Over the past few years, street food in Berlin has undergone a quiet revolution. The city's kerbside dining scene is in the grip of a gastronomic renaissance, and has moved far beyond traditional German eats in a movement spearheaded by amateur and professional cooks from around the world. Street food stalls with exotic flavours have been pitching up in Berlin’s abandoned warehouses, street markets, former beer halls and even refurbished boats on the Spree, and late opening hours mean they're starting to become veritable nightlife destinations in themselves.
Pop-up food events or street food parties are taking place almost every week, somewhere in the city. There is even now an annual festival of street food, Stadt, Land, Food, a four-day blowout of non-stop mouthwatering mayhem, where street food stalls mingle with an international roll-call of street food and pop up experts debating sustainability, provenance and global cuisine within the city’s social context.
Hungry? Prime your bellies, grab a fork and join us for a belly-busting rumble around town to find the pick of the Berlin street food purveyors…
Where to find Berlin's best street food
Berliners are crying out for Indian food that actually reflects the breadth, excitement, flavours and textures of South Asian cookery. Until recently, Indians in Berlin would weep openly in the city’s pitiful excuses for Indian restaurants but as the phenomenal success of this modest pop-up (modelled on an Indian ‘chaat’ street food stand) has proven, Berliners just can’t get enough of Chai Wallah’s eccentric, mouthwatering creations. The chicken tikka ‘naanwich’ has become a bit of a cult favourite, but you can enjoy sweet potato fries with lime aioli, spicy lentil samosas and much more…
Must try: Chicken tikka naanwich.
Find them at: Wiener Strasse 34, Kreuzberg, Tue-Sat noon-10pm.
Probably the biggest and slickest street food event in town, Bite Club bursts into life every fortnight at a riverside spot in Kreuzberg. After grabbing armloads of esoteric food and booze from around the world from a cluster of vans, stalls and bars, diners scramble onto the ‘Hoppetosse’, a moored boat to scoff anything from gourmet ribs, burgers and salads to homemade Indian, Asian and African bites. You’ll find a mix of one-off vendors alongside regulars who’ve become street food stars in their own right, such as Bunsmobile, Bar Raval and PIC NIC 34. The party atmosphere comes courtesy of a host of local and guest DJs and the laid-back, friendly vibe carries on deep into the night.
Must try: The cheeseburger from Bunsmobile.
Find them at: Hoppetosse by Badeschiff, Eichenstrasse 4, Kreuzberg, Friday evenings.
Street Food Thursday
Take a vast former market hall in Kreuzberg, add dozens of independent food stalls staffed by local and visiting cooks, eager to serve up and share their favourite flavours and you’ve got the weekly stalwart of the pop up food scene, Street Food Thursday, one of Berlin’s most cosmopolitan nights out. From stoutly British pies to silky Thai tapioca dumplings, fiery Mexican tacos to tangy Peruvian ceviche, droolworthy delights about – and it’s all ridiculously affordable. Get in early, as the stampedes devour everything on offer in minutes. Founded by Anna Lai and Tobias Bürger and Kavita Meelu, Street Food Thursday’s been feted with the Gastronomischer Innovator 2013 award from the city of Berlin.
Must try: The extra spicy homemade sambal from Laksa House Berlin.
Find them at: Eisenbahnstraße 42/43, Thursdays 5pm–10pm.
Burgers & Hip Hop
Wildly popular and jam-packed, this open air pop-up does exactly what it promises – serving up a dizzying array of weird and wonderful burgers and hot dogs all to a throbbing backdrop of pumping hip hop, courtesy of the DJ trucks dotted between the food stalls. Participants elevate humble meat-and-bread snacks into outlandish creations, infusing global flavours and ingredients to often startling effect. Get there early – the event begins during the afternoon and fills up fast, as will your belly.
Must try: Wu Tang hot dog with kimchee curry sesame topping.
Find them at: Prinzenstrasse 85F, Kreuzberg. Check Facebook page for the next pop-up.
A weekly jamboree of spice-laden authentic South African flavours, Chakalaka Tuesdays brings a touch of Durban to Neukolln every Tuesday night with a mouthwatering array of flavours. Everything’s vegan-friendly which means just about anyone can enjoy these dishes. Proper South African food is hard enough to find in Europe, but as winter draws in, the chilly grey streets of Neukolln feel somewhat warmer and lovelier when your mouth is tingling with South African sunshine.
Must try: The red dhal curry.
Find them at: Pannierstrasse 12, Tuesdays 7pm.www.facebook.com/chakalakasuppers
Thai Park, that pops up in Wilmersdorfer Preußenpark, is a Berlin institution that's been thriving among the city's Asian community for years. Simply put, when the weather’s nice enough (no rain or snow) and its reasonably warm, lines of Thai ladies serve up panfuls of tempting home cooking, ranging from tongue-tingling curries, satays, soups and salads to ridiculously colourful desserts and cocktails. With a warm, relaxed family atmosphere, oodles of noodles and much more, it’s one of the most authentic Bangkok food experiences you’ll find this side of the world.
Must try: The impossibly elaborate shaved ice and tapioca desserts.
Find them at: Fehrbelliner Platz, Wilmersdorf, Saturdays and Sundays (and occasionally weekdays) during summer, noon-8pm (approx).
Perhaps slightly more rough around the edges than the relatively professionally-produced Street Food Thursday and Bite Club events, Heimat Berlin is buzzing these days. Friday nights see a booze-heavy array of drink and food stalls while Sundays mean the (slightly) more chilled Village Market. Like Bite Club, you get a bunch of pop-ups and street vendors from around the world, serving up single dishes or assorted bites and snacks. Live jazz and copious amounts of alcohol mean Heimat’s party atmosphere gets into swing quickly with a cheerful, easy-going crowd in attendance.
Must try: The vendors are constantly changing but if Maria Maria Arepas are around, try their Tex-Mex corn pancakes.
Find them at: Revaler Str. 99 (it’s the RAW area, just walk all the way to the back past Astra and Cassiopaia), Sundays noon-2am (Village Market), Fridays 6pm-4am (Bar & Food Night).
After you’ve eaten your way around the world and can’t face another Asian-fusion mini-burger on artisan dough, it’s time to remember where you are and what made this city’s global food reputation what it is – yes, it’s time to chow down on the humble currywurst, that staple of German street cuisine. Head to the railway arches under Prenzlauerberg’s Eberswalderstrasse U-bahn station and join the queue lining up patiently for a paper tray of chopped bratwurst, ketchup and curry powder at this historic Berlin institution which has been doling out the best chopped sausages in town on the same site since the 1920s and still, reputedly, uses the Konnopke family’s secret ketchup sauce recipe…
Must try: The currywurst (obviously).
Find it at: Schönhauser Allee 44b, Prenzlauerberg, 9am–8pm daily.