“Germans love their coffee and bread (brot) for breakfast. This is the traditional breakfast meal,” says Mike Thoma, owner of German Corner who’s originally from Moenchengladbach, Germany. Much like the typical Vietnamese who loves his banh mi for a quick brekkie, his German counterpart would grab a bread roll (brötchen), slather it with butter and less sugary but fruity jam, and devour. Or instead of jam, replace it with bacon, salami or ham. Bread is an essential part of German cuisine with 600 types of breads kneaded and baked in Germany daily. The more popular ones are the rye wheat, toast bread, whole grain and wheat rye. “The dark wheat bread alone is made from different corn varieties.”
For breakfast and brunch options, Mike, together with his wife Thuy Thien, have recreated his mom’s traditional recipes like the filling Goulash soup (chopped vegetables, onions, bell peppers, beef soup, potatoes, VND85,000) and the crunchy Vienna style pork schnitzel with french fries and lime (VND220,000) – which can be relished with or without lime. According to Mike, the pork schnitzel is traditionally served with a choice of sauces like the Hunter sauce (mushroom), pepper sauce and the Gypsy sauce (vegetarian).
But it wouldn’t be German cuisine without the sausages and beer. So the Sausage Platter with five different kinds of sausages served with white cabbage and mashed potatoes (VND350,000) is an excellent choice. In Germany, there are over 1,500 sausages to choose from and you can enjoy a select five from the menu. The combination of the peppery cheese sausage, spicy chicken sausage, Bratwurst (pork sausage), mild sausage and their special pork-beef mix with cinnamon sausage takes your palate to a smorgasbord of flavors.
Another popular choice at German Corner is the Butcher Platter of bread, butter, ham, meatballs, sausages, bacon and salami (VND320,000). “We love strong flavors in nearly all our dishes and we enjoy strong and heavy sauces,” says Mike. So pairing the meatball with spicy or Dijon mustard gives the meal an extra kick.
So where is beer in all this?
Strictly speaking, Germans don’t drink beer for breakfast. However, from brunch onwards, having a glass of beer is not unusual. A shandy – a mixture of 30 percent beer and 70 percent Sprite – would be a perfect match. Of course there are a number of authentic German beers to select from here, including Bitburger, Koestritzer Black Beer, Benediktiner Weisse, HB-Hofbrau Weisse, Schwarzbrau Exquisit, and Schwarzbrau Weisse (beer prices start from VND65,000).
German Corner: A001 Nguyen Van Linh, Phu My Hung, D7
Images by Ngoc Tran & Adam Robert Young