Talking about food in German using 'essen'

To talk about food and drink, use the verbs essen (to eat) and trinken (to drink):

  • Ich esse Pizza - I eat pizza.
  • Ich trinke Wasser - I drink water.
Ich esse Pizza

Look at the tables below. Can you see any food and drinks you like?

Food

GermanEnglish
der Salatsalad
der Kuchencake
der Toasttoast
der Apfelapple
die Pommeschips
die Pizzapizza
die Schokoladechocolate
die Nudelnpasta
die Marmeladejam
das Brotbread
das Obstfruit
das Gemüsevegetables
das Hähnchenchicken
das Currycurry
das Fleischmeat

Drinks

GermanEnglish
das Colacola
das Wasserwater
der Orangensaftorange juice
die Limonadelemonade
der Kaffeecoffee
die Milchmilk
der Teetea

Giving opinions on food and drink

To say you like something, add the adverb gern after the verb. Add nicht if you don’t like something.

  • Ich esse gern Salat - I like eating salad.
  • Ich trinke nicht gern Wasser - I don’t like drinking water.
Ich esse gern Salat

You can add more detail to your opinions by using denn (because) with adjectives.

  • Ich esse gern Kuchen, denn es ist lecker! - I like eating cake because it is tasty.
  • Ich esse gern Curry, denn es ist scharf! - I like eating curry because it is spicy.
Ich esse gern Kuchen, denn es ist lecker!

To ask someone about what food and drink they like, you can ask:

  • Was isst du gern? - What do you like to eat?
  • Was trinkst du gern? - What do you like to drink?
  • Was isst du nicht gern? - What don’t you like to eat?
  • Was trinkst du nicht gern? - What don’t you like to drink?

Talking about plural foods

When talking about a plural food or drink, change es ist (it is) to sie sind which means they are. Plural means more than one of something.

  • Ich esse nicht gern Pommes, denn sie sind salzig - I don’t like eating chips because they are salty.
  • Ich esse gern Kekse, denn sie sind süß - I like eating biscuits because they are sweet.
  • Ich esse gern Erdbeeren, denn sie sind köstlich - I like eating strawberries because they are delicious.

Can you write your own opinion sentences using the adjectives below?

GermanEnglish
dennbecause
sehrvery
nichtnot
köstlichdelicious
leckertasty
gesundhealthy
ekelhaftdisgusting
erfrischendrefreshing
süßsweet
scharfspicy
salzigsalty
Ich esse gern Erdbeeren, denn sie sind köstlich

Dietary requirements

Some people have special dietary requirements, meaning they can only eat certain foods. If you have any special dietary requirements, you may need the following phrases:

  • Ich esse kein Fleisch, denn ich bin Vegetarier - I don’t eat meat because I am vegetarian.
  • Ich trinke Sojamilch, denn ich bin Veganer - I drink soya milk because I am vegan.
  • Ich esse keine Nüsse, denn ich habe eine Allergie - I don’t eat nuts because I have an allergy.
  • Ich bin allergisch gegen Gluten - I am allergic to gluten.
  • Ich habe Zöliakie - I have coeliac disease.

To talk about a female vegetarian or vegan, add -in to the end of Vegetarier and Veganer.

  • Sie ist Vegetarierin - She is vegeterian.
  • Sie ist Veganerin - She is vegan.
GermanEnglish
das Halal-Fleischhalal meat
die Milchproduktedairy
die Eiereggs
die Nüssenuts
die Erdnüssepeanuts
das Gluten gluten
der Weizenwheat
die Zöliakiecoeliac disease

Talking about what you eat for different meals

Meals are an important part of talking about eating food. In German, the verb always has to be the second idea in a sentence. When talking or writing about meal times, place the verb straight after the meal phrase, like zum Frühstück (for breakfast) or zum Mittagessen (for lunch).

  • Zum Frühstück esse ich Toast und Marmelade - For breakfast I eat toast and jam.
  • Zum Mittagessen esse ich Pizza und ich trinke Wasser - For lunch I eat pizza and I drink water.
  • Zum Abendessen esse ich gern Hähnchen und Gemüse, denn es ist lecker - For dinner I like eating chicken and vegetables because it is tasty.

GermanEnglish
das Frühstückbreakfast
das Mittagessenlunch
das Abendessenevening meal/dinner

Quiz

Watch the video and test your understanding in this short quiz!

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