As a general rule Currywurst is a sausage smothered in ketchup with a sprinkling of curry powder but the best Currywurstbuden take things a step further. You could say that Curry & Chili on the corner of Osloer Strasse and Prinzenallee in Berlin Wedding has taken it several steps, as it lays claim to the title of Deutschlands schärfster Imbiss (Germany’s spiciest snack bar).
Frank Spieß opened his Imbiss in 2005 with the intention of offering a 1 Euro takeout but rising costs meant he had to increase prices and led to him searching out a new concept. Driven by his own passion for spicy food, Frank decided to offer 5 different levels of spiciness.
There are now 12 options on offer. First, the standard Currywurst with a sprinkling of curry powder and then, with the addition of chilli flakes, what most Buden will serve when you ask for ‘ein bisschen shärfer’.
And that’s when it starts to get interesting.
The brave, or foolhardy depending on your viewpoint, can now opt to add one of 10 levels of spiciness from a range of sauces – from Crazy Jerry at 11,000 Scoville to the own-brand, Curry & Chili Gold Edition at 7,777,777 Scoville.
I’ve been to Curry & Chili three times now and the spiciest Currywurst I have eaten is the Stufe 5 – 250,000 Scoville – and I’m pretty sure this is right on my limit. It was a bit of an effort to eat the two sausages I had and I didn’t quite finish my chips. It is worth noting that as well as changing the spiciness, the different sauces also have a considerable affect on the flavour of the Currywurst.
Obviously, there are plenty of people out there with a higher tolerance for spicy food or a greater desire to push themselves than me because the Curry & Chili Club, reserved for those who have eaten all 10 sauces, now boasts over 200 members.
The rules for anyone interested in joining (translated from the Curry & Chili website) are:
- All 10 levels must be eaten.
- All 10 must have been eaten within a 6-month timeframe.
- The sausage or chips must be eaten within sight of a Curry & Chili employee.
- The sauces can be eaten in any order but level 10 must be eaten last to complete the challenge.
- Membership is of course free of charge. Events for members will be displayed on the Curry & Chili website.
I’m pretty sure that this is the kind of challenge that would appeal to groups of men on a stag do (Junggesellenabschied) in Berlin or a ‘lads holiday’ but I have noticed that there are a number of female members too.
I think that the enjoyment is taken out of eating a Currywurst when your lips are burning and your eyes watering so I would definitely recommend working your way through the sauces to find your level.
Curry & Chili is definitely the place to go for Currywurst in Berlin if you would like to test your capacity for spicy food but the standard of the sausages and the ketchup, made fresh each day by Frank’s wife, mean that I would recommend it for a more leisurely and pleasant snack too.