View Full Version : Question for Germans: Potato Salad...

April 26th, 2012, 02:25 AM
I know this is an odd question, but it's an odd request for furthering my own knowledge.

While I'm aware that "kartoffelsalat" is the German term for potato salad (kartoffel = potato; salat = salad) what I want to know is, if you were trying to be particular or specific, what is the full and proper name for "German" potato salad?

(As opposed to, say, southern-style, or New York-style, etc.)

Thanks in advance!

April 26th, 2012, 09:35 AM
I don't think there is a specific name for it. Kartoffelsalat from southern Germany is done with vinegar instead of mayonnaise and served warm while in the north it is done with mayonnaise and served cold. There are so many variations of potato salad I doubt most of them have specific names, all I know is that I like them a lot :biggrin:

Hopefully a german can add more to this conversation.

Edit: Seems there are names for some variations http://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kartoffelsalat

I do mine with potato, boiled egg slices, mayonnaise, bit of chopped onion & a tablespoon of mustard. Sometimes I add crispy bacon and/or a bit of chopped celery.

My favourite potato dish is however sliced potato done in garlic & cream, got the recipe from german neighbours. Love that stuff and if there are any leftovers the next day I will eat it on bread, I actually do the same with potato salad as well.

April 26th, 2012, 09:55 AM
I would say that you expect a specific kind (I'm from the mentioned north, so if you say Kartoffelsalat I expect one with mayonnaise) but it's still a general term applying to all potato salads. I'm not aware of any specific names but then again I'm not very knowledgeable in this regard.

April 27th, 2012, 04:14 PM

First, the reason I'm even asking this is I will be taking German I this fall semester in college (followed by German II in the spring), which I am genuinely looking forward to, and I just want to try and broaden my literacy and cultural understanding.

So -- and this isn't the first place I've posed this question -- here's my own hypothesis...

Not that it's absolutely impossible within Germany to buy the various kinds of potato salad popular in the U.S., but perhaps anything other than the mayo (northern) or vinegar/oil (southern) types of potato salad you folks are familiar with is so absolutely uncommon that, culturally, nobody has bothered to call your own potato salad anything other than just "potato salad". That is, let's say 99% + of the time, when "potato salad" is said by one person to another within Germany, neither person in the conversation is even thinking about any other kind.

Whereas, of course, those two general ranges of recipe are merely one category amongst many served here in the U.S., thus requiring we specify the type to which we are referring.

I'm still looking for further knowledge and insight into this, so please feel free to add to or correct anything I've said. Thanks!

April 28th, 2012, 12:19 AM
Totally OT and I'm not even German... Anyway, in German the direct translation of 'Lettuce' is 'head salad' this was a very strange discovery...

April 28th, 2012, 12:35 AM
Finding out about the way things are said in different languages has its interesting moments. The Samoan phrase that my in-laws use for "fridge" is a literal translation of "ice box", which, to me, means something else. Similarly, their word for plane is a literal translation of 'flying boat'.

Nudging back to the food-related theme of this thread, my in-laws like corned beef/bully beef which they call "pisupo"; to my ears this sounds like a "pea soup oh"! It probably originates from the missionary days and could have once referred to tinned food in general. Some of them also refer to potato salad, in English, as mashed potato, go figure!

April 28th, 2012, 12:35 AM
Off topic but....thanks now I really want some potato salada. :P

April 28th, 2012, 12:58 AM
Manchmal hört mann in Bierstuben:

Da droben auf'm Berg
Da steht ein Soldat
Der hat in der Hose

April 28th, 2012, 01:04 AM
I find it amazing what you can find on an evening roaming the Ubuntu-Forums...

Coming from southern Germany, I can fully confirm all hypothesisesesises... made:
- in northern Germany, you will find the variation with mayonaise
- southern Germany will almost always prefer the luke-warm or cold type made with vinegar
- ...and that's it!

I guess here it's more of a personal preference rather than a regional variety. So if you order "Wiener Schnitzel mit Kartoffelsalat" in Munich you'll only ever get the one prepared according to the cook's grandma's recipe ;)

Quite common here: Kartoffel-Gurken-Salat, which is potato-salad 'vinegar-style' mixed with finely sliced cucumber. Adds a nice crunch to the experience!

Good luck with your German!

April 28th, 2012, 01:09 AM
In Hobbit it is:
... but not sure that is of much help... ):P


April 28th, 2012, 12:17 PM
Totally OT and I'm not even German... Anyway, in German the direct translation of 'Lettuce' is 'head salad' this was a very strange discovery...

