museums and historic venues such as Schloss Nymphenburg and in between stop at the lively beer gardens to sample the unique Bavarian cuisine.

But it is not easy to browse through the diversity of Bavarian cuisine in a space of a two to three days of visit. To make your task easy, we bring you the top five dishes that first time visitors to Munich must experience.

Schweinshaxe, or roasted pig knuckle
Schweinshaxe, or roasted pig knuckleFlickr

The German dish Schweinshaxe or roasted pig knuckle is particularly popular in Bavaria. The attached skin on the outside of the Schweinshaxe is crackly while the meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. It is served with an enormous potato dumpling. Be a Municher and savour the delicious pork juice that fills up your plate at the end.

Spaetzle is the German alternative to noodles. Resembling tiny chewy dumplings, it is often served with cheese, topped with fried shallots or accompanied by bacon. Try a Spaetzle and holler at the top of your lungs, 'Ich möchte Spätzle' (I want to eat Spaetzle).

The Weisswurst, plump white veal and herb sausages, are an archetypal Munich delicacy. A part of the unofficial holy trinity of the Bavarian capital, this dish is often enjoyed with beer and Gemtlichkeit. Loved by some and loathed by others, the sausages are to be plucked from the steaming tureen of hot water they are served in.

German Pretzels
German PretzelsFlickr

Pretzels may have originated in the European monasteries of the Early Middle Ages, and been an integral part of German baking traditions for centuries. But in Bavaria it has taken a real twist. No fancy paper sleeves to pack the hearty doughy Bavarian pretzels. Instead they are handed over in giant wooden baskets along with a few steins of beer. Tear into one with your bare teeth.

Schnitzel is a slab of hammered meat that is dipped in batter and fried afterwards, making it crispy with a golden crust.

In case you are running short of time and do not know where to go for a local meal, here are four popular restaurants that will offer you quintessential Bavarian cuisine.

Schnitzel: a batter fried delight
Schnitzel: a batter fried delightFlickr

The very cosy Tiroler Stuben with a bar is where people meet for business lunches, coffee and apple strudel, and informal dinners with Augustiner beer poured fresh from the tap. The place serves authentic, top-quality Bavarian food including the pink fried duck breast on plum butter with homemade Schupfnudeln and cabbage. The cosy restaurant garden, ornamented with 300 year-old trees and 250 seats, has already won several accolades.

At Augustiner am Dom, nature pure cooking means serving top quality regional products in an unadulterated and time-honoured fashion. Chef Erwin Reusch uses local produce, such as fresh brown trout from nearby Aumhle in the Isar valley and ducks from the Lugederhof farm. He also serves Augustiner's own grainy mustard and Schmutzer's fiery red roast sausages. There is also Würzburg Whiskey meat loaf from the grill with mountain cheese. In addition, the chefs create delicious meals with organically raised lamb from the Paradieswinkel at Lake Wörthsee.

The Nürnberger Bratwurst Glöckl opened more than 130 years ago in an area that was first mentioned in a document dating back to 1390, making it older than the Cathedral itself. The two Glöckl landlords, Jürgen Morawek and Bernd Mencner, placed an unusual specialty at the top of the menu - the grilled sausages- that were freshly prepared every day by the restaurant's own butcher and grilled over an open beach wood fire. Often paired with cold Augustiner beer, the grilled sausages produce a wonderfully tasty experience. They are served with sauerkraut and fresh horseradish in keeping with tradition.

Germany's favourite drink, beer
Germany's favourite drink, beerFlickr

Bavarian delicacies take on a different meaning when had at the Michaeligarten, an expansive and tranquil garden by the lake. The restaurants rustic Cedar Room (Zirbelstube) or the comfortable arbour offer Michaeligarten's guests a suitable setting for a whole range of events from weddings to official parties. A visit to the restaurant in the Michaeligarten can be perfectly combined with an excursion into the East Park, as its wide meadow valley offers plenty of space for walking, cycling and inline skating.

And if you feel you need to work off all the calorie you may have eaten, remember Munich is just an hour's drive from the snow-crusted Alps.

Getting there

All international airports in India offer direct flights to Munich International Airport. You will require a Standard Visitor Visa or a Schengen Visa, since Germany is part of the European Union and Schengen Zone.

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