Survival Bible, Shmurvival Bible. The German fast food guide posted by a reader in SPIEGEL ONLINE's Germany Survival Bible may be authentic, but it's not really representative. According to the New York Times, 2.3 million Turks live in Germany. And I would bet you dollars to döners that you're more likely to come across a Turkish kebab Imbiss in major German cities than a sausage stand. Döners are just as cheap as Würste and several times more palatable. In most cities, they're on every block -- and the currywurst guys are just living on their scraps. A lot of Turkish Imbisse will hook you up with a currywurst anyway, if you must have one.
Here are some pointers on how to get through an actual Turkish fast food transaction without losing your cool:
The Döner is the pièce de résistance of Turkish schnell snacks. Sure, they have those stuffed peppers and stewed cauliflowers in the display case, but don't get distracted -- a döner is what you really want. You can get chicken, but the mainline is lamb, which even has a German soundalike -- Lamm. You can get a Durum Döner, which is a wrap, but there is nothing wrong with the standard split-bread casing.
You'll have to get through two more questions before you can munch your döner with satisfaction. First -- Sosse (sauce)? There are three kinds: scharf, a hot, red chili pepper paste; Knoblauch, a white garlic sauce analagous to Greek tzatziki, which is basically standard; and Kräuter, which is similar to Knoblauch but is orange and contains a mixture of herbs instead. You should go for all three, or at least Knoblauch. If you're not feeling adventurous, you can say ohne Sosse (without sauce), if you must, tenderfoot.
They then ask you if you want Salat komplett -- you do. You don't eat healthy enough and this is absolutely the best way to get roughage into your diet. The Salat is a sniper that bypasses the gorge and aims straight for your gut. You'll barely realize you ate it.
If you're in the shop, take your Döner zum mitnehmen (to go), and you're done. If it's zum hier essen (for here), you don't have to pay until later, so don't insult the guy by thrusting money in his face.
Köfta -- These ground and seasoned meat patties, are Türkish hamburgers, but they're a lot better than their ground chuck cousin.
"Turkish pizza" -- This is basically a döner without the meat and is to be avoided.
Milchreis -- So good. Lust for this dessert can reach methadone-like proportions on some nights. I like mine with extra Zimt (cinnamon).
Now you're ordering real Imbiss food.
Contributed by Christy Leonardo. A version of this piece first appeared on the popular Berlin expatriate blog Anglofritz.