In no other city I visited or lived before was fish’s presence so overwhelming. Dominating Hamburg’s menus, it’s encountered here in every way possible. A fried herring or salmon fillet with potato wedges, a fish soup or Bismarck herring with chips — all this belongs to Hamburg just as the harbour or Elbphilharmonie. But out of all this diversity a fish sandwich or Fischbrötchen is undoubtedly Hamburg’s absolute favourite takeaway.
There is variation not only in the way the fish is served but also the premises you can enjoy them in. Depending on your budget you can taste this salty delicacy either in a luxurious Michelin-starred restaurant or at the stand outdoors.
In fact, Hamburg is scattered with countless snack stalls that distribute fish treats along with soft drinks and instant coffee. And those fish sandwiches or Fischbrötchen are must-try dishes to call yourself a real Hamburger. Surprise, surprise, indeed it’s not a juicy BBQ hamburger.
It’s also an absolute favourite when it comes to takeaways. If in Berlin the king of fast food is a döner kebab — a Turkish dish similar to a Greek gyro or Azerbaijani shawarma usually served as a sandwich or a wrap — here the show is run by fish. It even does not give way to a famous currywurst — glorious German invention of a fried pork sausage with curry sauce.
Fish sandwiches usually imply herring as the main component but you surely can come across it with other types of fish such as salmon or European sprat, too.
My top pick is a soused herring sandwich accompanied with crunchy onion rings, creamy remoulade, and fresh tomatoes. In German it is known as a Matjesbrötchen. Although Matjes or soused herring is commonly spread around the northern Germany, it originates primarily from the Netherlands. For centuries a young immature herring whose fillet tastes like heaven was a beloved dish served at the Dutch tables.
Hence, when in the Free and Hanseatic don’t miss out on your real Hamburg experience. Grab a fish sandwich, land on a bank somewhere around Landungsbrücken and enjoy the marine charm of the Elbe city.
© 2018 Elena Bubeeva, All Rights Reserved.