How to talk about food in German

Imagine you’re eating a meal in Germany, either in a restaurant or at somebody’s house, and you’re being asked: “Schmeckt’s?” (Or possibly ‘Schmeckt es dir/ Ihnen?’) because the host/ waiter wants to know if the meal tastes alright.

What do you answer?

A quick and easy answer could be “Ja, gut.” Or you could say “Es schmeckt lecker.” (‘It is/ tastes tasty/ delicious/ yummy…’)

But what, if you wish to say more?

Let’s look at some adjectives in connection with food:

  • aromatisch – aromatic
  • bitter – bitter
  • eklig – disgusting
  • hart – hard
  • heiß – hot
  • kalt – cold
  • klebrig – sticky
  • knackig – crunchy, crisps
  • krümelig – crumbly
  • lecker – tasty
  • saftig – juicy
  • salzig – salty
  • sauer – sour
  • scharf – spicy/ hot
  • süß – sweet
  • trocken – dry
  • ungenießbar – inedible
  • warm – warm
  • zäh – tough

With these adjectives (and others, of course) you can make simple sentences by just adding ‘das ist’ (that is):

Das ist heiß/ lecker/ ungenießbar = That’s hot/ tasty/ inedible 

You could also add ‘sehr’ (very) before the adjective:

Das ist sehr bitter/ sauer/ süß = That’s very bitter/ sour/ sweet

Alternatively, you might want to add ‘zu’ (too):

Das ist zu kalt/ heiß/ scharf = That’s too cold/ hot/ spicy

But if you use ‘so’ instead of ‘zu’, you’ve turned it into a positive sentence:

Das ist so saftig = That’s so juicy.

Other alternatives to add between ‘das ist’ and the adjective are ‘nicht’ (not) ‘ziemlich (quite a bit), ‘ein bisschen’ (a little), ‘ein bisschen zu’ ( a little too), ‘gar nicht’ (not at all) or ‘total’ (completely). And you can replace the ‘das’ at the beginning of the sentence with a particular item if food.

So, to recap, for complaints you can use:

  • Der Wein ist zu trocken. – The wine is too dry.
  • Die Suppe schmeckt nicht lecker. – The soup doesn’t taste nice.
  • Die Suppe schmeckt gar nicht lecker. – The soup doesn’t taste nice at all.
  • Die Suppe ist ein bisschen heiß. – The soup is a little hot.
  • Die Suppe ist ein bisschen zu heiß. – The soup is a little too hot.
  • Das Fleisch ist zu zäh. – The meat is too tough.
  • Das Fleisch ist ein bisschen zu zäh. – the meat is a little bit too tough.
  • Der Eintopf ist ungenießbar. – The stew is inedible.
  • Der Eintopf ist total ungenießbar. – the stew is completely inedible.

Hopefully, though, you’ll want to compliment the chef and say things like:

  • Der Eintopf schmeckt lecker. – The stew is tasty.
  • Der Eintopf schmeckt sehr lecker. – The stew is very tasty.
  • Der Eintopf schmeckt so lecker. – The stew is so tasty.
  • Das Eis schmeckt total lecker. – The ice cream is completely/ so delicious.

So, there you have it! Next time you’re in Germany and somebody asks you if the food is good, you can give an honest answer. Or just say …

Of course, these types of sentences can be used for other things, too. For example, you can now say:“Angelika’s Blog ist total super!”



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