The following is a guest post about some of the best places to eat cheap and delicious food in Berlin, Germany. As much as I love food, I’m not great at photographing it, mostly because I eat half of it before I think to take a photo. I’m not the best at describing it, either, but Cam is! Cam focuses on street food around Europe, helping to make an otherwise expensive part of the world more reachable for the masses. The following are his favorite places to find Berlin’s best street food, which I agree with as a resident of the city!
I remember walking through the streets of Berlin years ago admiring the interesting graffiti and alcoves while looking for hidden bars and new restaurants. It was as if entire blocks smelled of grilled sausages or falafel frying nearby. After seeing how so many food trucks, street food kiosks and little restaurants adorned the city it was no wonder why delicious smells seemed to come from everywhere.
Any stretch of Berlin could yield places to try new gyros, falafel, dumplings, burgers, sausages, and more. For a street food fanatic like me, I didn’t know where to start on this most recent trip. I asked locals, read reviews and wandered endlessly looking for what I thought might be the best options available.
Though there is much more to explore in this culinary playground, I found what I believe to be some of Berlin’s best street food options. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Bergermeister, Oberbaumstraße 8 10997 Berlin
With busy roads on either side, and sitting underneath a third, you can’t really get more ‘street’ food than this. Burgermeister is located in what looks like a large shipping container in Kreuzberg.
Juicy burger styles include the bar-b-q, chili cheeseburger, mushroom burger, a tofuburger and more. They’ll likely have a line when you visit but it will be for good reason.
I went with the Bar-B-Q Burger (€4.50) which included bacon, caramelized onions, lettuce, tomato and special sauce. I also added cheese. The patty was juicy and melted in my mouth. The bacon and onions were cooked perfectly and added a nice smoky flavor. The veggies were sliced then and the bun was nicely toasted.
I quickly realized it was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. I was tempted to try the fries with cheese or chili but knew I had so much more street food to try that night. Still, the fries looked really good. I look forward to giving them a try next time.
Street Food Thursday, Eisenbahnstraße 42-43, 10997 Berlin
Every Thursday night at Markthalle Neun (Market Hall Nine), around 20-30 street food vendors gather here from 5-10 p.m. Named simply Street Food Thursday, this event allows diners to try a number of options as well as local beer and wine. Each of the vendors has their own unique culinary focus and style.
Everyone was very friendly and helpful in describing what they do and how they prepare their food. It got very busy by 6 p.m. so make sure to get here early!
(Note from Kristin: They also have a breakfast market there once per month which is equally delicious!)
As I arrived at Street Food Thursday just before they opened, Bao Kitchen‘s gua bao buns immediately stood out. Bao offered pork belly, pulled pork and shredded chicken. I talked to them as they opened and they were excited about what they were preparing. My mind went to the pork belly option and when I asked them, that’s what they recommended.
Once ready, I watched as they reached into a wooden case positioned over boiling water and pulled out a fresh bun that was still steaming hot. They folded it and added a smear of sriracha. Then some finely diced cabbage and onion that had been slow cooked was spooned on top. Finally they added a few pieces of pork belly, a reduction of the sauce the pork was cooked in and some cilantro. They asked if I would like some slivers of spicy red pepper, as well as some crushed peanuts. I agreed to both.
The meat was juicy and flavorful. The sauces added a richness and hint of spice while the herbs added an element of freshness. I loved the way the peanuts stood out with the extra crunch through the soft and tender textures of the rest of the dish. It was very well done overall. For about €6 I highly recommend giving these a try.
There are a number of other vendors including:
- Mogg: Pastrami sandwiches
- Fräulein Kimchi: Korean tacos
- Glut & Späne: Smoked fish
- Craft beer, wine & cocktails
- Additional options such as Malaysian dumplings, Egyptian food, grilled sausages, burgers, ice cream and more!
Unfortunately I didn’t have the time or a larger stomach to enjoy more of Street Food Thursday but I will be back!
Curry 36, Locations throughout Berlin
Currywurst is one of the undisputed kings of Berlin street food. To find it, I was told by locals that Curry 36 was where I needed to go. Offered with or without the sausage casing, I was told to order without. After a few rides on the subway and a quick walk, we found their location at Mehringdamm 36.
