London Street Foodie On Tour: Berlin street food part I, buns and burgers under a bridge

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LONDON X BERLIN

While the London street food scene seems to be happily settling into its groove, with parties springing up every weekend and more night markets than ever before, Berlin street food is even more youthful but less self conscious, a little like it is in Melbourne but with a different sort of energy. Spaces are still being negotiated and much of the city is up for grabs. It’s an exciting time.

This week, here are two of the places we visited on a recent trip to Berlin. And next week, two more will be on their way over.

TO BUN OR NOT TO BUN…

From where we were standing it looked a bit like a street food graveyard; in the middle of everything was a great yellow van with BUNS printed in black on the outside. Around it bits of cardboard, graffiti scrawled all over them, were lying in piles on the ground, while picnic tables and benches sat looking lonesome and a trail of water or something oily slowly wound its way out from underneath the van. When we got closer we found crates of buns next to the vehicle, and a few seconds later a tired-looking young guy popped out from somewhere behind it. Perhaps he had been serving all night – certainly he was in no mood to tell us what he was cooking up now.
“It’s closed” he said gruffly to our guide Andrea in German.
“Could we just have a little look around? I’m showing these girls Berlin’s best street food and street art. They’re from England.” she asked.
“Oh. Fine,” he agreed.

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Feeling like street food bandits we scurried around, peering into the art studios, closed up for the day, and gazing up at the monstrous street art pieces plastered onto the brick walls around us, some political, some silly, some just beautiful in their rawness. We had come to RAW, a vast former train repairs station from the 1840s which from 1994 until 2009 was turned into an artistic hub. Now it opens in various shapes or forms on most evenings until midnight or beyond. One cavernous space has been converted into a climbing wall, with a beer garden next door, while another hosts a flea market on Sundays. Elsewhere there are three clubs – the Suicide Circus, for techno heads, a former gay bar, a club for the younger crowd called Cassiopeia and another spot where retro swing parties are held at weekends.

We creep out. A few days later, Amy and I wander past around midday and find the night from the night before still going strong. No wonder the street food guy looked partied out.

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BURGERS. HIPSTERS. PUBLIC TOILET. GO FIGURE…

Crossing over the Oberbaum Bridge and the River Spree, we wander past a gigantic, groaning mural made up of thousands of naked bodies pouring out of a mummified head. From here we can see parts of the Berlin Wall and next we move into an area called Schlesische Strasse 6 in Kreuzberg which Andrea nicknames the new “party mile” for its abundance of secret bars, beer houses and clubs. “It’s a jackpot for going out,” she laughs. And then, there, under a roaring U-Bahn flyover in the middle of a busy three-way junction, we see a sign saying Burgermeister.

A flurry of burger chefs has invaded what used to be a public toilet and today there is a 30-strong queue snaking out… but it’s not just hipsters. Anyone is welcome here. But from the looks of things – grey, soppy faces, hoods up, sunglasses on – they’re mostly hungover.

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Andrea Schulte-Peevers (who incidentally is the excellent Lonely Planet Guide writer for Berlin, and was recommended to us by the Tourist Office) queues up for us and comes back with a cheeseburger and, my favourite of the two, a Meisterburger. This is a sweetish seeded bun clutching a medium rare beef patty with caramelised onions, lettuce and tomatoes. It’s simple but it’s just so good – and it’s chased nicely by a bottle of homemade applesaftscharte called Fritz-Limo.

Next week: Markthalle 9 and eating spetzel at a street food party.

LSF

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  1. […] last week’s taster of Berlin street food, here is the second and final instalment on what we discovered on a recent […]



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London Street Foodie is an ever-growing guide to the best places to eat London street food. There's a lot of street food waiting to be discovered right now; we'd like to help nudge you towards the good stuff.