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Best Wurst connects cultures

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Best Wurst connects cultures
By Dr. Rebekka Volmer

“Bratwurst” is the first thing I hear, when I say that I am from Germany. The mouthwatering fried roll of salted and spiced pork meat, is, in fact, popular street food in Germany. There is no barbeque without bratwurst – even the vegans have developed their version of “Bratwurst” to keep the culture going.

But sausages are not originally a German dish. Clay tablets from Babylon give some fragmentary information about chopped meat filled in a goat’s stomach proving this practice was established about 2000 BC.

The sausage itself is the idea of meat without waste: Leftovers like blood, intestines and smaller meat parts are filled together with salt and spices into intestine casings. In this way, nothing is wasted, and leftovers are conserved for the future – especially in case of smoking, salting or fermenting of sausages. Thus, sausages can be found in all cultures all over the world.

Filipinos also love sausages. The chorizo is a smoked sausage and was brought to the Philippines by the Spaniards. We can still find it in many supermarkets and it is often offered on buffets. Similarly, the hotdog is a typical product from the US. However, the longganisa recipes in the Philippines are all unique. Thus, it is highly doubted that longganisa was introduced to the Philippines by the Spaniards and more likely that the word was simply taken from the Spanish language. The sausage must have been part of the cultures before and single recipes are simply expressing the variation of culture in the Philippines

The Philippine longganisa is not smoked or fermented and needs to be fried before we put it together with Sinangag and itlog on our breakfast plate. Recipes vary from region to region –Alaminos, Pangasinan is famous for the recado or garlicky type of longganisa typically separated by sticks made of coconut leaf midribs, while the delectable red balls of goodness from Cebu are giving an example of hamonado or sweet type of longganisa.

The German Bratwurst and the Philippine longganisa have a lot of things in common.  The word “Brat” refers to the word “braten” which means to fry but also “finely chopped meat” in the old high German spoken in the 13th century. The bratwurst as the longganisa both are fresh and need to be fried spreading mouthwatering and delicious aromas.  Pig is the animal when it comes to the choice of meat in both the Philippines and Germany, as well as the bratwurst and longganisa. Last but not least we can also find the regional variation in recipes of bratwurst and longganisa.

The oldest known bratwurst is said to be from Franconia: the delicious Nürnberger Bratwurst  – a small version of Bratwurst with very fine minced meat and more decently amounts of marjoram and salt. In contrast, the Thuringian prepare larger bratwurst with rougher filling, spiced by pepper, caraway, marjoram, and sometimes garlic. They even have a “unique” ritual of preparing – it is a doctrine they dilute with beer while the sausages are still on the grill to finalize their deliciousness. Although mustard is finishing the taste to perfection, in some regions mustard and any relish is a strict taboo – for a pure bratwurst flavour.

Germany is actually strong in the development of new technologies, according to Dr Bodo Goerlich, Vice President of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Inc. (GPCCI). The German drive for efficient systems is also making the rapid mass transportation from North Avenue to Taft Avenue possible in the Philippines. Every single MRT commuter experience this part of the German culture daily.

However, if you mention Germany, the bratwurst is still popping up in our minds. Food is so essential and a deep expression of our culture. The technologies of Germans are aiming for precision and efficiency – so it is the sausage. The sausage is an efficient and systematic process of using everything of the butchered animal and on top preparing for the future. Different than the transportation system which we associate with the stressful journey to our job, the sausage brings up memories of happiness. Moments when we gathered with friends and family to have a barbeque with beer and sausages. No matter if it is the German bratwurst or the longganisa pulutan – Germans and Filipinos simply love to be with their loved ones and this deeply connects both cultures. 

If you want to try the original Bratwurst you should not miss the opportunity of the upcoming Mabuhay GermanyTM taking place on the 25th and 26th of May at Bonifacio High Street Central.  This event will feature the most comprehensive display of German goods, services, innovation, tradition and culture – and will give you a German bratwurst experience!


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