Oodles of noodles: a definitive dumpling guide
Dumplings - everybody loves these little nuggets of yumminess, so it's no surprise that you'll find versions of them in almost every world cuisine.
With this in mind, we've provided a useful round-up of some of the best places in Berlin to feast on Chinese dumplings... Polish dumplings... Turkish dumplings... you get the picture.
We'll start with these mouthwatering Turkish delicacies because for many, they're actually the least well known.
Filled with meat or potato, and slathered in yoghurt sauce or paprika butter, they certainly count as one of the world's ultimate comfort foods.
Most Berliners agree that the Gözleme Restaurant in Neukölln is one of the best places to sample them: they're prepared in-house, then cooked to order.
Yöre Gözleme Ve Manti Evi likewise produces its own, fresh-made manti that are highly regarded by those in the know.
Gözleme, Karl-Marx-Strasse 35, 12043 Berlin. Opening hours: Thurs-Sat, 11am - 10.30pm; Sun, 12pm -10.30pm; Mon, 11am - 10.30pm
Yöre Gözleme Ve Manti Evi, Prinzenallee 7, 13357 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 6am - 10pm.
Pierogi - even the name sounds satisfying. And at the tiny Taktak Polish Deli, there's a tempting selection of acclaimed vegan, veggie or flesh-filled dumplings at budget-friendly prices. A changing array of soups rounds out the offer - and don't forget to sample a portion of sweet pierogi served with the usual dollop of sour cream plus warm fruit toppings.
Marginally more upscale (and therefore pricier) is the well-regarded, family-run Restaurant Breslau in lovely Prenzlauer Berg. Dumplings are offered alongside other traditional Polish dishes, while added benefits include a large terrace during the summer and cute, candlelit dining room that's perfect for cold winter evenings.
Taktak Polish Deli, Brunnenstraße 5, 10119 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 12pm - 10pm
Restaurant Breslau, Sredzkistraße 67, 10405 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 5pm - 11pm; Sat, 3pm - 11pm; Sun, 12pm - 11pm.
Little Cafe Pelmeni is a homely affair, a tiny cafe dishing up Russian comfort food such as borscht (beetroot) soup, blinis, baked pirozhki and, of course, pelmeni.
An established part of the 'Charlottengrad' Russian scene, this is the place to head for budget home-cooking.
For a more upmarket experience, the highly-regarded Datscha restaurants now comprise three eateries in Friedrichshain, Kreuzberg and Prenzlauer Berg. Offering what's probably Berlin's widest range of Russian dumplings (including veggie options and pan-fried pelmeni) these stylish eateries are a great place to head for first-class Russian nosh.
Tip: it might be hard to detect a difference between pelmeni and pierogi, but the fillings in the Russian dumplings are usually left raw so they can be cooked just before eating.
Cafe Pelmeni, Kantstraße 104A, 10627 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 10am - 10pm; Sun, 11am - 10pm
Datscha Friedrichshain, Gabriel-Max-Straße 1, 10245 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10am - 1am; Datscha Kreuzberg, Graefestraße 83, 10967 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10am - 1am; Datscha Prenzlauer Berg, Stargarder Strasse 24, 10437 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 10am - 1am;
Naturally, this guide would never be complete without a tribute to delicious German fare.
Dumplings of the most basic variety almost always accompany hearty winter dishes, but there's more to the teutonic 'Knödel' than meets the eye.
Tiny cafe Häppies in Prenzlauer Berg specialises in Germknödel, a steamed yum-ball which they stuff with all sorts of tempting fillings, many vegan or veggie.
Die Maultasche in Mitte is a slightly upmarket place for 'Maultaschen', a ravioli-like speciality often served in a bowl of broth. Take a batch home, too, if you just can't get enough.
We featured Lon Men's Noodle House way, way back, little expecting the popularity of this Kantstrasse staple to just keep growing. And even if we've come to the conclusion that these days, much of the food isn't really worth the queues, the chilli wantan still hit the mark. That said, there's little to distinguish them taste-wise from mainland Chinese fare, so if you're looking for a truly Taiwanese twist, the bao buns or excellent beef noodle soup are the dishes to sample.
