Optimal oriental: Kantstrasse's best Asian eats
Such is the proliferation of oriental eateries in Berlin's Kantstrasse that local wits have apparently dubbed it Kanton strasse.
Whatever the case, the thoroughfare is often referred to as Berlin's Chinatown, but don't expect pagoda-shaped phone booths or bobbing red lanterns. Kantstrasse is generally a fairly nondescript highway, and unfortunately, the same could be said for much of its food.
Good news, however, is that there are definite gems hidden among the Deutsch-adaptive eating options. And we, of course, are here to help you find them.
Lon-Men’s Noodle House
Specialising, unusually, in Taiwanese cuisine, Lon-Men's soups, dumplings and hand-made noodles consistently receive a big thumbs-up from discerning foodies. Worth trying, too, are the gua bao, Taiwanese steamed wraps filled with succulent belly pork.
And with a chef or two always on view busily preparing soup, this tiny, no frills noodle bar even looks authentic.
Lon Men's Noodle House: Kantstrasse 33, 10625 Berlin
At Minh Trang it's all about the phô - the deliciously aromatic noodle-filled broth that's a staple of Vietnamese cuisine.
The various combinations (chicken, seafood, tofu, etc) certainly rank among Berlin's best, although the Phô Special, with its assorted beef cuts as well as meatballs, generally wins the most plaudits.
Classics such as bun cha are pretty decent, too, and rare-in-Berlin specialities such as three bean dessert often turn up on the menu. In general, however, most customers head here with soup-slurping firmly in mind.
Minh Trang: Kantstrasse 67, 10627 Berlin
Samakki Talad Thai
OK - so this Thai kitchen isn't on Kantstrasse itself, but it's close enough to count. And the no-frills set-up - which auspiciously seems to double as something of a Thai community centre - provides some of Berlin's best budget oriental eats.
Specials are created daily and include an ever-changing array of exotic, labour-intensive concoctions the likes of which you'd be hard-pushed to find elsewhere in the city. Food is reliably spicy - no concessions to wimpy western palates - and packed with home-cooked flavours.
While some might balk at the canteen-style arrangement, the opportunity to indulge in authentic Thai treats at bargain prices make Samakki Talad Thai's meagre surroundings a very minor quibble. And since this gem of an eatery caters predominantly to an ex-pat Thai clientele, you'll be able to catch up on some Thai TV while you're at it.
Samakki Talad Thai: Kaiser-Friedrich Strasse 41, 10627 Berlin
Chinese restaurant Aroma is already one of Kantstrasse's better known locations, and the fact that it's been around for quite some time attests to its popularity.
The main draw here for many are the dim sum - those bite-sized parcels of deliciousness which are still far less common in Berlin than gastronomic capitals such as London or New York.
Aroma's supposedly home-made offerings generally elicit glowing reviews, and are reasonably priced, too, although other menu items are far from budget - a reflection, perhaps, of the restaurant's relatively swanky surroundings.
Unfortunately absent are the cheap, one-plate dishes you'll find in most big-city Chinatown eateries, but if you've a craving for barbecued and roast meats this is the place to sate it: just bring along a friend to help out with the obligatory large portions.
Bonus: Open until 3am daily, Aroma is one of Berlin's few late-night eateries. Perfect for an impromptu nocturnal feast.
Aroma: Kantstrasse 35, 10625 Berlin