It has always been a delicious – if somewhat greasy – meal for Germans. Some even call it their national dish. But the döner kebab has now become a symbol of the country’s cost of living crisis, following warnings that the dish could soon cost more than €10 per portion.
Germans are so concerned about rising prices that kebab was discussed this week in the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament. Green MP Hanna Steinmüller raised the issue after being approached by concerned members of a frisbee club in Gesundbrunnen, part of her constituency in Berlin.
One of the biggest concerns of Frisbee players, she told MPs, was the “increased kebab prices”, which are estimated to have risen from around €3.50 in 2022 to at least €6 in recent months. Lately, döner stands have been steadily raising their prices to keep up with the rising costs of ingredients, especially tomatoes and bread. In November, a major döner producer warned that it is becoming a “luxury dish” that could soon cost 10 euros.
“I know that for many people here this is not an everyday topic at all and that they may sometimes feel contempt for it. But I promised them that we would at least make this visible here,” said Steinmüller.
Abroad, döner kebab is often associated with a late bite during a night out. In Germany, however, the dish has a proud tradition dating back to the 1960s, when it was introduced by Turkish guest workers. Pieces of juicy meat scraped from a rotisserie spit and served in a fistful of bread with a variety of salads and sauces. Or, as the Germans started calling it: döner.
The dish is especially popular in the capital Berlin. But now locals are complaining about how difficult it is to find a good, honest kebab for 3 euros these days.