It was my very first time in Shanghai, China and it couldn’t have been better: we did a ton of walks through the districts, marvelled at the many pink and white magnolia flowers that had just bloomed, and planned our days around where we would eat for lunch and dinner. We ate so much and we ate so well! Mostly at places serving various Chinese cuisines, so we could enjoy the many very seasonal vegetables and dishes only available in the weeks of early spring. We’ve also visited the Jing’An temple, the Yayoi Kusama exhibition, the Arts & Crafts museum (where I should’ve bought that glass statuette of my Chinese zodiac sign), wandered through gardens and roamed many, many, many malls. Mainly to walk off the last meal and create space for the next…
There is one aspect of our travel we all benefitted from immensely: we visited a friend now based in Berlin, who was born and raised in Shanghai, namely Ash Lee of Chungking Noodles. I don’t speak any Chinese and came to realize that it’s quite tough to navigate without knowledge of the language. The few times we did try we stuck to foreigner-friendly places with an English menu and just accepted that what we received often wasn’t what we ordered. Which can be an issue if you’re not in the mood for meat or fish, but overall we were quite successful.
Hence, many of the places and dishes in this list aren’t really accessible to people not speaking Chinese, Ash usually did the ordering for us. Most snack places, like the ice cream and tea stores have English menus where you should point at the item you want instead of ordering it verbally. (We thought a laser pointer might be handy when the menu is only on a board behind the counter, like at HeyTea). Many things are done via wechat, from ordering cabs to bubble tea, to actual payments. Some stores will be surprised you want to pay with cash, but just insist on it. A good thing to try would be an instant translating app (that works offline), I would definitely bring that the next time.
So here’s where we ate and why I liked it. It’s only Shanghai, we did a trip to Hangzhou at the end of our tour which has lovely temples, gardens, and a culinary history museum but the restaurants we picked weren’t outstanding so I don’t have particular recommendations.
Xin Le Noodles House 心乐面馆
Falling out of the plane in the morning after such a long flight was rough… so first thing we did after storing our luggage was meet with friends and order a ton of noodles, sour plum lemonade and some stir fried pea shoots at a casual eatery close by the French Concession district. I was veeeery tired, but I managed to eat up all these noodles with sauce. Which, admittedly, didn’t help with the jetlag. Afterwards we schlepped ourselves through the streets, happy to find a Happy Lemon lemonade stand where we purchased a gigantic cup of lemon kumquat iced tea that pushed us through the day. 120 Jinxian Rd 进贤路120号, Shanghai
La Famille 南麓浙里
Miraculously still awake, we followed Ash to this slightly upscale but still pretty casual restaurant specialized in Shanghainese cuisine, which is a more mellow and slightly sweet type of cuisine. The emphasis is placed on the original flavour of the ingredients used, it’s sweet and slightly sour, and has loads of veggies to try. At La Famille we had spring bamboo shoots for the first time, one of the many very seasonal vegetables we’d taste, and probably my favourite. The fresh, braised shoots are pictured in the back on salad leaves. In the front is a salad that was one of my favourite dishes of the whole trip: a quite thick leaved salad with very young walnuts. The textures of these were so interesting, almost meaty in quality. We did not find out what the Western translation of this salad might be, I’ve also only had it in this restaurant and saw it packaged in one fancy supermarket. But it will remain on my mind forever. Julu Road No. 768, 1F
Instead of lunch, our first meal of the second day was a mountain of shaved ice at Ice Monster, a chain that might’ve left Shanghai after we did, not entirely sure about that. If you see the monster around (Beijing and Taiwan have a couple), make sure you try it. The shaved ice is flavoured through and through and, if you order the boba tea version, comes with tapioka pearls! Portions are giant and super delicious!
Benzhen Sichuan Cuisine 本甄精品川菜
After loads more of walking around and around, we were ready for the full chili-serving everyone kind of expects when traveling to China. Ash ordered all the chili and Sichuan peppercorn filled dishes for us, from vegetarian Mapo tofu (soft soybean curd cubes in a chili and beancurd sauce), to cabbage with (ton of) dried chili, to frog stew and a dish called “find the chicken”, which is basically chili but also has some parts of a chicken in it. Eating this mouth-tingly and heat-inducing spicy is exhausting but also very joyful, you won’t be able to stop even though it kind of hurts. Mala, numbing spiciness, is very important in Sichuan food, and I made the experience that if you have a lot of that and your mouth is kind of numbed out, many things start to taste very sour. Which is an unexpected add-on, I’d say. We had a private room in this restaurant, which is handy if you wanna sweat in peace. The place was packed at peak dinner time around 6pm, so if you come a bit later it should be less of a problem to get a table. Hubin Road No. 150, 3F, Shanghai
Shanghainese soup dumplings, xiao long bao, are iconic but not readily available as a vegetarian version so I sat this one out while my friends stuffed their faces with the dimpled, soup filled balls. This eatery is very casual with a huge number of people swiping through. The feel is quite canteen, dumplings are served quick and aplenty. I enjoyed a noodle soup with mushrooms and gluten balls (the brown slime in the image) and all the braised gluten (top right, Shaniu in Berlin has a great version of this). The broth of the soup was so earthy delicious, I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. Would love to have a bowl of this ready for breakfast any morning. 2428 Xietu Road, Shanghai
Zakuzaku ice cream
There are a ton of malls in Shanghai, some stand alone, some just to adorn a metro station and many of them filled with tons of food options. One of my favourite ice cream kinds of all kinds is soft serve, and the one at this metro adjacent mall is amazingly creamy – Zakuzaku is a brand from Hokkaido, Japan and actually does cream puffs, but why not do soft serve on the side? There are three Zakuzaku places in Shanghai, so keep your eyes open. Metro City, Zhaojiangbang Road No. 1111, Shanghai
Xinjiang food was entirely new to me. Xinjiang is a huge region in northwestern China, bordering countries from Russia to India. It’s also home to Muslim Chinese, mainly the Uyghur people (who I know from my trip to Uzbekistan), and this influences the food. Hand pulled noodles is a big thing in Xinjiang, whether it’s Uyghur style or other minorities’ dishes, you can find it under the name laghman or, Chinese, lamian. Ash chose Jiang for us, a modern place inside of a mall. We had the most delicious cold, spongy tofu with chili sauce, egg and tomato (a personal fav of mine, that some people dare to call basic), and noodles in a sour sauce that easily made it to the top dishes of our trip list.