The same goes for Afrikaans where you get the word 'kopslaai' (kopfsalat in German) for lettuce which translated literally is head salad but if you think about it a bit it's actually not that weird seeing it's related to lettuce head.

April 29th, 2012, 07:54 PM
@not found: Darned shame I can't +1 or "Like" posts on here, because I would have for yours! Awesome!

@QIII: I'll have to translate what you said and get back to you.

@baumanno: Ok, so let me reverse my question then for the sake of argument...

Let's assume the following hypothetical situation:

You're in Germany, you're at a restaurant, and you want New York-style potato salad, which this particular restaurant serves (amongst many others). Would you say to the person taking your order "I would like New York-style kartoffelsalat, please" ? (And, of course, we're assuming you uttered the whole thing in German.)

April 29th, 2012, 11:44 PM
Off topic but I don't like this thread. TOO MUCH FOOD TALK :shock: (there should be a eating smiley in here).

April 30th, 2012, 04:53 AM
Off topic but I don't like this thread. TOO MUCH FOOD TALK :shock: (there should be a eating smiley in here).

And you were expecting a discussion on the finer points of bash, perhaps, in a thread titled "Question for Germans: Potato Salad..." ?


June 18th, 2012, 06:05 PM
I hope this post still reaches you in time. Actually I'm from Germany and I really like potato salad, so I order quite often at restaurants (in different regions of Germany). And this is what I can tell you:

There are different (more precise) names for potato salads in Germany, they are just not always used. For example, when you read a menu in a restaurant in Bavaria and you come across the term "Kartoffelsalat" (without further explanation) you will often get the salad which elsewhere in Germany is either called "Bavarian potato salad" or "warm potato salad with bacon" etc. But even the term "Bayerischer Kartoffelsalat" can mean something different, depending on the region of Bavaria and the restaurant you order it at.

Here are the potato salad terms I came across most often, mostly they are named after the region they are made in:

- Bayerischer Kartoffelsalat (http://www.foodchomp.de/rezepte/bayerischer-kartoffelsalat) (most often potato salad with vinegar, stock, onions, cucumber or pickles and leek - served cold)
- Schwäbischer Kartoffelsalat is very similar to the above mentioned one, often without cucumber or pickles
- Warmer Kartoffelsalat (mit Speck) - A potato salad which might be called Bavarian sometimes; it is served warm and sometimes has little cubes of fried bacon in it, no mayo
- Kartoffelsalat nach rheinländischer Art - with mayo, pickles and some apple
- Berliner Kartoffelsalat - with pickles, radishes and some apple, have eaten it with and without mayo
- In the north I haven't actually come across a particular name for it; mostly it is made with mayo but the other ingredients vary often, there might be onions, hard-boiled eggs, fish, pickles in it... list goes on ;)

Hope this helps... if you were to order a NYC-style potato salad in Germany, I think that's exactly what it would be called on the menu, since it tasted completely different from real German salads (celery etc.). I've also included my favorite potato salad recipe in the list, in case you want to familiarize yourself with the subject further ;)

June 18th, 2012, 07:09 PM
I live in the north of Germany near Hannover. My wife who comes from this region makes a potato salad with sliced champignons, hard boiled eggs and sour cucumber pickles, and peas, mixed with mayo. It is served cold. After making the salad it is stored in a cool place for at least 24 hours before eating (this improves the taste and it tastes even better after 48 hours). Normally served with a "Schnitzel" (Thin Veal or pork steak fried in breadcrumbs) or a "Bratwurst" (grilled pork sausages)

June 18th, 2012, 07:35 PM
Totally OT and I'm not even German... Anyway, in German the direct translation of 'Lettuce' is 'head salad' this was a very strange discovery...

The leaves of the Lettuce builds a tight round head leading to the name of "Kopfsalat" or head salad. When you buy the salad you buy the whole head. You normally cannot buy half a head as once cut the inside leaves will quickly turn brown.
A big hairy customer once entered a shop and asked the clerk for half a lettuce. The clerk was scared to argue with the man and went to the back of the store to ask his boss what he should do. He said to his boss: There is a big baboon in the shop who wants half a lettuce. He then realized that the customer had followed him to the back and had heard what he had just said, so he quickly added, but no problem sir, this gentleman behind me wants the other half.

June 18th, 2012, 07:35 PM
I lived in Germany for a couple of years, and I found that what you get is just the house recipe. Whatever you ask for. ;-) You may be too ambitious.