The Next Big Thing in Street Food? The Wearable Grill!

by S. Irene Virbila |

In Berlin, I found this wurst vendor staked out on the pedestrian bridge leading to Museum Island. While Berliners sunned themselves in canvas beach chairs sprinkled on the grassy banks of the Spree, this fellow sweated under his umbrella grilling wursts. For 1.5 euros, or about $2.25 at the current exchange rate, you get a freshly grilled sausage in a bun.

This guy’s wearable grill is pretty ingenious: The rectangular grill is worn in front , cigarette girl-style, counterbalanced by a brace and supply box at the back. An umbrella is part of the outfit too, shading  him (barely) from the  sun. He looks strong and fit, but even so, what a hard job. I wonder how he got there. Did he wear this getup on the subway or the bus? Or does it come apart and stow in a canvas carryall? Another day, I saw a sturdy blond woman in a similar getup working the crowd.

The wearable grill may be new, but the idea of street food vendors hanging their goods on their bodies isn’t. Somewhere I have a collection of images of street food vendors from, I think,  the 18th century. (My books and papers are all boxed up right now so I can’t find it.) Instead of a big umbrella, though, they usually wore a hat with a wide brim for shade.