Let me start off by saying that this wasn't much of a challenge. Because I only had Currywurst three times while I was in Berlin. If you're going to really do a taste-off, I'd want to see….I don't know…five attempts? Seven? Three seems like a "junior challenge." But three it was.
Firstly, some definitions. What is currywurst, you ask? According to Wikipedia, Currywurst is…
a German national dish consisting of hot pork sausage (German: Wurst) cut into slices and seasoned with curry sauce (regularly consisting of ketchup or tomato paste blended with curry) and generous amounts of curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup-based sauce seasoned with curry and other spices.
When done right, it's the perfect little snack. (Currywurst is normally served cut up in small pieces.) The first time I had currywurst, I was 19 years old and in Salzburg, Austria at Augustiner Brau. I walked up to one of their food stands, asked the guy what he'd recommend (as is still my habit), and he promptly made me up a plate of currywurst. (This, despite me being hundreds of miles away from the home of currywurst in Berlin.)
Many, many years later, with a week in Berlin, I planned try the national dish multiple times.
My first stop during my Eat the World tour of Berlin–the Neuland Imbiss (Oranienplatz 2. 10999). This was on the edge of Kreuzburg, and it was a nice "bio" (organic) stand, run by a cheerful older woman. She made us up a huge plate of currywurst to share. (That the sharing platter in the lead photo.)
It was good. But lukewarm. And it tasted more like a hot dog with ketchup than the deep flavor and spiciness I remembered from that first time back in Austria.
Schönhauser Allee 44a
Lucky for me, this one was right up the street from my German class and on my way to the U-Bahn. I passed it every day at lunch and ignored its siren's song. Until my Day of Currywurst on Thursday. Where I had some. And it was okay. Again, lukewarm. And like a hot dog with ketchup. There was a light dusting of curry powder, but not enough to keep me going. Konnopke sells the East Berlin version of Currywurst, which is "ohne Darm." That means there's no casing on the pork. (No money back in those days.) This left me peckish aftewards.
After my disappointment at Konnopke's, I made my way straight to Witty's, conveniently located across from Berlin's biggest department store, KaDeWe. (Who loves shopping? I do, I do!) Witty's is another "Bio" Imbiss–all organic. Here, there was a huge queue. A good sign? I placed my order, with chips this time, and I bought an organic beer too. It took a bit longer to prepare than my last two stops, which I also took as a good sign. Hopefully, I wouldn't be served anything that had been sitting around for a while.
Eventually, I'm handed my currywurst and chips and it's all VERY HOT. Super-hot. I drop my stuff quickly onto one of the little Imbiss tables and dig in. HEAVEN. The currywurst is dense and just the right bit crispy on the outside with great, deep flavors. Although currywurst will always be vaguely hot dog-like, this is intense, meaty meat with a nice snap to the casing. There's just enough currypowder to give it a kick–although I still could have used a bit more. Ah, and the chips are great. Fresh. And I've taken the server's recommendation of adding garlic sauce and chili sauce.
The Verdict: Within my small sample size of three, I'd definitely say Witty's was my favorite. Good people watching too, and you can hop over to the 6th floor of KaDeWe for some more foodie fun when you're done. Good times. Very good times.