Dirk Adolphs was selling software insurance in Cologne, Germany. When he got to the Bay Area what did he miss most? Cürrywurst, sausages heated in ketchup-heavy curry sauce. The quintessential German street food has cultural resonance ― its birthday is said to be Sep. 4, 1949, when a Berliner named Herta Heuwer sauced local bratwurst with a slurry of Anglo-American relief rations (ketchup, Worcestershire, curry powder).
Blame something in the California water, but when Adolphs was ready to hit some underground Bay Area markets as the King of Cürrywurst he decided to do it up vegan, something he says is rare in the fatherland. After reading a SFoodie post in June about Whole Foods reaching out to local street-food vendors to develop retail products, Adolphs bit. A packaged version of his vegan cürrywurst ($4.99 for a single-serving package) hit the shelves at the SOMA and Noe Valley stores just about two weeks ago; the Potrero Hill and Franklin stores should have it in another week or so.
We fired up the microwave today in SFoodie's
lavish test kitchens dingy office kitchenette for a cürrywurst trial. (Our findings: The wheat-gluten "sausage" chunks are slightly better than you fear they'll be, the sticky, paste-like tomato sauce weighs in more black pepper than curry.)
Access to Whole Foods and a microwave won't ultimately be your access to the King's cürrywurst, as Haighteration's Andrew D. reported late last month. As early as 2011, Adolphs plans to roll his wiener cart out daily, stationed in a private lot at Divisadero and Fell. He's in the midst of getting permits now.