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How the Europeans Do Fast Food

By: Sarah Clark (ILEX) - Updated: 7 Oct 2012 | comments*Discuss
Fast Food Sausage Frite French Fries

Fast Food varies across Europe but much of it seems to be fairly sausage-centric, as this perennially popular hot snack is easy to prepare and tasty to eat. Most of these snacks are available on street stands and in small snack bars in the countries of Northern Europe, although in most cases they also have all the major fast food chains to choose from, and the examples below are just regional specialities that are worth tasting if you’re out and about.

Austria’s Fast Foods

Austrian fast food revolves around the Würstelstand, or sausage stand, which also sells fries, and occasionally burgers. It’s a sausage lover’s heaven with many different types of sausage (or wurst) including the Frankfurter, Bratwurst and Burenwurst. More unusual choices are Currywurst, and a sausage filled with blobs of molten cheese.

Fast Food in Belgium

Fast food in Belgium usually means fried potato - frites or French fries. They are usually served in paper cones and garnished with mayonnaise, bearnaise or curry sauce. Apart from the potato snacks, the most popular Belgian fast food delicacy is a delicious Belgian waffle. Visit one of the many outdoor markets and you’ll find stalls baking them...

Fast Food Denmark Style

Burger or Grill Bars in Denmark abound, and you’ll usually find burgers, hot dogs and sometimes pizza. The ubiquitous fast food place in Denmark, is the pølsevogn (or the sausage wagon), where you can sample different types of sausage including the famed red sausages (røde pølser) which are traditionally served on a small, rectangular paper plate along with a side order of bread, and a ketchup, Danish remoulade sauce and mustard. You simply dip the sausage, and bread, into the sauce. Other delicacies include ristede onions – just fried onion rings.

Germany’s Snack Delicacies

Head for one of the typical German Imbiss or Schnellimbiss stalls and you’ll find a selection of little treats to keep you going. Again, the sausage rules in German fast food land, and there are plenty to choose from here. Bockwurst is otherwise known as the Frankfurter, and is a big favourite. There are quite literally hundreds of variations on sausage to choose from, including Bratwurst – fried sausage; Currywurst –sliced and served with a dollop of curry ketchup.

Other carnivorous but non-sausage items available at a German snack bar include Frikadelle –a kind of home-made hamburger or rissole, which are sometimes served with Nudelsalat (pasta salad) or Krautsalat (a type of mayonnaise-free coleslaw)

Roast chicken, or Hähnchen is sold as fast food, usually well seasoned with paprika and salt, and eaten with fries.

Germans also like their Döner Kebabs –slices of veal, lamb or chicken served in a Pitta bread with onions, cabbage, tomato and a kebab sauce.

The Netherlands

The Dutch like their potato as much as some nations enjoy their sausage, a fast food meal in The Netherlands will usually include French fries, called friet or patat, accompanied with sauce and sometimes a sausage or burger. Mayonnaise is very popular served with chips, but there’s usually a choice that includes things like ketchup or spiced ketchup, peanut sauce and piccalilli. The most famous chip/sauce combo is the speciaal: it consists of mayonnaise, ketchup and onions. Another favourite is the oorlog: mayonnaise and peanut sauce. Meat accompaniments include the frikandel (deep fried sausage), or kroket (fried meat ragout in breadcrumbs).

In bars you might get a bitterbal, a smaller, snack version of the kroket which is served with mustard. Fish is another favourite snack food – kibbeling (deep fried chunks of cod), rollmops and smoked eel.


The Poles are partial to Zapiekanki – which is a bit like a pizza and comprises a long baguette, which is sprinkled with chopped mushrooms, meaty toppings and cheese and then heated to melt the cheese. It’s then served up with a liberal amount of ketchup and mayonnaise.

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