I have not found any Xinjiang place in Berlin, but there are two Uyghur places in Munich, that might be worth checking out. Jiaozhou Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai
喜茶 Hey Tea
So, Shanghai (as much of East and South East Asia) is great for leisurely beverages – there’s a ton of lemonade and tea shops around with everything from passion fruit lemonade to yakult green tea (so good!) and obviously bubble tea. You can constantly sip on some refreshing beverage and we made use of this luxury a whole lot. The current star of the bunch is a gigantic chain called Hey Tea, that despite around 9 people making tea and fruit beverages, is so busy, it’ll take about 25mins from ordering to receiving your tea. Most of them are huge, more like a meal or snack than just a beverage but it is a delight you should not miss out on. It can be hard to order without knowing Chinese (my best results were always when Ash ordered for me), but just go for it. And definitely try the green tea with lightly salted cheese topping, which is really just unsweetened cream. They also have tea flavored soft serve (with boba, if you like)!
10 days of daily Hey Tea got me in the mood to try the last remaining bubble tea shops in Berlin, but the results have been disappointing (despite everything made at ComeBuy, which is just as slow as Hey Tea, even though they don’t even have a third of the orders.)
Fu He Hui 福和慧
We had one really fancy meal while in Shanghai at the No. 30 of Asia’s 50 Best Restaurant list, adorned with one Michelin star: Fu He Hui is located in a modern building with very minimal decor, almost Japanese in feel. It’s part of a restaurant group under renowned chef Tony Lu and it’s the only one in the group serving exclusively vegetarian menus. We start with edible leafs, then intricately arranged spring bamboo with mushroom broth, a pumpkin filled with rolled pumpkin and sticky rice, white fungus in seaweed broth, and finally a giant (vegetarian!) soup dumpling with an almost too generous topping of fresh truffle. Pictured here is the dessert, black sesame ice cream in the form of a stone, placed on a stone dusted with matcha. We also went for the tea pairing which was my personal highlight of the meal. Not only because their tea cups are stunning (and there’s a different one with every tea), but also because the tea is just super interesting and unusual, while not overpowering. 1037 Yuyuan Rd, Changning Qu, Shanghai
Softree is a Korean soft serve ice cream brand with a ton of extravagant ice cream options on their website (tomato ice cream? soft serve topped with grated Italian cheese??). Their main offer in Shanghai is their signature organic and very milky soft serve topped with cotton candy (no kidding). I did not go for the cotton candy, but I had a portion of their ice cream and it’s deliciously good. We specifically went into this mall just to have this ice cream and yes, that’s how you do it. K11 Mall Middle Huaihai Road No. 300, Shanghai
As said before, I was super impressed with Xianjiang food and happily agreed to visit another renowned place to enjoy it. This one’s located in (another) mall and is also represented in the cover photo of this post. Here, I especially enjoyed a dish I’m usually sneered at for because it’s so simple: egg, tomato and fresh noodles. I can’t help but love it and I wish there was a place in Berlin to have it (except from my home, because it is ridiculously easy to make, they say).
If you happen to go to Tarhar or the area, you can easily walk from there to one of the most interesting sites we have visited: Longhua Temple has what I thought was the most exciting art work, one of them being golden statues of the 500 arhats, all of them with individual facial expressions. We only found out later it’s the largest and most authentic temple in Shanghai! 2701 Xietu Rd, WanTiGuan, Xuhui Qu, Shanghai
Alright, on to another special Chinese cuisine, that of Yunnan, a southwestern province bordering Vietnam, Laos and Myanmar. Like Xianjiang, I’ve never had it before and was super excited. We went to Slurp! on a night without our super supportive Ash and the language barrier was no issue (which is why she recommended it to us…). This place is teeny-tiny and packed, but even if you have to wait it’s very worth it. We ordered the mashed potato with mustard greens and chilis, mint salad with pickled pear, and noodles with very fresh tofu (and chilis), a famous Yunnan dish I have amateurishly recreated many times at home since. Everything was super delicious, fresh and spicy, slightly lighter than other Chinese food and adorned with many fresh herbs. Do De Li on Berlin’s Kantstraße is serving one of the signature Yunnan soups called Crossing the Bridge, and I will definitely check these out asap. 70 Maoming N Rd, Jingan Qu, Shanghai
金花 Jin Hua – “Golden Flower”
My friend Daliah Spiegel, who I know from Vienna, moved to Shanghai to open an Austrian restaurant and brunch place and after doing that for a couple of years just recently closed it to renovate and reopen it as a Yunnan restaurant in cooperation with the team from Slurp!. I didn’t know about that before and was very pleasantly surprised after stepping into her newly decorated spot after getting soaked in the rain. She served us lotus roots, fried goat cheese (a Yunnan speciality) and a salad with pickled leek flowers. Yunnan food uses fresh chilis, herbs and lime juice, so it’s that perfect combo of sour and spicy and herbilicious. 408 Shaanxi North Road, Shanghai
Speak Low Bar
You will enter this speakeasy through a secret / not so secret door in the back of a bar tools store on Fuxing Road, to discover two delightful rooms where skilled bartenders wait for your order. (There’s apparently a third room only accessible to members / trusty clients). All of the drinks we tried were very elaborate, one came in a pyramid of wooden cubes with the lower one filled with dried ice, another was served in a whole pineapple and came with a paper parasol. It’s bordering on kitsch, but the drinks are excellent so it’s more of an entertaining add-on than an annoying gimmick. 579 Fuxing Middle Road, Shanghai
Hai Di Lao
We couldn’t leave without eating hot pot, so on our final day in Shanghai we went for the full experience, including complimentary manicure while waiting (were too late for that), a buffet of sauce to make your own, covers for our phones, jackets and ourselves (aprons). This four part hot pot was made of tomato, mushroom, fish and chilli broth and we ordered a ton of stuff to put into. From blood cake and duck feets for my friends, to tofu, lotus roots and cabbage for myself. In between we got the hand pulled noodles with a very exciting pulling performance by a dancing chef. All in all a delightful experience I’d like to repeat any time.
In Berlin, you can have hot pot at Lucky Star and, irregularly, at Liu in Mitte. 4/F, 1 Dapu Lu, near Xujiahui Lu, Shanghai
Are you frolicking in the sun while reading this? Reveling in the great expectation that is a long, free weekend with tons of sunshine and warm weather? Ohh, me too! Nothing quite like Berlin awakening from six months of depressing grey and remodeling itself into the green oasis we all love and need. After ten days in Shanghai, where I ate excellent food from morning till night (guide still to come), I’m readjusting to the local circumstances by being extra careful where to exchange money for food. So this one’s mostly old faves (plus a new highlight all the way at the end of the post). Starting today, I’ll be on the lookout for new food spots, and will let you know about the success of my discoveries asap, hopefully. Until then, enjoy the weekend!
