My blog posts have so far been rather serious, or maybe as serious as I can get on a fantastic study abroad in Europe. So today I wanted to take the opportunity to talk about food in Berlin!
The first topic I would like to address is the grocery stores. They are so small here! They occupy the ground floor of apartment building and are no bigger than 2 or tree times your average Starbucks. What a lame unit of measure, but I cannot come up with anything better at the moment. The options are less varied and less numerous than in American grocery stores. For Example, there are only 7 or 8 type of jelly as opposed to 35, and there are only around 10 baskets of strawberries instead of 50. This is clearly due to lack of space rather than limited taste. I am sure you could find any food you need in Berlin, one of the numerous grocery stores is sure to have it. And besides, who needs 35 jellies as well as the 20 marmalade and 16 preserves which would undoubtedly accompany the jelly in an American grocery store. I should clarify that I am referring to a typical grocery store, not even a wholesaler like Sam’s Club or Costco. There is no need for 8 cartons of goldfish here in Berlin, not when everyone shops in small batches a couple times a week. Why small batches? Fresher food and no need for a car. No car means the grocery stores must be close. Without a car no one will be buying in bulk, so the stores stay small. Its cyclical.
I have found a few good spots to tell you about. First among them is the ‘Thai Food Park’. On a nice day when the sun is shining vendors set up little booths under umbrellas in Preussanpark in Wilmersdorf. Selling food like this is most certainly illegal, clearly none of the vendors have a food license, but it only make the food more delicious. Noodles, dumpling, meet skewers and egg rolls are all available for a few euros each. You can was all this down with Thai Iced Coffee or bubble tea! Just remember to bring your own picnic blanket. I also stumbled upon a place called the Kulturbrauerei. On weekend you can duck through large gates to find a cloistered street area with numerous food trucks. This alley offers everything from beer and tea to tacos and gnocchi. Very delicious. The final place to mention is the elusive Market Hall Nine. Its not that elusive, I was just being dramatic. It is one of the many market halls built throughout Berlin to host farmers markets and festivities at the turn of the century. Most of these halls have either been demolished or they no longer serve their original purpose. Indeed I don’t know of any other and if there are others remaining, Nine is certainly the most well known. Most days, the market hall is full of stalls of bakers butchers and other vendors. Its a great place for lunch! On Thursday nights it is converted into a street food market and beer hall. On the weekends it is a farmers market. It is definitely worth a visit. I have a divine leek an creme quiche there. If you ever make it to Berlin you should try to find these three places. Stop into a grocery store too, they can reveal a great deal about a culture.