As the biggest city in Bavaria, Munich is the ideal place to try traditional Bavarian food. The local food culture in Munich has as much delicious food to offer as any traditional German food region does, and you'll find plenty of great German dishes in this Munich food guide.
And that's to say nothing of the beer. Munich is, after all, the home of the world's largest Oktoberfest, and beer flows freely in the traditional beer halls of the city. Therefore, you can expect the traditional food of Bavaria to be full of strong flavors that can stand up to all that beer.
Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage locker in Munich, and you'll be ready to explore everything traditional Bavarian food has to offer - and drink beer while you're doing it. The wealth of street food on offer, in particular, makes hearty Bavarian food well worth experiencing, and you can read about the best street food in Munich in our guide.
As is generally the case with German food, Bavarian food tends to be heavy on the meat. However, vegetarians can still enjoy Bavarian cuisine at the best vegetarian restaurants in Munich. Vegetarian food is getting easier and easier to find every year in this meat-loving city, so don't despair at the amount of meat you'll find on this list.
Munich Food: Weisswurst
Even if you know next to nothing about German food, you probably guessed that we would start off with a sausage. This popular Bavarian sausage is an icon of the region and is easily identifiable by its white color.
Traditionally, weisswurst is made with veal and pork, although you may also find it made with beef. The sausage is flavored with parsley, lemon, mace, ginger, cardamom, and cloves.
The sausage is usually served in a bowl of warm water to keep it from cooling down too much, as it's meant to be eaten piping hot. It's then eaten with sweet mustard and a soft pretzel.
You can find weisswurst at pretty much any Bavarian restaurant or beer hall in Munich. Just look for the white sausage on the menu - they're hard to miss.
Munich Food: Leberkäse
This popular Bavarian dish is made from pork and beef and flavored with onions, salt, and pepper. It's then baked in the oven until it forms a crust on the outside.
Leberkäse is often served sliced and fried and makes for a great breakfast meat or sandwich filling. You'll find leberkäse on the menu of many Bavarian restaurants, although it's also popularly sold in supermarkets to take home. Pair with some good German bread, and you have an authentic traditional sandwich that is also a must-eat street food. This might be the best traditional food to eat on the go in Munich - provided you don't mind eating one of the region's many, many pork dishes.
Munich Food: Knödel
These dense dumplings are commonly found in Central and Eastern European cuisine, but they're especially prevalent in Bavarian food. There are many different types of knödel, but the most common is the potato knödel.
Potato knödel are made from boiled potatoes, bread crumbs, and onions and are usually served as a side dish. However, you'll also find them used as a filling for soup or as the main component of a meal.
Of course, there are many other types of knödel as well. Bread knödel, for example, are made from stale bread and are often served in soup. Then there's plum knödel, which is made with dried plums and served as a dessert.
You can find potato knödel at most Bavarian restaurants. However, for the full range of knödel varieties, head to one of Munich's many dumpling shops. They may not be the healthiest food in the world to eat, but they do offer a rare option for those who aren't meat eaters.
Munich Food: Hax'n und Knödel
This traditional Bavarian dish is made of pork shanks and knödel and is usually served with sauerkraut or potatoes.
The pork shanks are cooked until they're falling off the bone, and the knödel soak up all the delicious fat and juices. It's a hearty, filling meal that's perfect for a cold winter day. And best of all, it goes great with beer.
You can find hax'n und knödel at most Bavarian restaurants in Munich. Just look for it on the menu - it's often one of the more reasonably priced items.
Munich Food: Spätzle
Spätzle is a type of egg noodle that's popular in Bavarian cuisine. The noodles are made by mixing eggs, flour, and water and then pressing the dough through a colander or potato ricer to form long, thin noodles.
Spätzle can be served as a side dish or as a main course. When served as a main, they're usually topped with cheese or gravy. You'll also find them used as an ingredient in other dishes, such as käsespätzle (a type of mac and cheese made with spätzle).
You can find spätzle on the menu of lots of restaurants in Munich. However, for the best spätzle in town, head to one of the city's many spätzle shops specializing in this delicious savory treat.
Munich Food: Schweinshaxe
This Bavarian dish is made with a roasted pork shank that's crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Schweinshaxe is usually served with potatoes and sauerkraut and can be found on the menu of most Bavarian restaurants in Munich. Try it with the classic Bavarian sweet mustard and wash it down with a traditional wheat beer, and you'll truly be eating like Bavarians do.
