Oktoberfest food, it’s the wurst. It’s also the pretzel and the pork and the potato pancakes and a whole bunch of other foods that don’t start with –p. It’s the kind of food that makes you want to grow a beard, chop wood, and lift kegs over your head with a gusto. It’s hearty and heavy and… I don’t know if you can hendl it. ⇠ That’ll be funny in a minute, I promise.
Vegetarians, avert your eyes! Oktoberfest food is MEAT and I mean for you to hear that in the deepest voice you can conjure up in your head. To give you an idea, let’s look at Oktoberfest food statistics from Oktoberfest 2016. In just two short weeks 5.6 million people consumed:
- 109 oxen
- 58 calves
- 550,000 chickens
- 140,000+ pairs of pork sausages
- 44,000+ fish
- I guess the other 734,000+ visitors just stuck to their prescribed liquid diets.
Do you even know how far you could get on the Oregon Trail with 109 oxen? Actually, Oktoberfest food is the kind of stuff that’ll have you pulling your own covered wagon. It’s the stuff men—and women capable of carrying 12 full litre beer steins—are made of.
TRADITIONAL OKTOBERFEST FOOD OFFERINGS
Each of the Oktoberfest beer tents offers their own special take on traditional Oktoberfest food. While the selection and flavours vary slightly from tent to tent, they stray little from their true selves. Here’s a sampling of Oktoberfest food options you can expect to find during your time in the tents:
Pretzels! – Brez’n – The number one Oktoberfest food, eating by the gazillions (probably). Nothing goes better with a giant-sized beer than a salty, soft Bavarian pretzel that’s also the size of your face.
Half Chickens – Hendl – C’mon, over 550,000 people are doing it. You’ll see them behind the bars in the beer tents… thousands upon thousands of chickens spinning quietly on a rotisserie until they’re seasoned and perfectly juicy, just waiting for you to grab them by the legs and eat ‘em while dancing on a bench—the way they were meant to be enjoyed, no? Crispy half ducks are also popular.
Bratwursts – pretty sure that’s the same in German – You’ve got your weisswurst (the white ones eaten at breakfast with your morning hefeweizen), your bratwurst (which I just learned is actually its own thing), currywurst, bockwurst, leberwurst, Nuremburg wurst, and something called a Frankfurter Würstchen that is about a foot too long for the bun they serve it on.
Suckling Pigs – Spanferkel – Served so many ways: pickled, roasted, with sauce, without sauce, with bacon of course, by the leg, or maybe you want just the belly.
Oxen – ochsen – You can get your oxen roasted, boiled, in soup, and countless other ways at the Spaten beer tent, also known as the Ochsenbraterei.
Beef of all kinds – Rind – Beef stew, beefsteak, beef tartare, boiled beef, beefcake (⇠ that’s you in those lederhosen, yeeow!). You can even find burgers in some beer tents but don’t eat a burger at Oktoberfest. Maß beers don’t go with burgers; small batch craft IPAs go with burgers and this ain’t yo’ hipster cousin’s local taproom.
Wiener Schnitzel – that’s already German – Wiener Schnitzel is veal that has been beaten thin, breaded, then deep fried in butter because if it’s a delicious baby animal, it’s most likely on the list of Oktoberfest food. It’s typically served with cranberries, some kind of potato, and a heaping helping of guilt from that vegetarian you brought with you.
Pork Knuckle – Schweinshaxe – and a very large knife jammed right into the centre of it. I guess that’s where the ‘axe’ part comes from. Also, that wood chopping thing because I’m almost certain I’ve heard a hefty grunt emerge from every man staring down a pork knuckle. And it’s more of an ankle really than a knuckle… seeing as how it’s the part just above the foot and before the meaty leg region. Plus, that whole not-having-fingers thing that basically defines a hoof.
Just go ahead and add radishes and mustard to any or all of the above to make it really legit.
A beer tent at noon. Yes, some people are actually eating!
OKTOBERFEST FOOD – WHAT ELSE?
Among the long list of Oktoberfest food you’ll also find on the Wiesn:
- Smoked fish on a stick – We should have more foods on sticks.
- Potatoes in all forms – potato pancakes, potato dumplings, potato salad, and I bet you can even find potato vodka at a bar somewhere.
- Sauerkraut – as a tasty side and not a condiment because it’s that good
- Red cabbage – Also a delicious side that looks like bright purple coleslaw but tastes like candy and rainbows.
- Obatzda (creamy cheese dip) and other cheese appetizers that I often call meals
- Spätzle – It’s basically the much-superior German version of macaroni and cheese. Finally, something for the vegetarians! *As long as you remember to say “without bacon” because of course it’s covered in bacon.
THINGS TO REMEMBER ABOUT OKTOBERFEST FOOD
Now, I’ll be the first to preach about how beer is food any damn day, but at Oktoberfest, YOU SHOULD REALLY EAT FOOD. As hard as you’ll try for a liquid diet, it’s important to eat for two reasons:
- General health and staying alive – alcohol absorption and all
- IT’S GOOD. Oktoberfest food is some of the absolute best food you’ll have around the world and, really, it only takes one meal a day to fill you up.
And my last Oktoberfest food tip for you: don’t. eat. the cookies. The lebkuchenherz (the heart-shaped gingerbread cookies you wear) are adorable and sweet and actually probably say some dirty things sometimes, but what they aren’t is tasty. Food that is produced for you to wear usually lacks the quality of the foods that are produced for you to consume with your mouth. Don’t get me wrong, I’ll be the first to rip one open on the walk back to my hotel. That’s how I can bring you this advice with such confidence.
At whichever beer tent or Oktoberfest food stall you find yourself after a few litres, be sure to grab a menu and one of the best meals of your life. Take in your surroundings, prost to your neighbour, then go pull an 18-wheeler down the street just for fun. OKTOBERFEST FOOD, YASSSS!
Hungry for Oktoberfest? Tempt your taste-buds with these amazing Oktoberfest tours.
Written by Ashley Smith