Fast food. We don't even think about how many fast food options we have in the U.S. It's something we are used to, something we've grown up surrounded by, the "norm". Even if you're from a really small town, chances are you have a McDonald's, a Hardee's, and maybe even a Subway. Fast food joints are on every corner. In the mall. Inside gas stations. Attached to super centers. They are EVERYWHERE. Traveling on the interstate, many people decide on which exit to stop at based on the food choices listed on the interstate signs for that exit. Just a Hardee's? Yuck...keep on driving, the gas light hasn't come on yet! Ooooo...a Chick-Fil-A, Subway and Taco Bell all within 0.3 miles of the exit ramp? Score!
From my experience so far, there are not nearly as many fast food places in Germany. Well, to rephrase that, there are a lot less varied fast food joints. In bigger shopping areas, you will typically see a McDonald's and sometimes a Pizza Hut, but that's about it as far as familiar fast food restaurants come. Bratwurst carts, bakeries, Döner Kebab joints and Italian eateries are the most common and convenient food places you'll find in most German cities; their version of "fast food".
*Bratwurst carts/stands: Chances are, when you think of German food, sausages, bratwursts and sauerkraut come to mind. :) Am I right? Bratwurst stands are pretty amazing here. For about 2-3 Euros, you get a Brochen (bread roll) with a fresh off the grill Bratwurst or Paprikawurst (spicy pepper sausage). There are other varieties as well, but I haven't strayed from the original or spicy goodness to try them yet.
*Bäckerei- Bakeries are EVERYWHERE here. I am not exaggerating when I say I have my choice of 5 bakeries within a 5 minute walk from our apartment. The people from Deutschland LOVE their pastries and bread! Walk to the bus stop, by the shops, or through the park and you will see a large percentage of people with a pastry or bread item in their hand. Business attired folk on their way to work will often have a coffee in one hand and a warm pastry in the other.
*Döner Kebab- These joints are everywhere. A Turkish specialty, the sandwiches and wraps are SUPER popular here and it's considered the most common "fast food" in this region. Most of these places also make pizza and fries, but the pizza is never very good. The döner sandwiches are made with pita bread, which is typically baked in-house, and warmed on a grill to give it a char-coaled look. Then meat is hand-sliced off of a spit of real lamb, veal or beef. None of that fake meat laden with preservatives! Once the meat has been put inside the pita, onions, lettuce, tomato and shredded red cabbage will be added if you respond "Ja" (yes) to "Mit alles?" (with everything). You can ask for chili flakes "Mit chili bitte" to give it more of a kick. The final step is a house-made dill joghurt sauce. (Pictures below)
The döner place right next to the bus/tram station closest to our apartment. Busy during lunch hour on a week day.
My own personal döner sandwich. This one was a little too saucy for my taste, but good nonetheless.
Up close and personal.