I’ve been putting off writing about the food here for quite a while now – but I promise it’s for a valid reason. I wanted to really settle in and actually experience the various culinary options Mannheim had to offer me. So here I am, two months into my study abroad experience, finally ready to talk about my all-time favorite topic. In my mind, I imagined that there would be German restaurants everywhere I turned, and that currywurst and potatoes would line the streets. This, to my dismay, was astoundingly incorrect. There were plenty of German restaurants, but the ones that have made up 90% of my diet aren’t German, or even technically European for that matter.
When I first arrived in Mannheim, I was shocked by the large Turkish population that dominated the majority of my neighborhood. I was beyond delighted about this, giving my part of the city a flavorful vibe of mixing cultures and a certain life that the rest of Mannheim just simply didn’t have. The bakeries always charmed me with their sweet aromas, the shops rang with excitement as I walked by, and I could almost hear the gyros and döners calling out to me, luring me into stuffing myself silly. There was always a new restaurant to try out and gain a sense of an entirely different culture than the one I was around.
Besides all of the actual food around me, there’s also a plethora of pretzel kiosks all around the main strip of the city, consistently buzzing with hungry customers. These simple pretzel shops are not ones to be messed with. I doubted the spell these German pretzels cast on all who tasted them. I really did. But then, once I had one, I don’t think I can ever go back to a Philly pretzel ever again. The outside was just perfectly baked enough to be crunchy, while the inside is teasingly warm and soft, the equivalent to being wrapped in a warm hug.
Last but hardly least, I also eat at the student cafeteria. There are different menus every day, and for the low price of €2,90, you’ll be well fed until dinner time. They usually serve traditional German dishes, slathered in gravy and potatoes, making your tastebuds forget you ever ate anything else prior to studying here. I know I’m no Guy Fieri here, and that I’ve only grazed the surface with the restaurants and locations of where you can eat in Mannheim in this post, but I hope my depiction gives you a little taste of my favorite spots to grab a bite to eat in this city!