If you’re planning on lasting longer than one Maß (a litre of beer), you’re going to need to eat at Oktoberfest.
There’s plenty on offer, from blood sugar boosting cotton candy to salty brezn, and I’ve rounded up my favourite Oktoberfest bites:
There’s really no better way to start any day than with a pair of sausages, a Weißbier and a fresh-from-the-oven salted pretzel. The Gaststätte Gr0ßmarkthalle is one of the best places for a good Weißwurst (and just a ten minute walk to the Oktoberfest grounds). Weißwurst are Bavarian sausage, and there are rules to eating them – firstly, it’s a rookie error to eat a Weißwurst after midday (the sausage is made without preservatives, and before refrigerators, the sausages used to spoil quickly). Secondly, you need to remove the skin before you eat it – some Bavarians can do this by sucking out the sausage from the skin, I like to cut the skin lengthways and jiggle out the sausage, before dipping it in sweet mustard. It’s a hearty, filling breakfast that is guaranteed to line your stomach before a day at the Wiesn.
Half a roast chicken is my favourite Oktoberfest dish, because the skin is always so crunchy. Two friends have just protested against this statement, saying that although the skin is deliciously herby and crispy, the meat itself was (at least last year) dry and unappetising. Every year at Oktoberfest, around half a million chickens (that’s a million Hendl portions) are served up, and if you want to ensure you’re getting the best quality chicken for your money, head down to the Ammer Hendlbraterei for homemade organic roast chickens.
Ammer (who do organic roast chicken) also do fantastic crispy roast duck. Served up with a side of red cabbage and a dumpling, you’ll be fit for another Maß in no time.
Sugar roasted almonds
I always buy a bag of sugar roasted almonds (gebrannte Mandeln) on the way home. They’re an autumnal treat, and a far better sweet treat to spend your money on than a gingerbread heart (Lebkuchenherz) that says “Wiesn-Prinzessin”. Generally, the sugar-nut ratio is 1:1, which guarantees a late night sugar kick, helping to get you home.
Ox in a roll
An Ochsensemmel at the Ochsenbraterei is a typically Bavarian snack. It’s a must-eat for a traditional Oktoberfest experience. Every ox is bred especially for Oktoberfest, and each one has a name – which you can read above the grill. While the prospect of munching on ol’ Daisy might not be to everyone’s tastes, the meat is fresh, staff are friendly and portions are generous.
Pickled herring in a roll
I’ve never tried this, but a friend just passionately told me of the “Bismarckheringsemmeln”, and their power to combat any potential hangover you may have. I doubt this has been scientifically proven, but a quick Google search of “Bismarckhering gegen Kater” does reveal quite a few results. Either way, a pickled herring roll is available at many stands at the Wiesn, you won’t have too hard a time finding one.
And then of course, there are the typically Bavarian dishes at Oktoberfest – a warming portion of Kaiserschmarrn (thick and fluffy shredded pancake) with apple sauce, or pork knuckle and brown sauce, or cheesy, creamy spätzle (a kind of German macaroni cheese), and while they’re all pretty good, the above suggestions are my Oktoberfest picks. Things that taste even better at Oktoberfest than they do in any other Bavarian restaurant, and things that will help soak up that beer when you’ve had a Maß too many.