What is Pannfisch, the Fish dish from Hamburg ?

mixed fish with fried potatos and mustard sauce and salad in a restaurant in hamburg

Pannfisch is a Hamburg fish dish that you should definitely try when visiting the Hanseatic city. The former poor people’s meal is nowadays a speciality of Hamburg’s cuisine, and it is impossible to imagine the local menu without it. But how did this dish come about, and how is it classically prepared? Read more about Pannfisch, also known as pan fish, or Hamburger Pannfisch below.

What is Hamburger Pannfisch

In short, Pannfisch is a traditional Hamburg dish, but now it is also common and popular throughout northern Germany. It includes fried potatoes, a choice of fried or boiled fish pieces, and a mustard sauce. Originally it was a “poor people’s meal” because it was very inexpensive, and the sauce had to serve its good purpose. Boiled potatoes from the day before were often used for fried potatoes, as well as leftover fish. Even today, different types of fish are still classically found in a portion of pan-fried fish. The fish leftovers, for example, at the fish market or sections of fresh fish, which was unsaleable. These leftovers could then be purchased cheaply after the early morning fish market. The original fish used for pan-fish were herring, cod, plaice and eel. Then the fish at home, just like the fried potatoes, crisply fried and served with a mustard sauce on a roux-based. The somewhat intense mustard sauce helped to also exaggerate the fish taste.

Pannfisch Hamburg in detail
Hamburger Pannfisch in detail

A classic of the North German cuisine

Nowadays you can still find Pannfisch on the menu in many restaurants in Hamburg and everywhere in Northern Germany. The proximity of the Elbe and the coasts of the North Sea and the Baltic Sea are ideal locations for such a fish dish. In restaurants, of course, with more selected fish fillets than in those days, and with a finely seasoned mustard sauce. Nowadays, the sauce no longer has to cover up a bad taste. The photos for this post were taken in the Hamburg restaurant Fisch & Co near the Speicherstadt, the price was just under 10 euros during my visit in early 2022. A quaint restaurant, which should definitely be visited when visiting Hamburg. Of course, there is Pannfisch also in noble restaurants or in hotel Restaurants on the menu. Another North German speciality is Labskaus, have you heard of it? Or have you already tasted it? Click on the following link to learn more about this classic dish: Labskaus consists of these ingredients and is classically served in Northern Germany.



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Outdoor Lifestyle Blogger Lisa JoyDellaVita

Lisa is a Blogger for more than a decade now, sharing her adventures exploring the world on JoyDellaVita, as well as excursions into the culinary world, sustainable choices, how to live a healthy active lifestyle but overall, how to enjoy a life full of joys.

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