Companion Tea & Coffee
This one’s such a pretty shop, and their lunch menu is so easy going yet quite delicious, I wish I was around the corner more often to hang in their booths. This is the lunch sandwich, with some ferments, fresh veggies, cilantro and cucumber on sourdough bread. If you’re there, don’t forget to order one of the teas and the pandan layer cake.
However, it’s so pretty, people love to use it as a free working space, making the atmosphere borderline office. Which, on the other hand, is great to get some book reading done.
The Smells Like collective is celebrating and exploring food heritage, culture and identity in regular meetings and had its first public outing just two weeks ago with a feast! They cooked up a plate full of goodies from Punjab, a region divided by the border between Pakistan and India. I got the very first plate and enjoyed the intense flavours of the five heart warming single dishes and their well rounded composition so much, I wish this one was a regular thing. Keep your eyes open for whatever is coming next from this very exciting project, and follow their Instagram!
I’m super happy that so many of you like Crazy Kims, the almost new Korean restaurant next to Markthalle Neun. I came back for a huge roll of Gimbap and many banchan just after I returned from a trip to Shanghai. Every meal here has to start with a plate of the veggie mandu which are covered in a sheet of extra crispy potato starch.
This place is not only fun to look at with its many quirky wall decorations, but also delicious to eat at. These are the Szechuan noodles with an egg on top, and also spring onions, mustard greens, radishes and pineapple. The latter wasn’t totally necessary, but this might be my personal issue, stemming from years of German party food, that likes to combine canned pineapple, ham, and cheese on toast.
Lausitzer Platz 12A
10997 Berlin Kreuzberg
Mon–Fri 12:00–21:00, Sat 12:00–22:00
Da Jia Le
I knew it’d be difficult to have Chinese food in Berlin after 10 days in the land of its origin, but I still stand by my take on Da Jia Le being one of my favourite Chinese food places in this city. We usually order the same things here, the aubergine hot pot, the tofu skin salad (always!), the spicy potato stripes and a rotating set of tofu dishes. It’s reliable, satisfying and I just really like the atmosphere in that giant hall.
Long awaited, finally it’s happening: the brick and mortar restaurant of local das brunch-superstars Sophie and Xenia von Oswald, Rocket & Basil has opened its minty doors to the public. They’ve just been up and running for about a month and are already a big hit with hungry morning-people. After I finished my omelette, I enjoyed their pancakes, pictured here, with banana, barberries and a load of pistachio. The savoury dishes are covered in fresh herbs, there’s never a shortage of saffron, and you should always order an extra side of spicy tahini sauce with everything (except, maybe, the pancakes). Their leisurely food style, the excellent Cremant, and the refreshing interior make this spot certainly the most coveted of the season. They also do lunch, by the way, and have a range of baked goods that I still need to try…
Here’s to spring! All the petals and blossoms really pitched the mood in the city, everybody is slowly getting rid of winter feels and into their sunny madness. What could be a better time to look at the renewal happening in the foodie scene? Admittedly, my willingness to keep up with the speed of current openings (and closings, for that matter) is very, very limited. So many people are opening so many restaurants right now – I’m often just overwhelmed by the sheer number of places calling for attention. Fret not, I invested the time to wade through the streams of opening announcements and filtered out the ones I deem most interesting, just by affiliation, description and / or plain, old foodie gossip. Let’s see which ones will make it onto our regular radar, shall we?
A couple years ago, most of Berlin’s bubble tea places were brought down by a media campaign based on a feeble study alleging that the bubbles might be causing cancer. Despite plenty disproofs of this claim (which was, to be frank, also motivated by racist stereotypes), the bubble tea business was irrevocably harmed and only a few places still offered the tapioca pearl drinks. However, people might be over it and we might be able to re-enter a phase where there’s more choice to quench your thirst than naturtrübe Apfelschorle. An’s Tea House looks very much like an artisanal bubble tea place, and after 10 bubble filled days in Shanghai in March, I am delighted to see not only yakult green tea, but taro milk tea and several jelly teas! Can’t wait to go and try.
Torstraße 41, 10119 Berlin Mitte, Mon–Fri 12:00–20:00, Sat 12:00–21:00, Sun 13:00–19:00
Martin Gropius Bau is an Italian-renaissance-style exhibition building nestled in a street with a ton of history (next to it was the head quarter of SS and Gestapo, there’s still a stretch of the original wall, and opposite stands today’s ministry of finance in one of the only 3rd Reich buildings left, in which also, curve ball, the GDR was founded in 1949). For many years the Martin Gropius Bau’s museum gastronomy was not worth mentioning. Until now, when a remodelling of the whole building also opened up its café for a new owner. Open since March, it’s a collaboration of local baking queen Cynthia Barcomi and Shani Leiderman (fun fact, the two met at one of the meetings of my beloved side hustle, the feminist food club!) Let’s see how they fill the space with new life!
Niederkirchnerstraße 7, 10963 Berlin Kreuzberg, Wed–Mon 10:00–19:00
Another museum gastronomy that’s been in a bit of a hibernation is this Dan Graham designed pavilion in the yard of KunstWerke, an exhibition hall for ultra-contemporary art. It’s just now re-opening under the guidance of Bon Bock, a culinary residency program that’s venturing into café-ing with baked goods by Tausendsuend and Albatross, as well as soups and sandwiches. I always thought it was a pity that this stunning architecture felt quite neglected in the past years so it’ll be a very good reason to return to the artsy Hof in the center of Mitte.
Auguststraße 69, 10117 Berlin Mitte, Wed-Mon 10.30–18:00, Thu 11:00–00:00 (depending on events)
This is the first vegan AND zero waste restaurant in the city, which wouldn’t be any guarantee of success if the food wasn’t anything to write home about – however, I’ve already heard quite good things about it even though this place literally just opened. Born out of a crowdfunding campaign, they’re focussing on weekday lunch and weekend dinners with a Norwegian head chef serving their own sourdough bread, salads, freshly made pasta, and much more.
Torstraße 180, 10115 Berlin Mitte, Mon–Thu 12:00–16:00, Fri & Sat 12:00–16:00, 18:00–22:00
A new ice cream place! I love that the ice cream season is starting again, so yay! It’s in Steglitz, it’s all organic, and it’s named after a cat! What more can you ask for?
Schoeneberger Strasse 11, 12163 Berlin Steglitz, daily 12:00–20:00
It’s been a delight to watch the growing appreciation of Thai food in Berlin, Dalad Kambhu just received her very first Michelin star for her work at Kin Dee, and here’s a new place worth checking out for delicious and spicy Thai dishes. It’s a similar concept with a menu to choose from and dishes to share and I can’t wait to try it (despite it being in Friedrichshain, sorry not sorry).
