Thursday, October 4, 2012

Deutschland Über Alles: Day 1 of Oktoberfest

Oktoberfest 2012 was epic!

I went to Munich, Germany, with my parents just for the sake of attending Oktoberfest. My parents aim for the beer, while I aim for the pork and pretzel. As an average alcohol tolerance, I ahve to say that beer is a bit hard for me to enjoy. It's bitter and it's fizzy, like soda, which I'm not fond of either. So, during my stay in Munich, I was far from finishing a quarter liter of Paulaner Weissbier. But my parents, on the other hand, managed to drink more than one and a half liter of beer a day. Ladies and gentlemen, I think we have a winner!

My parents' first liter of beer on our first day of Oktoberfest

It was at around four in the afternoon when we arrived at Goetheplatz. We immediately followed people in German traditional costume, because where there are dirndl and lederhosen, there will be Oktoberfest. After a ten minute walk, we arrived at one of the big entrance of Oktoberfest. I was mesmerized. Blinded by the sunshine, I spotted a gigantic Ferris Wheel and police in uniforms guarding the entrance. Without further do, we immediately entered the gate and started our quest for beer. 

There were lots of food stands at the Oktoberfest. They were colorful and very attractive, not to mention smelled good and looked mouth-watery. The first food stand that we visited was a peanut stand. Our favorite kind of nut was the genbrannte mandeln, or the sugar-coated almonds. Those almonds were glazed with melted sugar then sprinkled with some sugar. Those almonds were very very sweet and crunchy, it tasted delightful. Five pieces of those almonds would make you feel full, so easy on the munching if you still want to continue your epic food-venture.

This stand had all kinds of nuts

Pretty pricey for a bag of nuts, but it worth the price

A bag of genbrannte mandeln, or sugar-coated almonds

After we ate some sugary snacks, we headed to one of the so many big tents named Paulaner Beer Garden. We were going to have early dinner inside the tent, but there were no available seats left, so we ate at the tent's backyard. We ordered two liters of beer and a plate of Pork Snitchzel. I don't drink beer, so  I ordered a glass of water that costed me 4 . I expected a cold and thirst-quenching water, but I got a glass of fizzy sparkling water. As a person who dislikes soda, it was a torture. Oh, and, did I mention that I had a sore throat back then? Those bubbly water made me felt like there were sand papers flowing down my throat. 

The Pork Snitchzel, on the other hand, tasted amazing! The outer skin was very crispy and the meat is well-cooked. It came with some companions, which were a clump of potato salad that tasted sour and refreshing, a spoonful of pomegranate sauce which tasted like rum and was not that enjoyable for me, and some slices of red radish. My parents and I shared the entire Pork Snitchzel, and it was an awesome opening meal to start our adventure in Oktoberfest.

Paulaer Beer Garden

Met a bunch of stranger during our stay at the Beer Garden

A plate of Pork Snitchzel that tasted great

Pomegranate sauce that tasted like rum 

Had a glass of fizzy watter instead of Paulaner Weissbier

A brief explanation on what Oktoberfes is. Oktoberfest is a 16-days beer festival, held in Munich, Germany, usually on late September until the beginning of October. The event take place at an enormous area called the Theresienwiese, or the meadow of Therese. The place is jammed-pack with big tents, uncountable food corners, amusement rides, beer in gigantic glass, and ladies with big boobs in Dirndl. People attend Oktoberfest for one thing, and on thing only.. BEER.

This year's Oktoberfest started on the 22nd of September and will end on the 7th of October. I managed to attend the festival for two days in a row, which were on September 26th and September 27th. The meadow turned into a sea of drunk people in just a blink of an eye. You would bump in to a lot of people, most of them had a big glass on their right hands and a snack on their left. Don't be fooled by the word "snack". At Oktoberfest, "snack" can refer to brezen (or pretzel), bratwurst (or sausage in a bun, similar to a hotdog), weisswurst (or a white sausage made out of minced veal and pork bacon), pork steak in a bun, pomme frites (or french fries), chocolate glazed fruits in a stick, and even half-a-meter-long sausage. So much for your potato chips. 

My next stop was at a hotdog stand, or a bratwurst stand, where they sell half-a-meter-long sausage. Yes, half a meter! Again, my parents and I share this particular long bratwurst so that we still have room for more food, and beer. 

If someone were to ask me, "Hey, Kinan, what kind of sausage is your favorite?" then my answer will be "GERMAN SAUSAGES!" with capital everything, emphasizing on both words, with my hands locked on my waist and my legs nailed to the rotating earth, with pride, and the epic mount fuji and wave of the ocean as the background. German sausages are beyond delicious! If you think your local product sausage is good, then German sausages are Chuck-Norris-good. 

