Berlin has been on my potential destination list for quite a long while and it was high time I did something about that. I already knew that the end of winter was not an ideal time to travel to the city that can have some nasty weather but there were a lot of things that made up for rains that literally soaked through our clothes. Aside from crossing off the usual tourist sites from our list, I tried to bring out the maximum from the cities culinary opportunities. And believe me, there were ample supplies from those.
Berlin in motion
There will be those who disagree with me when I say the Berlin itself is not as pretty as Budapest. But I never said I’m not biased towards our capital. But this is not a beauty contest anyway. Berlin, however, has an impressive atmosphere that is hard to describe but it’s very captivating. History has left its mark on the city and this can be felt even today. But the city is bustling with activity and is very lively and this is also true to its culinary scene.
Home of the currywurst
I asked my local friends if they eat real local foods but they gave rather neutral answers which I took as disinterest on their part. I won’t say I didn’t run into a currywurst on my first day there but I had to realize that (not surprisingly) fried frankfurters with ketchup won’t be the dish that produces even the smallest spark of enthusiasm in me. And will definitely not make me buy an airplane ticket. In fairness, they serve organic version at many places. This was the first food we came into contact with at the airport. I think it’s organic because if we eat something this terrible it should at least have good quality. But Berlin has a great array of ingredients. Great cheeses, meats, and bread can all be bought with ease.
Beyond the wurst
Except for local foods, I ate everything else. I think that I managed to taste the whole of Asia (although I never kept my addiction to these flavors a secret) which is no mean feat. I didn’t have a list because I literally went to the airport from work but we only have to do a little research to make no mistakes. Of course, I’m not saying there aren’t any places in Berlin we should avoid. For example, we should expect anything magical at the restaurants that dot the Museum-islands. So everyone can relax tourist solutions are not a staple of Budapest. All in all their offers are more reassuring, even in regards to street food. What I mean is that you’re not a masochist if you go to a Nordsee here.
Kreuzberg culinary center
Most of the time we found ourselves in the Kreuzberg district also known as X-berg if we wanted to eat somewhere. I have to admit at first glance we thought we ended up in a sketchy neighborhood but after seeing that out travels took us to district for the umpteenth time we realized that this is actually a hipster district. After a little research though we found out that a few decades ago Kreuzberg was one of the most dangerous and poorest district in Berlin. It was full of punks that actually made it cool and even Iggy Pop and David Bowie frequently visited it. At times like these, I’m really sorry that I can’t travel in time because the punk that lives inside of me is really curious about Kreuzberg in the 70’s.
Chica, the coolest gal in Berlin
If I had to highlight a place that was the best experience it would have to be the Peruvian bistro named Chica which is, not surprisingly, also in Kreuzberg. Peruvian cooking is considered really cool these days. They work with awesome ingredients and combines local and traditional cuisine to create a fusion of European, Asian and North-African flavors. At Chica the quality is phenomenal and the mood is relaxed as we receive one of the most known Peruvian dishes, the ceviche (which is raw fish that is marinated in lemon or lime juice). We also went off the beaten path with dishes such as sticky-sweet pork belly with banana puree and onion salad. The squeamish and choosy kid that lived inside me disappeared here forever because I tried the one food that always gave me the creeps. Before anyone would think that I’m talking about raw fish I’d like to clarify that I’m referring to the banana.
I recommend you pre-book a table at the coolest places you want to visit on the weekends because these places are jam-packed – almost like if a restaurant is featured on the cover of Index back home. Because of this we actually missed an opportunity to have a ramen dinner. But I’ll be back, that’s for sure!