As the most delicious food so often does, this pork knuckle dish originated as peasant food, where slow cooking methods were used to make cheap cuts of meat more palatable. The meat is sometimes marinated for days or even up to a week to make it tender. The result is an incredible meat dish that practically melts in your mouth. If you're a fan of flavorful meat and hearty meals, this is definitely the answer to what to eat in Munich.
Munich Food: Käsespätzle
This dish is made with spätzle (a type of egg noodle) and topped with cheese and fried onions. It's similar to mac and cheese but with a distinctly Bavarian twist. If you're intrigued by this twist on a classic American dish, just look for it under the "noodles" section of the menu.
This dish is been around since at least 1725 but probably goes back a lot further than that. It's not a Bavarian tradition, hailing instead from the region of Swabia, but it has become as popular here as it is all over Germany. One origin story of this dish states that its name comes from the shape of the small pieces of dough that resemble a sparrow, or spatz in German. Another states the name comes from the Italian spezatto, which means small pieces.
Munich Food: Pretzels
No list of Bavarian food would be complete without pretzels. These twisted breads are a staple of German cuisine, and you'll find them everywhere in Munich. Pretzels come in all shapes and sizes, but the traditional Bavarian pretzel is a large, fluffy pretzel that's often served with a sweet mustard dip.
The origin of pretzels is lost to history. There are several competing accounts of how this German bread product came to be, including that they were invented by a monk as a reward for children who said their prayers. What is known for sure, though, is that pretzels were the symbol of German bakers' guilds all the way back in the 12th century, so these baked goods have been a part of German food for a very long time. And while they may not be traditionally Bavarian, they are enjoyed all over the city just as they are throughout Germany, making them a great thing to try if you're wondering what to eat in Munich.
Munich Food: Potato Salad
This dish is made with boiled potatoes, bacon, eggs, onion, vinegar, and oil. It's a hearty, filling salad that's perfect for a summer day. You can find potato salad on the menu of most Munich restaurants. It makes a great side dish to other Munich foods but is filling enough to eat as a meal, especially for lunch.
And while the traditional Bavarian potato salad is made with bacon, it's not hard to track down other versions, including vegetarian takes on this classic dish. One of the few items in this Munich food guide that's not one of the well-loved meat dishes of Bavaria, this is a great option for vegetarians - so long as you're not trying to cut carbs.
Munich Food: Sauerbraten
This Bavarian dish is made with beef that's been marinated in a vinegar-based sauce for several days, then roasted until it's tender and juicy. Sauerbraten is usually served with dumplings or potatoes and is common on most menus. This hearty dish is sometimes touted as the national food of Germany.
In addition to beef, you can find sauerbraten prepared with pork, lamb, venison, and even horse if you're feeling adventurous.
Munich Food: Roasted Duck
This dish is made with a whole duck that's roasted until it's crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside. Roasted duck is usually served with potatoes and sauerkraut and is traditionally served on Sundays or holidays, given how long it takes to cook. The duck is sometimes stuffed with apples to give the meat a sweetish flavor, and if you're a fan of duck, you should definitely try and track down this delicious feast in a Munich restaurant.
Munich Food: Grebbel
This traditional Bavarian dessert goes by many names. You may see it listed as auszogne or kniekuchle. But whatever you call it, it's great for anyone with a sweet tooth who's wondering what to eat in Munich. This circle of fried dough resembles a Bavarian donut but isn't as sweet. It's usually filled with fruit or jam and sometimes topped with powdered sugar.
Grebbel can be found at most bakeries in Munich. And if you're lucky, you may even find them being sold out of carts on the street. You can also find them at the occasional beer garden, where they make a great snack to keep your stomach full in between one beer mug after another.
A charming legend behind the origins of this food states that baker women stretched the dough thin over their knees so they could see through it to read love letters on their laps. Whether that's true or not, there's no denying that this is a delicious and traditional Bavarian dessert you should definitely try to enjoy in Munich.
There's no question that Munich has some delicious local specialties. Plus, it's also a great place to sample lots of other traditional dishes from across Germany. But after reading this list, you'll probably have noticed a trend. Not only is traditional Bavarian food heavily meat-based, but it's also really hearty and filling stuff.
That's not necessarily a bad thing if you have a big appetite. But after a few days of eating Bavarian food, you may find yourself longing for a simple salad or anything fresh and green. And as your waistline expands under an assault of pork knuckle, white sausage, fried dough, and potato dumplings - not to mention all that incredible beer - you'll probably want to stretch your legs a little. Check out our guide to the best hikes in Munich for some great calorie-burning options to offset the damage you've done to your diet by eating your way through Munich.