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Saarland locals are known to be food enthusiasts with a cuisine that is coined by both German and French influences. While the dialect turns food menus into riddles, the peculiar names often stand for delicious, down-to-earth meals which resort to substantial ingredients such as potatoes, pork and beans. Here are the seven foods you need to try when you’re in Saarbrücken.
A glance at the food menus of Saabrücken’s traditional restaurants reveals a large number of potato dishes and dibbelabbes is without question the local favourite. Raw grated potatoes are mushed together with diced onions and chunked up dried meat, soaked bread buns, eggs, leeks and garlic to create a dough which is placed in a cast-iron oven dish and cooked for several hours. Slices of the ready meal are traditionally served with applesauce.
If you’re into potato dumplings, local restaurants have a bunch of varieties in store. If you order gefillde, you’ll be presented with fist-sized balls of raw and cooked potatoes, herbs and spices stuffed with ground beef or pork. Geheirade is a culinary composition of flour-based dumplings and boiled potatoes with a cream-and-bacon sauce, and then you have hoorische which are egg-shaped potato dumplings. All three dishes usually come with a cream-and-bacon sauce and sometimes with a side of sauerkraut.
This tongue twister is the name for the Saarland take on a dandelion salad. During springtime, the dish is found virtually on every food menu in town. The local recipe is based on the dandelion leaves which are topped with wedges of hard-boiled eggs, fried bacon chunks, shallots, croutons, and a dressing of oil, vinegar and mustard.
In southern Bavaria scalded white sausages are a popular breakfast item, Thuringians rave about their crispy fried sausages, and in Berlin, people dump their favourite snack in ketchup and sprinkle on curry powder. Saarland locals prefer the so-called Lyoner Ringwurst. The pork-and-beef sausages are either grilled or boiled and then served alongside dumplings, white bread or added to a hearty Lyoner pfanne stir fry with potatoes, onions and fried eggs.
Our list is in desperate need of a dessert item, so how about cake? The Saarbrücken favourite is a delightful plum tart. The yeast dough is baked in a cake pan, layered with thinly cut plum wedges and sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar – et voilá! Don’t be surprised if your slice of tart arrives with a bowl of green bean soup, a common traditional combination.
We’ve already mentioned bean soup above. Here, it goes by the impossible-to-pronounce name bibbelschesbohnesupp. For the recipe, green beans, potatoes, carrots, leek, winter savoury, shallots and bacon are added to a pot of water and simmered for half an hour or longer. The ready soup is then served with a dash of sour cream and, of course, a slice of quetschekuche.
A Saarland BBQ brings all kinds of culinary treats to the table. Apart from the Lyoner sausages, locals tend to grill pork steaks which often go by the name schwenkbraten and refer to the swinging grillage. The meat is soaked in a marinade of olive oil, onions, garlic, mustard, juniper berries and a bunch of spices overnight before cooked over an open charcoal flame. The juicy meat is excellent with a traditional potato salad and washed down with a chilled beer.