Gryphiusstr. 10, 10245 Berlin Friedrichshain, Tue–Thu 18:00–23:00, Fri–Sat 18:00–24:00
Malakeh Jazmati has finally opened a restaurant: she had to flee Syria and came to Berlin via Jordan, where she used to have a TV cooking show. Once in Berlin she started out with a catering service, published a cookbook and now has her own place where she serves her Syrian dishes. I’ve already heard many people raving about the deliciousness of the food there and want to go there as soon as possible.
Potsdamer Straße 153, 10783 Berlin Schöneberg, Tue–Fri 15:00–23:00, Sat–Sun 12:00–23:00
Okay, spoiler: I already ate here. BECAUSE how could I not. I’ve been to all of their Das Brunch events and have known about them wanting to open a place and closely followed their renovations on this brick and mortar shop. It’s a lunch and brunch café off Potsdamer Straße, where they work their signature Persian inspired cooking into a full formed menu. The pancakes are delicious.
Lützowstraße 22, 10785 Berlin Schöneberg, Tue–Fri 08:00–17:00, Sat–Sun 10:00–16:00
Aand, I also already ate here – but just for a super quick, basically snack-like dinner before a concert and well, I gotta go back to have the full experience. It’s Levantine food made on a very, very high level with some menu items that are still quite rare in Berlin like makdous, oil-cured aubergines filled with walnuts. Definitely bring more than one friend to be able to order all of it, and definitely don’t just walk in, this place is already packed and a table reservation is very, very recommendable.
Husemannstrasse 1, 10435 Berlin, Tue–Thu 17:00–22:30, Fri–Sat 17:00–23:30, Sun 14:30–22:00
The pizza hype ain’t over! Because why should it be. For me, we all could do with a little less “best, bester, bestest” clamoring around the round treat and instead just enjoy the fact we’re getting additional pizza-enthusiasts, since the more is usually the merrier (and all that hierarchization can be quite annoying). Just make good pizza, folks! I don’t care whether it’s “the best baked dough outside of Napoli”. End of rant, here are your new pizzaiolos: from the team of Parker Bowles comes Dookie with its new home at Prinzenstr. 85d, opening this Friday. Then there’s Futura, where a former Standard baker serves pizza in a street off the gritty Frankfurter Tor in eastern Friedrichshain, Bänschstraße 91. And last in alphabetical order is the new pizza place of Italian super bakers Sironi of Markthalle Neun fame, opening soonish in Schöneberg. Let’s go eat!
Someone remember the 10-day-long -10 degrees during the day one year ago? Or are you all already spring-blissed out? I’m wary, I wanna enjoy, but then, climate change… However, I still eat quite winterly, because I want to! I was a bit off the last days because I worked on other projects, I still ate and that’s why this Eats has six places for your consideration. From concrete congee brunch to seasonal cardamom-almond-cream treats. One of them is time-sensitive, so make sure you have some time this Sunday.
Still quite new, definitely quite shiny – Baldon is a restaurant at the newly opened Lobe Block, a very concrete structure in Wedding close by Gesundbrunnen and Humboldthain park. They’re currently doing weekday lunches, brunch on Saturdays and once-a-week dinner. The space technically looks more like a gallery than a restaurant, even with a very open kitchen. I went two or so weeks ago for brunch on a weekend and it was packed, wow. The menu read a bit complicated and I needed some time to decide whether I wanted an open sandwich or granola and in the end went for this pretty bowl of congee – rice porridge topped with all kinds of pickled, fermented and raw veggies. I enjoyed it, although the porridge was a bit on the watery side. One can taste the effort that goes into sourcing the ingredients and treating them well. Let’s see where this space is headed. Baldon, Böttgerstraße 16, Tue–Fri 09:00–16:00, Thu from 18:00, Sat 11:00–16:00
I had heard a lot already about this small French Japanese patisserie hidden somewhere in Schöneberg, so no wonder it was really quite crowded (also with a lot of tourists taking selfies with the pretty creations). It felt as if the staff was a bit overwhelmed, but still very polite and eager to serve everyone in time. Most of their little cakes are made with gelatine, so I didn’t really have a choice but the lemon tarte (and a Cannelés), which was fine but I heard the other things are much, much better. I tried the sesame brittle from a green tea number that was really nice. All of their petit masterpieces look stunningly shiny, it’s a great place to get impressive gifts!
Café Komine, Welserstraße 13-15, 10777 Berlin, Wed–Sun 12:30–19:00
Anytime I get a chance to have lunch at Bone Berlin, I’ll take it. Unfortunately it’s not as often as I’d like because the Markthalle has a no-dog-policy. However, if you haven’t eaten with them, you’re missing out! Their menu always has at least one thing I wanna eat, the flavours are intensely on point and the pricing is more than fair. Pictured here is a hummus bowl in the center with fried veggie (makali) which was extraordinary. On the left is a pumpkin salad with a very refreshing dressing that had a lot of zest in it, and on the right is a very heart warming curry. Loads of respect to these guys, the lunch business is not an easy one and they’re excelling week after week. Bone Berlin is inside of Markthalle Neun, Mon–Fri 12:00–16:00, Sat 10:00–16:00
Oooooh this plate! It makes me happy just looking at the picture. The women running this restaurant on Karl Marx Straße make their own Gözleme and, pictured here, Manti. These lil dumplings (in this case filled with potato) are so delicious, it’s insane – the vegetarian potato filling is mushy, the wrapper has a wonderful springy consistency, there’s enough garlic in it to kill any flu-viruses still lingering in your body, and the yoghurt sauce on top with the paprika butter is just too indulgent. It’s a fantastic dish that is so very well made. Little tip, don’t get there half an hour before closing, they will probably have run out of fresh Manti.
Mon–Tue & Thu–Sat 11:00–22:30, Wed closed, Sun 12:00-22:30
I know I’ve talked about Hallesches Haus a lot but I have to repeat it just for the sake of the beautiful light on this beautiful dish. We went on a random weekday, the sun was very much out and the place crowded as ever. We snatched seats on the community table, got our lentils with oven roasted carrots, walnuts and radicchio, and then this warm afternoon sunlight fell on the plate, sculpting all of its ingredients into a stunning arrangement of veggie-focussed goodness. Fresh tarragon and a wonderful dressing made this plate even better. In the pretty glass is water kefir with lemon, everything’s very on point here: interior, menu, drinks and even the lighting!