Lon Men's Noodle House, Kantstraße 33, 10625 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon, 12pm - 10.30pm; Wed-Sun, 12pm - 10.30pm
Yes, they're a thing. Known rather sweetly as momos, these mouthwateringly plump Tibetan specialities are available at Tibet Haus, a long-running Nepalese restaurant in Kreuzberg. A little confusingly, the dumplings from mid-town vendor Momos are merely named after the Tibetan treat, but their organic veggie fare, complete with assorted dips, provide good snacking in Mitte.
Gyoza. Pan-fried, succulent, totally yummy. And probably the best place in town to stuff yourself with them is Takumi Nine, a restaurant so good that it now boasts two branches. Ramen noodle soups and other Japanese dishes are equally delicious.
Takumi Nine, Pappelallee 19, 10437 Berlin / Chausseestraße 124, 10115 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Fri, 12pm - 3pm; 6pm-10.30pm; Sat-Sun, 1pm - 10pm
OK - so 'mandu' don't differ drastically in taste and appearance from other Asian dumplings (although they can be deep-fried, boiled, pan-fried or baked in the oven), but when you're talking Korean, you're also talking plenty of spicy sides and a yummy serving of kimchi.
This is where things start to get complicated, because there's little agreement among Berliners regarding the best places to feast on dim sum, noodles, Xiao Long Bao and other delish' dumpling varieties. And there are certainly plenty of restaurants to choose from.
However, our own current favourite is Hong Tai Yang Noodle and More, a recent-ish arrival opposite the lovely Wilhelm Hoeck pub in Charlottenburg. Don't be put off by the no-frills interior: the home-made dumplings in vinegar soup are a sensation.
Further choices include:
Wok Show: for years, this Prenzlauer Berg institution has been the go-to destination for huge plates of jiaozi dumplings at unbeatable prices. However, a new contender for the potsticker crown is Noodle Works in Kreuzberg.
Trendy Yum Cha heroes in Weinbergsweg is another well-known dumpling destination, but while it gains definite hip-factor marks, style overrides substance, and the (pricey) dumplings are better elsewhere.
Aroma on Kantstrasse has long been considered a dim sum haven; some disagree, but it's open until 3am (perfect, in our book) and usually brimming with Chinese customers.
Family-run Shaniu's House of Noodles is highly rated for its home-made dumplings and noodles. Portions aren't huge, but reliably fresh and tasty.
Hong Tai Yang Noodle And More: Wilmersdorfer Strasse 26, 10585 Berlin. Opening hours: Tue-Sun, 12pm - 9pm
Wok Show, Greifenhagener Strasse 31, 10437 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Thur, 5pm - 10pm; Fri-Sun, 12.30pm - 10.30pm.
Noodle Works: Schönleinstraße 11, 10967 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon, 12pm - 11pm, Wed-Sun, 12pm - 11pm
Yum Cha heroes: Weinbergsweg 8, 10119 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 12pm - 12am
Aroma: Kantstraße 35, 10625 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sun, 12pm - 3am
Shaniu's House of Noodles: Pariser Strasse 58, 10719 Berlin. Opening hours: Mon-Sat, 12pm - 10pm
Best of the rest
Yes, there's more. For sumptuous dumplings with inbuilt social awarenesss, Dings Dums create their delicacies using ingredients that would otherwise be simply thrown away. Working in close collaboration with leftover-Supermarkt 'Sir Plus' the daily-changing selection of dumplings (all made with perfectly healthy, safe ingredients) are a delicious way to support the foodsaver movement.
And finally, for more dumplings than you've probably ever seen in one place, the wonderful open-air Thai market improbably located in a Wilmersdorf park is a top tip for food lovers of any kind.
Dings Dums, Wiener Strasse 34, 10999 Berlin. Opening hours: Thur-Sat 12pm - 11pm
Thai park open-air food market: Preußen Park: Brandenburgische Straße 10707 Berlin. Opening hours: warm weekends from about midady to sundown