Saturday, 25 October 2014

Munich: Rubenbauer Restaurant

Let Your Whole Body Absorb the Cultural Shock. 


Etta insisted that we MUST try pork knuckle while in Germany. No objection from me as I've a soft spot for Chinese roasted pig trot. So I would like to try a German version of this Chinese pig trot. Actually, Western butchers don't have such a pork cut. The lowest cut of the pig is the ham hock or knuckle. The pig trot is the part below the knuckle cut. Chinese (and French) eat every part of all animals. No wastage.

After the Salzburg tour, we took a train back to Munich Hbf. We were starving, and wanted to silent the stomach rumblings ASAP. We found Rubenbauer Restaurant in Munich Hbf that served pork knuckle. Halleluyah! Praise the Lord! (or praise to Greek philosopher Epicurus).

Rubenbauer restaurant, Munich, Germany


We ordered a pork knuckle and a pasta (my stomach can't consider a meal complete without some carbo).

Pork knuckle in Rubenbauer restaurant, Munich, Germany
Pork knuckle in Rubenbauer restaurant
It accompanied by sauerkraut (on the left) and 2 big onions.

Side Order of Side Gag
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The pasta made me sick. Let me explain. Some food makes people homesick because it reminds them of their hometown. This pasta reminds me of my own cooking, and so it makes me sick of me. Get it?

No, the pasta didn't make me physically sick, nor I'm sick of myself. It's a compliment. The question is, is this compliment to the chef or to me?
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As far as the pork knuckle is concerned, I'm partial for the Chinese roasted pig trot. The reason why I prefer the pig trot over the pork knuckle, and why Western butcher shops don't sell this cut is the same: pig trot has little meat. But that's why I like pig trot, it's nearly all skin. And crispy skins is the best part.

I'm also a big fan of Chinese roast pork and suckling pigs. If you don't have access to a Chinese BBQ restaurants - as far as I can tell, it's as rare as hen's teeth in Germany, or Europe in general - give this German pork knuckle a taste test, and experience an uniquely German cuisine.

It certainly gives a run for your money for under €12.80. The knuckle could have been easily weighed over 1.5 kg. We couldn't finish it together. Quality wise, the meat is a little bit dry, but was okay. The sauerkraut wasn't too shabby.


We saw a drink recommendation that looks like some non-alcoholic drink (I'm a teetotaler), and so I ordered it.

mulled wine, Rubenbauer restaurant, Munich
Gluhwein
One sip, and I was recoiled in horror because it was alcoholic. I think it was a high proof spirit like  vodka or gin.  As I said, I'm not a drinker (anymore), and so I can't be sure.

I was a little thick because I should know that the 2nd word in "gluhwein" is German for "wine" (just scramble the English word for "wine"and you get "wein", and sounds very similar. Should be easy to remember).

I was blinded by the fact that only a non-alcoholic drink could be this cheap. The mineral water we ordered was more expensive. Surely water is more expensive than wine? Why else the medieval alchemists all wanted to turn water into wine (and turning lead into gold as a side gig).

Besides, who would serve alcohol in a tea cup?

After a little after-the-dinner googling (don't you know it's all the rage right now?), it turned out that "gluhwein" is German for "mulled wine", and it could be non-alcoholic, despite being called a wine. The photo in the above photo shows the drink to be of dark colour, but when it came out, it was clear (the yellow tint comes from wrong white balance setting in my camera). I asked the waiter if the order is wrong by pointing out the difference in colour. He assured us it was the drink we ordered.

I could ask the waiter to explain what it was, but he understood little English. When Etta ordered a mineral water, he asked if we wanted a big or small bottle. Etta replied "large". He said, "only big or small. No large".

We're anything but unadventurous, so we ordered the gluhwein (by pointing to the picture).

Good or repulsive, something to tell my children (ok, my friends's children).

Don't just let your eyes have all the fun while overseas, let your taste-buds in on some of the cultural shock as well.

P.S. Rubenbauer Restaurant we dined in is only a part of the larger Rubenbauer food market in Munich Hbf that also has many food stands/stalls that sell everything from Italian, Asian food to supermarket. We also checked out the Turkish food stand where we bought a doner kebab and some chicken wings. The doner kebab is not bad, but the chicken wings is the one we went back the next day for more. It's juicy, tender and has spicy and tasty seasoning (no, it's not buffalo wings seasoning. Better). It's great to go with bread rolls/baguette and beer (a Cola for me). It's a quick, simple, yet delicious meal. Sometimes, ok most of the times, the simplest things are the best.

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