Mon–Fri 10:00–19:00, Sat 10:00–18:00, Sun 09:00–17:00
I’m pretty sure you’re only here because you wanted to know what is pictured up on top, that bun with whipped cream, right? You had to scroll all down here to find out about Semla-season. Semlor is a baked treat from Sweden, traditionally only served on Fat Tuesday, the last day before fasting season, when one would end up devouring all the soon-to-be-forbidden delicacies. It’s a cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream and it is divine. The only place serving this in Berlin is Okay Café in Neukölln, as far as I know. So no wonder there’s usually a queue of Swedish people crowding the pavement in front of it hoping to get one or three of them. Okay Café has extended Semla season to three Sundays and Fat Tuesday, they started two weeks ago and the final two dates are coming up. I went twice already and you know where to find me this weekend.
They offer the classic Semlor, a vegan one and a weekly special. Pictured here is the special with blueberry whipped cream from last Sunday. You can reserve your Semla, or just queue, both works since they dish out about 400 of these lil buns. See you Sunday!
I went to Hamburg for the weekend! This deserves its own shout-out, since we Berliners are famously lazy when it comes to the neighbouring city by the Elbe. Only 1.45 hrs by train and still too far away for most of us to go there regularly for a day or two. There’s not even a rational reasoning behind this, yet if you ask a random person living in Berlin when they’ve been to Hamburg the last time, I bet it’d be close to my answer before this trip: two years? Or maybe even three? It’s been some time, let me say it like that. Which is even more tragic considering that the Hamburgers are coming over regularly. I see my Hamburg based friends more often in Berlin than the other way round. One of them thought it was superweird we were walking through the Schanze together, since we’ve only ever met in Berlin. Anyway, I WENT. And I ATE. A ton of new places were added to the city, some old favs vanished and I was excited about the very long list of tips I had received from friends and followers. I will have to go back though, because just when I returned I found a lovely hand-written letter with even more tips in it, and I feel like I missed out on a couple of places (Hobenköok, HEAT, Balz & Balz…). So, I guess a trip in spring is coming up. Spring… 2020? Going north at least once a year is now on my agenda.
Here’s where I ate this time:
I started the weekend with a real highlight, that ended up being my favourite meal of the whole trip. Bistro Carmagnole is helplessly booked out, you should get a table at least a week prior before going (even for just two people). But I get it, it’s one of these rare casual, buzzing places with a pleasant service and really good food. I’d even have trouble naming a place in Berlin that’s similar – I do recognize a grave lack of restaurants mixing a laidback atmosphere with excellent food, we do seem to get one or the other over here. We started the meal with very good olives and French 75, and then I enjoyed braised celeriac with fresh walnuts, Comté cheese, grapes and a buttery sauce (15,70 Euro). Pricing is really fair, especially considering the stellar service. We also ordered pommes dauphin, potato croquettes, and seriously, why are these so rare on menus these days? It’s basically more sophisticated fries and just too indulgent. We finished the meal with fine cocktails and left the place around 1.30 am, after a very enjoyable night. Congrats Hamburg, you’ve got a real gem here. Juliusstrasse 18, 22769 Hamburg
This was an excellent start into my Hamburg adventure. The next day, after a very basic breakfast at the very pretty Café Johanna, I met a friend for coffee at tornqvist. The coffee there is excellent, very well balanced and refined (and expensive, wow), but the place itself is … difficult. The giant bar in the mid-size café seems out of proportion and we had to squeeze past many coffee connoisseurs to the back to get to a free space. Every design detail seems to come with a story and the staff is nice but also under some weird kind of pressure to serve coffee as a fine dining experience. It seems overly intentional, and at that, unfortunately a bit cliché. For instance, there’s no sugar and the staff will lecture you if you ask. (2011 called and wants its speciality-coffee-arrogance back.)
TBH, we ended up at tornqvist, because Hermetic was impossibly crowded, but after 20mins at tornqvist we decided to come back and sit out front bundled up in scarfs and hats. Instead of a coffee I went for a white tea and a piece of their signature cheese cake. Some say it’s even better than our local hero from Five Elephants. I wouldn’t readily agree after this particular piece because I ate it at 8 degrees and it was a bit too cold to fully develop. But it is very indulgent and delicious. The shop itself is a bit all over the place in terms of interior design, very crammed and diy, but I honestly prefer that to a place that puts more value on the look than the customer experience. However, it’s definitely nicer in the summer when you can sit on the terrace. Sternstraße 68, 20357 Hamburg
Unfortunately, the rest of the day wasn’t blessed with good food. Next, we had a table at Standard, which has been recommended to me over and over again and I was quite excited (pictured on top). The concept is Italian, it’s all about the aperitivo: you order drinks and get antipasti and small dishes with it. It didn’t add up for me, though. The drinks are a tiny bit pricier than usual to cover the cost for the Stuzzichini, the food you get with it. Unfortunately, neither my rose wine was good (the cremant I had later was better), nor any of the food we were served. Mediocre olives were followed by a standard pumpkin soup and some grilled veggies with black lentils. We left with a bill over 40 Euros for two people and to be very frank, I would’ve rather paid for fewer quality dishes I chose myself than being served with what we got. The service was a bit confused, but okay.
Our next destination was a place that literally just opened: Simbiosa took over the rooms of the former Brachmann Galeron. I ate here years (a decade?) ago and always enjoyed it a lot. It used to be a simple but delicious Swabian place attracting loads of artists and theater people with their Käsespätzle. The new tenant is more on trend, they’re serving vegan Israeli food. The place was completely booked out, we snatched two bar seats by the window because of a no-show. Since it’s super new, the service wasn’t up for the crowds, they were polite, but overwhelmed. The food was a disappointment, though. The falafel were bland, as was the hummus, the bread was a total miss for me, and the green bulgur salad was watery and tasteless. I liked the tahini, the baba ganoush and the grilled aubergine were fine, and the tomato dip was also okay. But all in all, considering so many people are trying to get a table, it’s not living up to this demand. BUT, it’s really new, so there might be improvements coming, and they might’ve just had an odd night with the kitchen folding under the many orders. Let me know if you had a better experience.
