Eisbein. Knuckle of pork with pea puree is a Berlin national dish. It is also a staple in Bavaria where it is known as Schweinshax’n and in Franconia where it is called Knöchla a kind of national dish there too. The Hax’n is served fried, grilled or braised. In contrast, Eisbein is first cured and then boiled. Where the knuckle of pork got its name could be traced back to the fact that the shin bone of the pig was used to make runners, i.e. ice skates. After all, the Germans of the old were often on the move and had to make their move in snow and ice as easy as possible.
Allegedly they are said to have used the runners made of sturdy tubular bones 4000 years ago and the ancient Teutons already glided over the ice with them. However, it is rather unlikely that the name actually comes from this. Although it’s the nicer version. It is actually more realistic than the word Eisbein is derived from the Old High German word “Isben”, an old word from the technical language of hunters and doctors for hip bone – probably borrowed from the Latin Ischia, Greek Ischíon for hip bone, hip. (Many can tell a song about it when the ischion nerve is irritated and the pain radiates up to the leg). But enough of the story. What about the taste? Long story short. There’s a reason why this is among the top 3 in Berlin’s menus. You should also opt for boiled potatoes, sauerkraut, and mustard as a true German would do.