A Spring Break Smörgåsbord: Porking Out in Düsseldorf, Germany

Schweine Janes

Front of Schweine Janes’ Restaurant

My family and I just enjoyed ‘Spring Break’ in Germany.  If you’re like me, you go by the adage, “when in Rome do as the Romans do”.  That means when I travel, I try to experience the food that the local people enjoy.  For beer drinkers, it’s not a stretch to sample the wide variety of beer in Germany.  Unless you attend Oktoberfest, experiencing German food may be a different matter.

Düsseldorf is a city on the western edge of Germany.  It is approximately 60  kilometers from the border to The Netherlands.  Due to its location, it has become a popular place for companies that conduct business internationally.  It is also a hub for Air Berlin and Lufthansa.

Since the Altstadt (Old Town) section of Düsseldorf has more than 250 restaurants and pubs, my family and I  focused our attention there.  Fortunately, my wife and I jointly agreed on a place to experience German cuisine:  Schweine Janes (Jane’s Pigs).   Seeing a picture of a pig on the front of the restaurant, we knew we selected the right place.  We arrived just prior to noon and were the first ones seated.

Pork on the rotisserie

Pork on the rotisserie

Schweine Janes is a small, popular restaurant with a fondness for pork.  From the outdoor patio, you can watch the pork on the rotisserie.  In a glass case in front, you can see some of the popular side dishes like sauerkraut (German fermented cabbage).

Düsseldorf is known for its altbiers.  Until I visited Germany, I had seen altbiers sold locally, but hadn’t sampled any.  The name altbier means old beer. I learned that the brewing method used in making Altbier is a pre-lager brewing method that consists of using warm top-fermenting yeast. Pilsners, on the other hand, use a bottom-fermenting yeast method.  Typically each restaurant features a different altbier.  Schweine Janes features Carina Alt and we both ordered a glass.

Carina Altbier

Carina Altbier

For lunch I selected the grilled pork knuckle with sauerkraut.  My wife selected schnitzel with pomme and salat (french fries and salad).  My daughter doesn’t typically order meat and surprised us  by ordering a steak with a baked potato.

Pork knuckle with sauerkraut

Pork knuckle with sauerkraut

Schnitzel with frites

Schnitzel with frites

Pork knuckle is not commonly served in the United States.  When I vacationed in Milwaukee, Wisconsin I experienced it at Kegel’s Inn.  Milwaukee has a number of authentic German restaurants and if you’re a German ex-pat, this is the city to visit to experience quality German cuisine.  Pork knuckle is extremely popular in Germany and I wish it was available in the LA area.

Sauerkraut gets its distinctive sour flavor from lactic acid that forms when the natural sugars in the cabbage are fermented. While I’ve read that it’s pretty easy to make this happen at home, I haven’t had the courage to try it as it is a 4-week fermentation process.

Service was quite attentive.  We received menus in English when we inquired whether they existed.  The price was very reasonable: only 41 Euros (about $53 USD)  and that included 3 altbiers!  If you ever travel to Düsseldorf, be sure to experience a meal at Schweine Janes.


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About the Author

Follow Bryan on twitter for the latest and greatest in food trucks and street food. @btsunoda.

2 Responses to “A Spring Break Smörgåsbord: Porking Out in Düsseldorf, Germany”

  1. Outstanding article! I’ve enjoyed keeping up with your travels on Twitter and getting my questions answered when I’ve had them. Great work (?) Bryan and thanks for the article and Twitter updates! Fantastic!

  2. Thanks Doug!!! We certainly appreciate your interest in what we review and publish. I appreciate your numerous retweets. You are amazing! Thanks again….. Bryan