After a rather subpar food tour on Saturday night, my Sunday lunch appeased me again. Badshah is an Indian canteen-like food place just off Hauptbahnhof and it’s woah, delicious! Thalis are a mere 6 Euro or so, and you should definitely also get the Samosa. The counter is filled with many, many sweets of which I tried nothing because I bought an apple cinnamon bun at Mutterland prior which I wanted to eat on the (overbooked) train (that missed a waggon). I should’ve, though, the bun wasn’t all that. However, Badshah! It’s not pretty, but as usual in my view, good food trumps everything else. Unfortunately, the much famed Okra dishes were out when we were there, but the spinach dish I chose instead was also super tasty. The rice was well spiced, the samosas very well fried and the chickpea sauce that came with it was fragrant. I will definitely go back when I’m in the city next, crossing my fingers to get the okra dish. Bremer Reihe 24, 20099 Hamburg
After a couple months of doing this new format of weekly reports on what I ate (and whether I liked it), I’m really happy with it. Hope you’re too! However, things can kinda get lost in the continuous stream of super short reviews and so I wanted to start a seasonal round-up of favourites, dishes that stayed on my mind because they were so good. I decided to choose the five plates I remember the most and would happily eat again any time (and will hopefully do so soon). Also serves as a reminder that it shouldn’t always be about the next new thing, but caring about your favourites. I tried to choose those that aren’t on my usual rotation or on the current Best Places map. Here, they’re just sorted by alphabet.
Congee at Companion
It’s been some time since I had this bowl of congee (pictured on top), and it’s still on my mind! Maybe because congee – rice porridge, for which the rice is cooked until it falls apart into a thick soup – is considered very healthy. And if only for its heart-warming and wholesome appeal I’m ready to agree. Here at Companion it’s made by Kaylin Eu of Ma-Makan fame, and is topped with roasted onions, chilli and ginger, mushrooms and seaweed giving the dish all kinds of umami levels. It’s a great dish for winter breakfast (or lunch) and I’ve been lightly craving it ever since.
My friend schlepped me here and I didn’t know what to expect – for sure I didn’t foresee this extraordinary dumpling dish: Haejung, owner of the place (and former manager of Rocco und seine Brüder and still owning the vintage shop Kim’s around the corner at Lausitzer Platz), serves her mandu covered in a potato starch net. Aka: these juicy dumplings are covered with a very crispy (kross, as we say in German) blanket! Might look weird when they put it on the table, but it’s such a delicious surprise.
Okay, this was an easy one: I love soft serve and there’s not enough of it in Berlin, especially not in winter or for dinner. Gazzo is a still fresh pizza place (sourdough only) with a buzzing atmosphere. They also make their own soft serve from buffalo milk sourced in Brandenburg, top it with olive oil, sea salt and chunks of short bread and it is divine. I’m usually very much for sharing, but in this case I insist on my own portion so I get the most of it.
You will have to make a reservation to get your hands on these mixed Syrian mezze but it’ll be very worth it. Especially for the refreshing yet creamy and grainy Kishke, a mix of yoghurt, bulgur, garlic, cream cheese and cucumber and the excellent hummus. The mains are equally worth it, however, the mezze left more of an impression with me and I would willingly squeeze on a community table any day of the week to enjoy them.
This soup’s broth has stayed on my mind for almost two months now – its delicious balance of sour and savoury and spicy impressed me loads. It’s made by the Thai woman who has the longest lines of people waiting for her soups at Thai Park, she just opened up her own shop in Wilmersdorf. I sincerely hope she can translate her park fame into a consistent business as a shop. This very first soup I ate there is making me very optimistic.
I didn’t eat out a lot so I don’t have much to report. But I ate at three of my fav places in the city and that is always worth mentioning. All three of them have been in my foodie-heart for a long time and I’m happy to say they keep up their good quality. Which is not the norm in inconsistent Berlin! So I leave you with these three tried and tested places for the week. I’m going to Hamburg this weekend and already have a long list of places I’m gonna eat that and I will tell you all about the eateries in the city by the river, next week.
If I wanna have a good brunch, this is my spot: on the weekend, I’ll get a lil plate of plattar, small pancakes topped with vegan caviar (made of seaweed), sour cream and dill, and then one of their sweet dishes. This time it was toasted gingerbread banana bread topped with cream and hazelnuts and pommegranate seeds. Very indulgent, crunchy and soft, sweet and slightly tart. My suggestion is to go early, because as every good breakfast place in the city, it gets really crowded from around 11 on the weekends. Oh and the weeks of Semla are coming up: a Semlor is a Swedish cardamom bun filled with almond paste and whipped cream and it’s only served on the last Tuesday before fasting season. I’ve not been in town for it for the past years but I will be this year. Okay Café is extending the day into weeks with different Semla variations so you know where to find me.
Oh my, I just love these noodles! I’ve written about them a ton already, and here I am doing it again! This time, Ash Lee served her very spicy noodles with starters and dessert as a Chinese New Years’ dinner at Baldon. She began with pickled Jerusalem artichokes, beans and a sausage she made with the infamous Sausage Man Never Sleeps, and closed the meal with mochi cake filled with red beans and topped with roasted soy beans powder. Highlight were, as usual, the noodles – so spicy, so chili, so numbing, and yet still so earthy and acidic. Just fabulous. Follow her facebook to keep up to date.
Quite spontaneously, the possibility arose to eat at my favourite, favourite (twice because it really is my fav) place in town: Kin Dee. Dalad Kambhu’s food is so good, I’m lacking the words. You get a 4 course menu of Thai food made with local and seasonal ingredients for 48 Euros, and that’s just a very good deal considering the work that goes into the dishes. The sauces she makes are just tremendous with their mix of acidity and spiciness (the scallops come with the bestest green sauce, and the octopus with a delicious brown one that reminded some of us of mole). Even the side vegetables (braised fennel) are just too damn delicious. Pictured here is a new dessert, a quince spongecake topped with gin tonic granita. And pictured all the way on the top of this article is the mushroom starter – it’s pickled shiitake mushrooms, an oyster mushroom in batter, mushroom sauce, truffle oil and an intense herb we forgot to ask the name of. Behind it is Kin Dee’s gin tonic with lime leaf and lemon grass infused gin which you should get as an aperitif. If you haven’t been here you have to go. Kin Dee is one of the bestest places in town.
It’s Berlinale again! The time when we stock up on movie snacks and fill our thermoses with extra strong green tea so we can survive entire days spent watching artsy 3-hour epics, gut-wrenching documentaries, and delightfully baffling shorts. Though this year is rather short on star power (we do get jury president Juliette Binoche and honorary Golden Bear recipient Charlotte Rampling) or buzzy titles, this just means we get to dive a little deeper. Looking at the very long program, the obvious highlights are Amazing Grace, a very-long-awaited document of Aretha Franklin’s legendary live gospel album from 1972, new films by French masters François Ozon and Agnès Varda, plus beautifully restored versions of Marlene Dietrich’s nazi-bashing western comedy Destry Rides Again and Gregory Nava’s painfully topical migration epic El Norte from 1984.
