Summer in Berlin is finally here, and market season is well and truly upon us.
Never have I met a city with so many local food, farmers’ and flea markets. Each Berlin borough, along with an ever-prevalent green space, seems to hold its own colourful bazaar, whether community-run or organised by the city.
Some are cool, some are real, and each one has a distinct style and appeal. And, of course, the food is absolutely phenomenal.
We love them all, but here are some of our favourites.
The Berlin food scene certainly does not lack diversity. The one cuisine missing a real presence, however, is Thai food. I’ve found Vietnamese and Japanese on almost every corner, but I have yet to discover a great Thai place to match the standards of those in Sydney (Long Grain, hello).
That is, until now.
Thai Park consists of traditional, no-bullshit Thai food cooked without any of the fuss. All day long, friendly Thai women sit comfortably next to their steaming woks and deep friers under colourful umbrellas, somehow managing to produce a feast of incredible Thai deliciousness. From fried spring rolls to mango sticky rice and tasting plates of crispy bugs, they’ve got it all.
One of the things I like about Thai Park is that it feels like a true community event. They don’t give a shit about the followers of the ostentatious food scene in Berlin. They create fantastic food and sell it for reasonable prices, all without the presence of a DJ, a photographer and mixologists selling overpriced cocktails.
Preußen Park, Fehrbelliner Platz 10707 Berlin Wilmersdorf
Open: Daily during summer, but best on weekends.
The markets on Maybachufer have a similar vibe to Thai Park, only they’re slightly more tourist-y and predominantly comprised of awesome Turkish food. On Tuesdays and Fridays you’ll find fantastic fresh produce at the Turkish market stalls, and on Saturdays they hold a flea and textiles market.
The fresh produce is of excellent quality and I doubt you’ll find it cheaper anywhere in Berlin. A bag of olives the size of a human head will cost you just €2.50, and we have yet to be disappointed by the selection and standard of fruit and vegetables. The food stalls sell classic market items like gözleme, crepes, kebabs, coffee and cakes, but you’ll also find various delicacies from places all over the world.
Afterwards, cross the canal for an awesome cup of coffee at Concierge.
Maybachufer 31, 12047 Berlin Kreuzberg
Open: Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays
And then we arrive at Neue Heimat, the complete epitome of the cool Berlin food scene. But god, the food is good. I’ll give it that.
Set in a couple of old warehouses in Friedrichshain, behind a wall of artistic graffiti and attractive fairy lights, lies a contemporary food haven.
Here, you’ll find cuisine from all corners of the globe. And it is damn good, albeit a little pricey. But you certainly get what you pay for. Neue Heimat has a great vibe, and the back section turns into a club on weekends.
Revaler Straße 99, 10245 Berlin Friedrichshain
Open: 6pm to 4am Thursday, Friday and Saturday; 12pm to 2am Sunday
Mauerpark is probably the largest and most visited flea market in Berlin. Here, you’ll find records, clothing, furniture, food and kitsch-y Berlin tourist items. This is all well and good, but the most enticing thing about Mauerpark is definitely the karaoke.
Just outside the gates of the market you’ll find a large public amphitheatre packed full of guests, dancing and laughing and drinking beers in the sun. Why are they laughing so hard, you ask? They’re enjoying the scene of the wasted British/Irish/Polish/Australian/German/American person on stage singing along terribly to an ancient Britney Spears song.
Bernauer Str. 63-64, 13355 Berlin-Mitte
Open: 9am to 6pm Sundays
Bite Club is suspiciously similar to Neue Heimat and Markethalle Neun (below), only situated along the Spree and on a smaller scale. You’ll find a lot of the same merchants here, but a different environment and outdoor space creates a really nice weekend atmosphere.
The house beats from the DJ deck float across the river as patrons sit perched on top of an old ferry, devouring spicy Chinese noodle soup as though they’ve never eaten such a thing before.
Ice cream sandwiches, jerk chicken, pierogi, classic beef burgers, and not-so-classic items such as the nanwich, prepare guests for a late night in the surrounding warehouse homes of establishments like White Trash Fast Food, Arena Club, Club der Visionaere and Badeschiff.
Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin
Open: Every second Friday during summer, 4 pm to 12 am
Markethalle Neun was one of our first market experiences in Berlin. And oh, was it a good one. Street Food Thursdays and Breakfast Sundays are always packed full of visitors looking to sample all that the Berlin food merchants have to offer.
Here, we tasted our first stewed pork Bao Burger. Here, we sample some of the best bread in Berlin (Sironi rules). Here, we drink German craft beer and devour everything from arancini balls to traditional Chinese congee.
It’s important to be strategic in your timing, though. On Sundays, we head there at what we believe to be a normal breakfast time, but what is for Berlin a time to head home from the clubs. The same goes for Thursday nights – don’t get there at peak dinner hour (9-10 pm) or you’ll be waiting in enormous lines and bumping into drunk expats left, right and centre.
Eisenbahnstraße 42-43, 10997 Berlin
Open: Wochenmarkt – every Friday and Saturday; Street Food Thursday – 5pm to 10pm; Breakfast Sundays – the third Sunday of every month.
www.markthalleneun.de Enticing, no?
Berlin summer is finally here. The people are happy, the sun is shining, the markets are pumping and now the only thing left to do is eat.