Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Herings im Martinswinkel: Cologne

I had a lunch at Herings im Martinswinkel located at Fischmarkt 9 in Cologne, Germany that I will probably always remember. There is a story behind it. I had been completely vegan, with no added oils (to the best I could under the circumstances) for 49 days (seven weeks) for health reasons and we were into our sixth day of Viking Rhine River cruise from Basel to Amsterdam. It had been extremely difficult staying vegan on the cruise as Viking served wonderful looking dinners and I was having a hard time finding enough vegan food to eat. As we got off the boat with a guide and started walking down the side of the Rhine we passed an area that our guide said was the historic fish market, just behind St. Martin's Church and a short distance from Cologne Cathedral. A fishmonger statue was in the square

with various fishmonger women in various poses. 
Our guide pointed to Herings im Martinswinkel, a small fish restaurant and bar nearby 
and said that if we wanted fish for lunch, that restaurant was a good one to try (the name of the restaurant means herring in Martin's corner, a reference to St. Martin's Church). He mentioned that herring was one of the fish that had been popular off the boats back in the day. I thought of our wonderful meal of herring at Timbaali Restaurant in Porvoo, Finland last year and decided that if I was going to do a food splurge on the trip, this might be the place to do it. We went on the visit Cologne Cathedral and the Roman Museum next door to it, then Judy and I went out in search for a place to eat and I steered back to find this place. I'm not sure it would have been extraordinary otherwise, but after seven weeks of eating vegan, the herring was a heavenly delight. The smoked herring was so good, I could have eaten much more of it. 

I can still taste it. I savored each bite. Close behind was the pickled herring in beet.
The smoked trout was good, but not quite as moist or flavorful as the smoked herring. 
From there, the food was in the average to less than average category, but those first items were so good, that it continues to stand out in my mind. The breaded and fried anchovies were kind of charred and not very tasty. The shrimp was mediocre. Fairly tasteless. The breaded and fried fish fingers dipped in tartar sauce were good, but I had a hard time getting beyond the fat I was consuming between the breading, frying and mayonnaise in the tartar sauce. But oh, the herring.  And I did enjoy some of the fish related decor.
Going back to the fishmonger statue, I think those in our group who would have seen me eating this meal would have had this reaction. 
But this was my reaction. 
Judy asked me how I felt about it: eating this meal after seven weeks of eating vegan. My body had no adverse reaction and (unfortunately) the fish still tasted wonderful (some have said that after weeks of being vegan, meat no longer tasted good to them). I did have four more days on the trip where I ate non-vegan, most notably some more herring from a small vendor near the Leiden train station. Again divine. It was hard in a large group to find good vegan alternatives. However, as of this post, I have been vegan again for four weeks and feeling good. 


  1. Your will-power was amazing. I'm proud of you!
    I love your take on the statue.

  2. Yes, we were all blown away by your will-power. Your comparisons to the statue made me laugh.