As for less starry movies I’m excited about, there’s Lou Ye’s Guangzhou-set gentrification noir The Shadow Play, the Italian documentary Selfie, filmed by two teens stuck in the Neapolitan mafia stronghold of Traiano, a Mica Levi-scored survival thriller called Monos (which is tantalizingly said to feature a dairy cow called Shakira), and a documentary about workers in the denim capital of the world, Brazil’s Toritama, which annually produces 20 millions pairs of jeans. There’s also two films from the festival’s exciting NATIVe program, which explores indigenous cinema from around the world: Merata: How Mum Decolonised the Screen tells the story of the first female Maori filmmaker, Merata Mita, and Vai, a film about female kinship in the South Pacific Islands. FFC fans, meanwhile, can check out the awkwardly named TeaTime: How to Become a Female Chef?, a panel talk with filmmaker Maya Gallus, Parabere Forum president Maria Canabal, and starred chef Angela Hartnett.
What follows is a quick and dirty guide to how the festival works, and how you can score tickets with the least amount of frustration. Before studying the program, all you need to know is that — and I’m simplifying here — Competition films are the ones in, erm, competition; Panorama films are by semi-established international filmmakers; Forum and Forum Expanded are younger, riskier, and artier; Generation ones are (not just!) for kids, and only €5; Perspektive features homegrown German titles (with English subtitles, of course, like all non-English films in the festival); and the other, smaller sections are fairly self-explanatory. All of them (aside from those blatant red-carpet ‘Specials’ that are there so that Gala and L’Oreal will still show up) are guaranteed to be special or great or crazy or stunning ortcetera.
You can download the program brochure at the Berlinale website, or pick up a paper copy for handy marking up at the Arkaden or in other cinephile locations around town. And if the sheer number of options seems paralyzing, there’s always seats left over somewhere; simply try the box office at any participating theater on the day of and let the fates of film be your guide (remember, they don’t take cards!). Students and other disadvantaged folks pay half price for same-day tickets, and starting half an hour before every Berlinale Palast screening starts, all left-over tickets for screenings there are 50% off!
If you do have a wish list, use the Berlinale’s handy programming tool and apps, and figure out what goes on sale when. Though the festival only releases a limited number through their website every morning, you will be able to get tickets at home. (You’ll need an Eventim account, though, best set that up beforehand.) When you’re successful (coordinate with your friends every morning over coffee and Skype!), you can either print them out, get a special ‘mobile’ ticket, or — if you love lines — pick them up with your printed confirmation at the Arkaden.
If the online contingent is sold out, or you just don’t trust the speed of your internet connection, you can bring snacks and line up early at the Potsdamer Platz Arkaden, at Kino International, at the Haus der Berliner Festspiele, or Audi City Berlin out west. What’s more, and this is might be the best tip I’m giving you here today: for a €2 surcharge you can get tickets for ANY screening that is for sale (see below) at ANY Berlin ticket office (Koka36 on Oranienstrasse, for instance). Just be sure to note down the ticket code for your chosen screening beforehand (find it in the printed program or on the website), so those poor devils won’t have to wade through all the Berlinale events to find the one you mean.
Now, as for when you should buy your tickets, that’s where shit gets crazy German (and I mean that in the nicest way, sort of): starting Monday, February 4th, 10:00am, you will be able to get tickets for ALL screenings at the Friedrichstadt-Palast, HAU, and those in Culinary Cinema and Berlinale Goes Kiez (which just might take the Berlinale to the cinema around the corner from you in Friedrichshain, Mitte (ACUDkino!), heck, even in Weißensee or Friedrichshagen, check the entire list here).
That same day, you’ll also be able to buy tickets for ALL screenings on the Berlinale Publikumstag (February 17th), when the awards have been awarded, the filmmakers have mostly left, and us regular folk can take over the festival grounds (hence the friendlier pricing: €10 per screening, €5 for films in the Generation kids program).
Though this already seems like being spoiled for choices, many more tickets actually won’t be on sale yet on February 4th, as they only go on sale three days in advance (again, a smaller number of tickets online and the rest at the four main ticket offices). I bet just showing up and catching whatever’s playing is sounding pretty sweet right now, but it really isn’t that complicated when you use Berlinale’s ‘Programme Planner’, which clearly shows when exactly the screenings you’ve selected will go on sale. As for snacks, remember that there’s a street food fair set up on Joseph-von-Eichendorff-Gasse right near the main venues at Potsdamer Platz, starring all your favorites from Bite Club (Bunsmobile, Heisser Hobel, Eddielicious, Fräulein Kimchi, and newcomer Zero Stress Pizza), so no need to resort to bland mall food from the Arkaden.
Hey everyone! How was your week? Did you see the cringy instagram story of the local police looking for a woman who asked for directions in Kreuzberg? The officer she approached was head over heals because she “gifted him a smile”, so our law enforcement thought it’d be appropriate to post a wanted ad on their official channel, to show off their “human side”, as their social media officer put it. In better news, Berlin has a new public holiday! We live in one of the states with the least number of official days off, so we got some remedy – they chose March 8th, women’s day, and it’s already starting this year! Let’s hope this doesn’t just mean free roses for the ladies but also political activism and engagement. In other news, I’ve been eating some brunch, some soup and some very fine dining this week.
I went back already, yes of course. As I said last time, I wanted to try the Sauerkraut noodles and so here they are, protected by the friendly panda napkin dispenser and an adjacent, rather unreasonable plastic cup of cold green tea (the only way they serve it). This time, I ordered the extra scharf version, marked by 3 chilis on the menu, yet, it really wasn’t that spicy, so I added more chili oil. The broth was nice though, I liked the sour of the kraut with the hearty broth. The noodles still aren’t my fave, but it’s a good dish I wanna eat again.
Going for breakfast on a Sunday in Mitte is kinda tough… Many places aren’t even open, most of the ones that are, aren’t great (exception: Commonground!), and everything’s crowded. Here’s another good one, though: 19grams Chaussee is almost in Wedding, also crowded, but has good food and really good staff. Really, one of the best serving experiences I had in Berlin. All of them are super friendly, quick and helpful (like, when somehow your table falls over and all your coffee pours over their leather chairs…) And it appears to be absolutely genuine! Such unusual in Berlin, it deserves a repeated mention: good job, team! Now, to the food – I had potato chive cakes with poached egg and roasted roots (winter, still…) and hollandaise, of which there should’ve been much more on the plate, even though the drizzle is very picturesque, isn’t it? It’s solid brunch, they also serve really good coffee and have some yummy cakes.
