A heat scale of Berlin currywurst
If you're going to Berlin, you'll want to get a currywurst (it's chopped brat/ketchup/curry/happiness) and depending on how wussy/psychopathic your taste buds are, you'll want to know just how hot the goods are. To help you pick just the right mouth-scorcher, we bravely ate our way through Berlin's finest curried treats and ranked them by their likeliness to immolate your tongue.
This place has earned a mean rep for having the best currywurst in the city. It's not on the menu but ask for it "scharf" (that's hot, apparently) and you'll scarf down a 'wurst doused in chili flakes & powder. The heat? Just barely-tingles-your-tongue. A-friend-accidentally-grazed-their-cigarette-into-your-arm-but-you're-super-drunk-so-barely-noticed hot. Taste-wise, however, it’s definitely the best in terms of flavor of wurst, which means you’ll likely be chomping down next to an actual Berliner, even in the touristy West Berlin locale.
This food cart offers tons of levels, from not hot w/ sweet banana chilies to the 10++ "The Source" offering up 7.1 million Scoville units. We sampled the #10 Habanero, ringing in at 100,000 Scovilles, just enough spice to wake us up -- it was for breakfast. Heat is light, playful, and mildly alarming. You'll find this food cart in a quiet West Berlin farmers market Wed and Sat only until 1p, so go get your currywurst on early time.
This place gets points for making its own house spicy sauce, peppered w/ chili flakes, which registers around a level three, or 200,000 on the Scoville scale. It’s just enough spice to get your eyes watering w/ a good kick in the back of your throat. The heat is rare, piercing, and kind of like getting slapped on a sunburnt belly by someone you love. Order a side of crispy fries to help soak up some of the heat.
The Kult isn’t magic Kool-Aid, only finger-lickin’ hot-as-hell currywurst. The combination of ketchup and chili powder makes for a mouth-watering experience, and the place is run by the son of Konnopke’s owner, another big name Berlin currywurst maker, so you can add in your two cents to the city’s rivalry while your ears cool off from the flames. The heat is wide-eyed, almost irreverent, like holding a lit match way too long to impress some semi-hot girl at a party which sucks anyway.
Like, really hot
A lot of the shops in Berlin skip the creative name game in lieu of their street number. Curry 66 does the same, but they also have something like 66 levels of hotness. The house sauce has a nice tangy kick, but for a heart burnin’ overload, order #8. The heat is bold and unrelenting, like spooning someone in mid-Summer and realizing you can't detach until they fall asleep.
Curry & Chili
You can see through time
Curry & Chili wins the award for spiciest hands down -- literally, they took the 2013 Curry Cup award, giving them legitimate claim of the spiciest currywurst in Germany. While #5 coats your mouth entirely with spice and #6 started to numb our chest w/ the sweet pain of capsaicin, just a tiny taste of #10 on the tip of our tongue -- that’s 7.7 million on the Scoville scale -- and we were crying like babies for a brötchen to help soothe our screeching throat. The heat is pure, focussed, brilliant pain, which pushes through to some kind of transcendent nirvanic numbing bliss. For those who can take all the different levels, your mug shot will be slapped on the side of the cart.