Someone had told me that when asked "how's your food?" in Germany people sometimes responded with something along the lines of the German equivalent to "you can eat it", to mean that the food is good.

Is this true? And if so what would be the exact German phrase for that?

  • "You can eat it" doesn't contain any German word. It's a fully English phrase. Please ask your question here: english.stackexchange.com Feel free to ask questions about German phrases here on German.stackexchange. Commented May 5, 2021 at 12:00
  • @HubertSchölnast: The question concerning the German language is hidden, but it's there: And if so what would be the exact phrase for that? That is an on-topic phrase-request and also about idiomaticity, spoken-language and meaning-in-context. Commented May 5, 2021 at 12:22

1 Answer 1


I'd assume you mean something along the lines of "Kann man essen". That would be shortened version of "Das kann man essen", "Die Suppe kann man essen" or something similar.

For describing food, it's an average judgment. You can eat the food, it's not unedibely bad, but it's not fantastic either. As you said, "you can eat it", but not too much more.

It's also used in a tounge-in-cheeck way to describe food that actually is really good or that the cook is very proud of. In this case, you're basically pulling the person's leg by describing the food as average.

An even stronger phrase would be "Der Hunger treibt's rein", which is a shortened form of "Der Hunger treibt es hinein" (roughly "The hunger gets it into you" or "If you're hungry enough, you'd eat even that"). But I'd use that one in jest only with people you know very well.

  • 1
    There was a(n) (in)famous ad in the '70's that ended "My wife, I think I'll keep her." It was meant to be similarly tongue-in-cheek, but given the cultural changes then going on, and how easy it was to take the line out of context, it was not the best timing.
    – RDBury
    Commented May 1, 2021 at 18:13
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    I heard in Baden (SW-Germany) sentences like "Das kann essen" and especially "Das kann man wirklich essen". This didn't express that you just can eat the meal, but that it is very good.
    – harper
    Commented May 2, 2021 at 18:03
  • @harper True, this kind of irony (close to a litotes) is a pretty common figure of speech in Baden-Württembergian compliments (like da kann man nichts sagen/nicht meckern meaning perfect). Commented May 2, 2021 at 18:10
  • I think Henning nailed it with his explanation of "kann man essen" or "das kann man essen." In simple terms, it basically means it's average or "it's fine" Commented May 5, 2021 at 11:41
  • In the southwest of germany you might hear: "Net gschimpft isch globt gnug" (more or less: "no complaint is praise enough")
    – Lykanion
    Commented May 5, 2021 at 13:17

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