Albatross, the bakery in Graefestraße, is slowly taking over the whole city. Seems increasingly difficult to find another than slices of their signature semolina covered loaf around. But I’m certainly not mad about that. Here’s a rather new addition to their bakes portfolio: carrot cake. I enjoyed it last Sunday at Kaffee 9, followed by a Bloody Mary because it was really cold outside. The cake is juicy and carrotty and the frosting isn’t too sweet. It’s good, however, Aunt Benny’s is still my fav carrot cake in the city.
Chef Jonathan Gushue usually works far, far away from Berlin, on an island off Newfoundland at the northern edge of Canada. Fogo Island Inn looks stunning in pictures, and the stories told that night made me seriously consider taking the long journey there. Gushue came to Berlin to show off his foodways at Baldon, the spacious new restaurant inside of very concrete Lobeblock around the corner from Gesundbrunnen. With an emphasis on cod, which is available in abundance on Fogo Island thanks to some convenient streams, the menu was straightforward yet elaborate. My plates were filled with many roots, one of the courses served as a reminder to me to eat more of that delicious salsify (if it wasn’t such a mess to prepare). The photo shows a grilled cabbage (delicious!) and a portobello mushroom in cabbage broth that was my favourite of the night. It showed off earthiness and the freshness of the cabbage in a such a simple yet striking way. The dinner happened in cooperation with Terroir Hospitality and Bon Bock, and I was generously invited to join.
So I still can’t say more about Baldon except that it’s a stunning location, but I’ll be back for brunch soon.
Böttgerstraße 16, 13357 Berlin
Funny coincidence, I’ve been here twice in the past week. Once for coffee and Apfelstrudel (picture on top), and once for coffee and cheese and mushroom omelette (pictured here). Both times because my knowledge of this part of town is rather limited and I couldn’t come up with a nicer place during day time. Albeit totally usual in cities like Vienna and Paris, a classic space like this is a bit of an oddity in Berlin. Located in a boujee 19th century mansion, the inside wasn’t as opulent as I remembered but still Kaffeehaus enough (with waiters dressed in formal black and white) that I’d come back any time to enjoy some proper service and dishes. The food is alright, the strudel is good, the omelette a bit blah, and the coffee not that great (better than at their namesake coffee chain, with which the Stammhaus has nothing to do – any more). But, it’s a good spot to do some people-watching, and time passes here easily. It’s even more of a stunner in the summer, when the garden is open.
Helloooooo 2019! Happy new year to all of you hopefully happy eaters out there. Have you had a good break? Some scrumptious Stollen, loads of Glühwein and all the cookies? Hope you were warm and cosy, or excited and exhilarated, whatever you prefer.
I spent most of the holiday season by the sea, walking a lot of kilometers on the beach and through pine forests, I read a lot and ate a lot. So I’m well prepared for the new year, and hopefully resilient enough for the next weeks of real winter (sans holiday lights or new years cheer).
This post is a mix of last year and new year eats, but it’s just a calendar issue, so don’t care, really.
Went here for a pre-Christmas dinner and Hmmm… I’m not sure about this place, a self described “neighbourhood restaurant”. Given it only opened a couple months ago, it’d also be less than fair to have one visit decide a final judgement, and the friends I went with were definitely more excited about the food than I was. I quite liked the chestnut soup with mushrooms, and I was more than intrigued by the Cheddar buns, choux pastry filled with delicious cheese. In general, however, I was missing a certain kind of balance in the dishes, I remember one particular dish of pumpkin, cavalo nero and an egg, that combined smokiness and acidity with earthiness and while that sounds really good, the balance was just off. The smokiness was too intense, and the pungent acidity didn’t really help that, in the end, the egg got totally lost in there. All in all, I left underwhelmed especially considering the pricing. If you’ve been, please let me know what you thought.
Okerstraße 2, 12049 Berlin Neukölln
Lucky me! Just days before Christmas, Dalad Kambhu from Kin Dee brought me to this tiny, women-led eatery in Wilmersdorf, and it was sooo gooooood. We had soup and curry and fried vegetables and the soup’s broth especially stayed in my mind with it’s delicious balance of sour and savoury. I’d be there every week if it wasn’t in Wilmersdorf. If you’ve been to Thai Park you might know the woman owning and cooking – she’s the famous soup lady who always has the longest lines.
I’ve been back to Isla for the second time now after they changed their brunch chef. And I’m still not totally on board with that change. The bread pudding (that wasn’t pudding enough) is now called French Toast, but still too dry for me to count as either or. I got the mushrooms on brioche, and while not entirely liking the sweetness of the brioche with the shrooms is certainly a personal preference, the combo and plating once again left me wanting something else. I was hoping the mushrooms were more of a ragu, and while the seasoning with miso was a nice touch, I missed an element to tie it all together. (Once again, my friends lurved it, maybe something’s wrong with me?)
This one arrived with a bang, first one then three, then ten entries about the amazingness of these noodles on blogs, the gram and the fb. And despite my usual reluctance to hit places just weeks after they opened, I went. Because who am I to resist the allure of spicy Chinese noodles? We went for lunch (1.30 is a good time, just minutes after the crowds left with enough time before they close at 3), and I ordered the vegetarian sichuan zajiang noodles with tofu (8,90 Euro) in medium spicy. After I added some more vinegar, salt and (quite a bit) chili oil I was happy with it, although the noodles missed some bite. All in all, it didn’t sweep me off my feet as I expected after all the praise, but I’ll go back, for sure. I’m very interested in their Sauerkraut noodles as well as the tomato egg ones. However, there’s one big thing you need to consider: from all that I heard, it is an inconsistent place. This isn’t unusual in the beginning but it can be a let down. They’ll be having hot pot from February on, another reason to come back!
Unfortunately, I only learned of Haejung, aka Crazy Kim, when I saw Hien Le’s newest campaign featuring iconic Kreuzbergers. Hien was raised in Kreuzberg, and still lives and works in the streets of his childhood. He has asked some of his neighbours to join a campaign for his next collection, among them also the best bike mechanic. Haejung used to manage the iconic pizza place Rocco und seine Brüder at Lausitzer Platz, which they gave up last summer. After wrapping up that place, she opened her new one called Crazy Kim, where she serves Korean food from Gimbab to Mandu and Bibimbap as well as Korean Barbecue. By the way, she also owns the vintage shop next to Rocco’s.
I went on a particularly nasty and rainy night and she served us dumplings covered with a sheet of very, very crispy potato starch net that made me wonder why not every place is serving their dumplings like that. The bibimbap came with a very generous choice of banchan, many pickled radishes, onions, kimchi and more. I liked it!