Berlin is a truly multicultural city. You see Muslim women with headscarves working retail in Alexanderplatz, black people speaking perfect German, and Asians dressed like Berlin hipsters. So, you get great food from all cultures – including Asian food – which was very exciting for me as I came a long tenure in Barcelona, where the Asian food is only half decent! I was especially ecstatic to come across the Berlin Chinatown by chance.
Berlin is full of good Asian food and I’m sure this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the places I’ve been to that I liked, ordered by neighborhood. As you can see, I pretty much just ate Asian food every day.
Charlottenburg Chinatown- Kantstrasse 康德大街
The closest thing you’ll get to a Chinatown in Berlin is the avenue of Kantstrasse, located in the Charlottenburg neighborhood. It’s where the first Chinese immigrants arrived to in the 1800’s, and where the Chinese students lived when the second wave arrived in the 1920’s. Now, you can find an array of not only Chinese, but all Asian cuisine along the street. There are also Asian supermarkets, Chinese acupuncture, and all that good stuff.
When I pulled it up on Google Maps, it actually even gave me its name in Chinese!
Here are some good restaurants along Kantstrasse:
Lon-Men’s Noodle House [Taiwanese street food, U-Bahn Zoologischer Garten]
Rushed to this restaurant after getting off a 7:30 hour bus ride from Dusseldorf – thankfully it was only a 15 minute walk from Zoologischer Garten. I almost ordered everything on the menu. The restaurant and staff were definitely Taiwanese, the food was good, but it was not 100% authentic. I would say it was 70% there. I would skip the beef noodle soup – was not the real beef noodle soup. Hot and sour soup was good, and so were the pig ears, but again not authentic. Would I go back? Yes, as it is the only Taiwanese restaurant in Berlin. Next time, I’ll try their wontons. It’s quite a popular restaurant so try to go during off-peak hours or get takeout.
China Restaurant Good Friends [Cantonese-Chinese food, U-Bahn Zoologischer Garten]
I haven’t been yet as on my last visit to Charlottenburg I opted for Taiwanese food. However, this restaurant is one of the most famous Chinese restaurants in Berlin, well-known for its 燒臘 (Cantonese style barbecue).
Come Buy [Taiwanese Bubble Tea, U/S Bahn Alexanderplatz]
There’s a Come Buy in Berlin! Come Buy was a very popular bubble tea chain in Taiwan in the 90’s. Interestingly enough, Come Buys have gone extinct in Taiwan due to competition, but they actually do quite well overseas (LA has branches, for example). I went to Come Buy in Berlin on a Wednesday afternoon, and it was packed with both Asian Germans and “white” Germans. The decor was very Taiwanese, with the menu having Chinese and even with Chinese comic books along the wall for you to read (like Conan).
I tried to speak Chinese with the Asian girl at the counter, unfortunately she responded “I don’t speak Chinese” (how misleading!). According to my friend Erica though, most the other staff are Taiwanese, so I must have just gotten unlucky. I got the Green Milk Tea with Boba, my go-to drink. It was really good! I liked that they also allowed you to customize ice and sugar, just like they do in Taiwan. I recommend it!
Madami [Vietnamese, U-S Bahn Alexanderplatz]
Popular, trendy Vietnamese restaurant in Alexanderplatz. Berlin is FULL of Vietnamese restaurants! The pho was good, but it didn’t taste like the pho’s we get in the US (never been to Vietnam so I can’t comment on its authenticity). Other people’s dishes didn’t look too authentic either. Prices are not the cheapest, but it’s good food.
Korean food is really popular in Berlin – you can see restaurants left and right.
Kimchi Princess [Korean, U-bahn Gorlitzer Bahnof]
Make sure you make a reservation or be prepared for long lines! It’s a modern, chic Korean restaurant with prices to match. However, the food was quite authentic. They had very tasty self-invented cocktails, as well as a delicious aloe vera drink. My friend and I got the bibimbap, kimchi pajeon (kimchi pancake) and the soondubu (tofu stew). I enjoyed it, especially since I hadn’t eaten Korean food in Barcelona for months (besides my own cooking).
Arirang [Korean, U-bahn Golitzer Bahnof]
A hole-in-the-wall type of place right next to my Kreuzberg apartment, with a cutesey Korean waitress that almost slipped on the ground as she took my order. I would say it’s pretty authentic, home-style cooking. I got the bulgogi rice and it came with a lot of panchan. I’ll go back again to try their soondubu!
Mercosy [Korean, U-bahn Kottbusser Platz]
Small restaurant specialized in Bibimbap. I get the sensation that Berlin is obsessed with bibimbap; it seems to be the best-seller of every Korean restaurant I go to. Unfortunately the Bibimbap was very Westernized – they didn’t even put kimchi in it! The spicy sauce was really good. Restaurant was full of foreigners (as in non-German foreigners). Waitress was nice but service was really slow – really, how long does it take to make a bibimbap? It wasn’t that cheap either, a beef bibimbap was 8.50 euros. I would skip this restaurant.
Indian Dhaba Mitra [Indian, U-Bahn Hermannplatz]
Does Indian count as Asian? Who cares, it was an amazing meal!!! A lunch menu that includes an appetizer and main course, for only 6.50 euros. The appetizer was an Indian pastry with Indian soup, and the main course was as above. Soooo good! And their Mango Lassi was the bomb. After eating, I went to the very green park Volkspark Hasenheide nearby to nap off all the food…