"After 11 years I finally found it," a German colleague told me over lunch the other day. He wasn't talking about the perfect job. He was talking about currywurst, sliced sausage smothered in ketchup and curry powder. It's a diner or street-food dish, most popular in Berlin. To understand the popularity of currywurst, you need to know that there is a currywurst museum in Berlin. You also need to know, said my colleague, that the sausage must be grilled, and must not contain boiled Vienna sausages.

It was at Kaiserhof (B1 Shin-Tokyo Bldg., 3-3-1 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; 03-5224-6028; www.eyema-ent.co.jp) that the currywurst, properly prepared, was discovered at last. (Well, almost properly prepared: French fries would have been better than grilled potatoes.) Kaiserhof does a number of German classics, such as eisbein (pickled ham hock), spätzle (pasta-like dumplings) and a whole lot of wurst (sausages). The latter are served on hot cast-iron pans with sauerkraut, flavored — appropriately — with caraway seeds. There's apfelstrudel (apple strudel) for dessert. Given the chandeliers, Baroque ceiling paintings and waitresses in lederhosen, Kaiserhof could be unbearably (or delightfully) kitsch. Surprisingly it isn't, perhaps because the food clearly comes first. It's actually a casual, comfortable place. Currywurst is ¥1,580.

The folks behind Kaiserhof also run the beer hall Zum Bierhof, with locations in Shinjuku (5F Imamiya Bldg., 1-16-1 Kabukicho, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; 03-5155-0908) and Shibuya (4F Chitose Kaikan Bldg., 13-8 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-5459-1598; www.eyema-ent.co.jp). The menu at Zum Bierhof isn't as extensive or as fancy as at Kaiserhof, but you can get currywurst (and it's cheaper, at ¥1,029). Both Kaiserhof and Zum Bierhof serve beer from Hofbräuhaus, Munich's famous 400-year-old beer hall (though at a hefty mark-up). And yes, you can get it in a mass (1-liter beer mug).