The skin is far from flexible and it's very crunchy, like the texture of a balloon, it even make sound when you take a bite of the first end of the sausage. "Kletus!" that's what my Dad said when he describe the awesomeness of the sausage, mimicking the sound that the sausage's skin produced when we destroy it with our teeth. Our "kletus" is similar to your "crack", the sound when you crack your elbow. Then, juice and oil will come out from the nicely grilled sausage, it can even squirt out if you bite it with force. Oh, and do keep in mind that those sausages are mostly pork, so you can imagine how delicious they tasted. 

"One bratwurst coming right up!"

My half-a-meter-long sausage in a bun

Dats me comparing the sausage with my arm (Photo taken by my Dad).

My quest for delicious German cuisine continued. There were so many food corners, I was too excited I wanted to try them all. I was surrounded with people, munching on food which looked alien to me, until I spotted someone who was eating chocolate-glazed fruits on a stick. I have to agree that that particular treat is pretty easy to make, I can even make myself a stick or two of those chocolate fruit, but the urge to have at least a stick was unbearable. I decided to look for the food stand, and I finally found it an hour later.

Glasierte fruchte. I'm guessing that it means "glazed fruits". I stepped in to the counter and was welcomed by so many chocolate-covered fruits. There were strawberries, grapes, pineapples, bananas, and even chilly pepper, coated in three different chocolates, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate. I repeat, there were chilly peppers covered in chocolate! They were pretty cost-y, 4  for a stick of strawberries and 1.50 €  for a chilly pepper. I ended up choosing chocolate-milk-covered banana because it looked delicious and appealing, and it turned out that it tasted better than I expected! The banana was so ripe, so it was sweet and soft, and the milk chocolate was very very delicious. It costed me 3 , but I don't mind.

The almighty Glasierte fruchte

Lots of interesting choices, I had difficulties in choosing what I want to have

What on earth is a weintrauben?

A customer, choosing what he would like to have for an evening snack

I'm guessing that it is a white-chocolate-glazed mixed fruits

My milk-chocolate-coated banana that tasted sweet and milky

After finishing my chocolate banana, I went to another food corner that sells sweets and I bought myself a sweet treat named Krokant. I don't know what that is, or what it is made of, but it tasted nice. I'm not quite fond of it though, because the inner part that looked like artificial snow that you can find at Ace Hardware tasted sweet, yet gassy. It tasted nice, but not much to my liking. 

Lots of different flavored Krokant

Don't judge food by its' lovely appearance

Night fell and the Theresienwiese got even more crowded, but it didn't stopped my parents to settle down at a rather small beer garden and have half-a-liter glass of Paulaner Weissbier. My throat got worst from drinking cold water and gulping down food abruptly, so I began my quest for hot beverages. I was lucky to find myself a Coffee joint not far from the beer garden. I went full Flash and headed straight to the joint. There, I ordered myself a glass of hot chocolate, that costed me 4.10  and it was the best drink I have drank, and purchased, since the entire day. Good Lord, the warm liquid running down my throat tasted heavenly, my throat danced with joy.

The Coffee joint lady, preparing to make a drink

Best menu I have seen so far on that day

Warm and foamy hot chocolate at your service!

Before my parents and I headed back to the hotel, we made a quick pit stop at a meat stand and bought ourselves dinner. This time, I had a sausage that has melted cheese inside, so was my Mom, while Dad fill himself with half-a-meter-long sausage and Pomme Frites. The best dinner I had in a week so far!

"This long," said the sausage man

Flip them half-a-meter-long sausages like a sausage boss

What is this, heaven?

Dad's dinner

Mom's dinner

Dad's afer-meal snack

My goal was to eat and I went for a touchdown. Imagine a soccer field full of perfectly cooked meat and aromatic sugar-glazed almonds, how can a heavy eater like me not went barbaric? I pigged-out, in a still proper and humanly way, and I regret nothing. All those Bavarian delicacy worth a weight-gain!

When I went back to the hostel, I immediately used the free wifi provided to check up on a few things, including my foursquare account. I checked in at the hostel I was staying, which was Munich Park Youth Hostel, and it turned out that the hostel had a special promo for those who use foursquare. I got myself a heart-shaped ginger bread cookie and a 50% discount at the hostel's bistro for any kind of coffee. Free stuff at its' best, those ginger bread cookie worth 4 . My day was made!

My Oktoberfest ginger break cookie

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