Though there was a long line, it moved quickly. Smells of curry and roasting meats wafted all around us and prepared me for what I would experience.
I ordered and made a mistake in my broken German, forgetting to specify no sausage skin. My friend caught the error and managed to get the kitchen’s attention. Minor disaster averted. After my mix-up, they grabbed my skinless sausage off the grill, sliced it up, added some sauce and dusted it with curry powder.
Currywurst isn’t that visually impressive. It looks like a large sausage covered in ketchup. This understated appearance is deceiving.
It’s crazy how simple the currywurst appears versus how great it tastes. This little dish is fantastic! The sausage is fresh and flavorful, complemented well by the simple but well seasoned sauce and a dusting of curry powder. For only €2 this is a great deal. You can also order it with fries and a drink for a few dollars more. Highly recommended. Find Curry 36 at one of their many locations throughout Berlin.
Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap, Mehringdamm 32, 10961 Berlin
Not far from Curry 36 is another local favorite called Mustafa’s Gemüse Kebap. With a line that usually takes around 30 minutes to get through at lunch time, this is a good indicator of quality street food in Berlin.
As I neared the front of the line one of the largest vertical rotisseries of chicken I had ever seen came into view. It may have been larger than all the ones I saw during my time in Turkey and Greece. They also had huge mounds of cabbage, onions and other vegetables. These guys were prepared to deal with a high volume of traffic.
I ordered my chicken in a durum wrap with all the vegetables, hummus and spicy sauces. Though busy, these guys were kind and happy enough to allow me to snap off a photo of them making the durum wrap.
This was easily the best durum I enjoyed in Berlin and rivaled the many I enjoyed in Turkey. The meat was fresh and juicy, the veggies were all fresh and the spicy chili oil was something I found myself wanting back in Turkey but was difficult to find. I may go so far as to say it was better than those I had in Turkey. It was incredible. At just €4.50 it’s also one of the best deals for food in Berlin.
Mercosy Korean Kitchen, Dresdener Str. 11, 10999 Berlin
On our last day in Berlin, my friend reached out to locals on social media to see if they had any recommendations. One response said that if we were fans of bibimbop we should head to Mercosy Korean Kitchen. We were and decided to pay them a visit.
We arrived to this tiny space with just a few tables inside and a couple more on the patio. It was a cold December day and we were excited to sit down indoors. We chose the business lunch option which is available during the week from noon until 5 p.m. It includes a bowl of bibimbop, tea and miso soup. At the recommendation of the waitress I went with the pork belly (€9) and my friend went with the vegan option (€6).
The tea and soup did a good job of preparing us for what we were about to enjoy. Cultivating ingredients from local organic farms, Mercosy strives to put out fresh, quality food. Once our bibimbop was delivered we both had to sit and stare at how beautiful it looked for a moment before digging in. Just for a moment though.
Kimchi, cabbage, sprouts, pomegranate, squash, green onions, basil and a poached egg were included in both of our dishes. Sesame seeds were sprinkled on top. It was quite an impressive looking dish. Add to that some spicy chili paste, soy sauce, chili oil and ginger oil offered on the side and we were in heaven. Everything went together perfectly. The flavor and texture combinations were impressive.
The overall taste and value of their Business Lunch options are fantastic. This turned out to be a truly memorable final meal in Berlin. I highly recommend giving Mercosy a try.
Note, I stayed primarily in Kreuzberg during my time in Berlin. This is a massive city with an equally large number of street food and restaurants for all palates and budgets. Having traveled through a majority of Europe, Berlin remains one of my favorite places in the world for culture and food. Hopefully the options I found help you to enjoy some great cuisine at affordable options during your next trip.
Cam is a food and travel blogger who left his career to eat his way around the world. He recently spent time exploring most of Eastern Europe and is now in Southeast Asia.
Whether it’s his favorite surf & turf burger in Copenhagen or the best falafel in Tel Aviv, his goal is to help readers appreciate the world of street food and let them know where to find it in each city.
Find more on CamEscapes.