Apfelkuchen to Zimtsterne: Being Vegetarian in Germany

Dulcie Rosales-Foster headshot
Dulcie Rosales-Foster
June 30, 2023
Half of a Flammkuchen, a pizza-like food with slices of pumpkin and tomatoes on top, as well as mache

When you think about Germany, the first thing that comes to mind might be sausage. This makes sense. In the U.S. there’s plenty of meat consumed that is originally from Germany. Like Bratwurst. When I decided to study abroad in Germany, I was a bit worried about this. I’m vegetarian. Would I not be able to try traditional German food? Would I not be able to go out to eat? But when I got here, my questions were quickly answered: There’s vegetarian food EVERYWHERE! 

Turns out, Germany is considered to be the vegan capital of the world. So, there’s no shortage of veggie options. Even better, Freiburg (along with Berlin) is one of the best cities in Germany for vegetarian and vegan options. 

Every traditional German restaurant/pub in Freiburg I have been to so far have always had a meat-free alternative to popular German and Badisch dishes like Spaetzle and Flammkuchen, which are both pork-heavy dishes. In fact, in Freiburg there are a large number of restaurants that specialize in being vegetarian and vegan only. At the Muenstermarkt, a famous open-air market in the old town of Freiburg around the Muenster Cathedral, there’s even a cart called “Tofu Stand'' that sells a bunch of variations of the very popular German market food: a Wurst in a bun, and all of these sausages are made of tofu! 

As for doner kebab, a very popular Turkish food that can be found everywhere in Germany, there are multiple doner restaurants in Freiburg that specialize in selling vegan kebab, along with other vegan and vegetarian versions of Turkish cuisine. Two shops that I recommend going to can be found in the center of town at Stadttheater: Green City Doner and Veggie Liebe. 

Fast food in Germany even has tons of vegan options. Burger King already has the Impossible Whopper back in the states, but in Germany there’s tons more of different sandwiches (like a swiss Roesti-inspired one!) that are all at least vegetarian. Even McDonald’s, a fast food place I have a lot of “beef” with *sorry, bad pun), has a bunch of vegetarian and vegan things I can eat. Back in the US, the most I usually get at McDonald’s would be large fries and a McFlurry. But in Germany, they have a McPlant burger, vegan chocolate McFlurries, and even McPlant Nuggets, which can be helpful when nothing else is open in the city. 

“Hafer- oder Kuhmilch?” Was a phrase I heard a lot at cafes. I quickly saw that every cafe I went to would always have multiple milk alternatives on hand, with “Hafer”/oat milk being the most popular milk alternative in Germany. A quarter of all Germans consume alternative milks! In stores, a lot of dairy alternatives are actually cheaper than the real thing, and it’s very easy to find sweet treats and German pastries that are vegan, including Bircher Muesli, and local ice cream companies like Hof-Eis and even a local trail mix company (Freiburger Nuss Mix) make their own special vegan versions of their ice cream.

Being vegetarian has actually been easier in Germany. I rarely have to worry about there not being anything I can eat at a restaurant, and produce along with meat and dairy alternatives actually tend to be the same price or cheaper than the real deal. When you come to Germany, come to Germany with an open mind and an empty stomach! 

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Dulcie Rosales-Foster headshot

Dulcie Rosales-Foster

Hi there! I'm from Taos, New Mexico and I go to school at Westminster College, Missouri where I major in both Environmental Science and Spanish Translation. I love studying languages, thrifting, playing videogames, and reading in my free time. A fun fact about me is that I speak three languages fluently: English, French, and Spanish. But I'm working on German right now so hopefully it'll be four!

2023 Spring
Home University:
Westminster College (MO)
Environmental Studies
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