German words you need to know: Das Kostehäppchen

German words you need to know: Das Kostehäppchen
'Kostehäppchen' at an organic food festival in Nuremburg. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | David Ebener
Throughout Germany, there are countless opportunities to try delicious street food. This word is used to describe the exciting offer of a small taster of a dish.

If a vendor asks you, “Möchten Sie etwas kosten?”, they aren’t asking you to pay for anything – in fact it’s quite the opposite, they’re offering you a free sample. 

The verb ‘kosten’, while normally means ‘to cost’ (‘Wie viel kostet das? – How much does that cost?’), can also mean ‘to taste’. 

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‘Der Happen’ is the German word for an appetiser or nibble, and with the added diminutive ‘chen’ to make ‘das Häppchen’, means ‘little appetiser’. 

Altogether, ‘das Kostehäppchen’ can therefore be translated as ‘a small sample for tasting’. 

A vendor offers samples of salami at Berlin’s annnual wine fair. Photo: DPA

Germany’s flea markets, spring and summer festivals, as well as its beloved Christmas markets, see chances to try some new street food extend all year round, so keep an eye out for ‘Kostehäppchen’ on offer – they will most likely tempt you to indulge in a full portion.

READ ALSO: 10 mouth-watering foods you have to try while visiting Germany


Möchten Sie ein Kostehäppchen von dem Kaiserschmarrn? 

Would you like to try a small sample of the Kaiserschmarrn (pancakes)?

Es war ein toller Abend auf dem Weihnachtsmarkt. Wir haben deutsches Bier getrunken und auch viele Kostehäppchen von verschiedenen Stollensorten gegessen.

It was a great evening at the Christmas market. We drank lots of beer and also sampled lots of different types of Stollen (Christmas cake).

Ich werde um ein Kostehäppchen bitten, damit ich mir sicher bin, dass ich es kaufen möchte.

I’ll ask for a small sample, so that I can be sure that I’d like to buy it.

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