Chinese in Berlin: Asia Deli

Starters and mains and all delicious.
Starters and mains and all delicious.

I still like to believe that somewhere in Berlin there’s this fantastic Chinese restaurant, serving the most delicious and flavorful dishes, giving you goosebumps thanks to its Hunan freshness and makes you cry thanks to Szechuan pepper numbness. When I found the seriously good Tian Fu and Hot Spot though, my search didn’t end. Because I heard about this one place where you had to ask for a special red menu, a place that looked like any other cheap “Asian” deli, serving fried noodles but also Sushi and Thai-style plates. But if you asked the right questions, they’d serve you the best Chinese you can get in this city. I finally went there: it’s called Asia Deli. (No joke)

Cucumber with garlic.
Cucumber with garlic.

For a long time I didn’t dare going, because I heard one needed to speak Chinese to get the special menu, a skill I never acquired. And I also didn’t know many Chinese speaking people well enough to ask them to join me. At one point two weeks ago, I just went there with two Austrian friends in toe. Because what the hell, I wanted that food!

Soft tofu with tomatos, soy sauce and cilantro.
Soft tofu with tomatos, soy sauce and cilantro.

Nevertheless, I nervously sent texts to Ash, who I met on the Somewhere weekend last fall, where she prepared great Chinese food. I asked her what to do if they refused to give me the menu. If they spoke no German at all.
In front of my friends I pretended to be confident, I had fueled their expectations, had told them they were in for a special treat, still I was never sure all we were in for was nothing more than some greasy fried noodles.

Bowl of noodle soup with beef ribs.
Bowl of noodle soup with beef ribs.

We arrived at this place that looked nothing more than a prototypical cheap “Asian” place, with no decoration whatsoever, broken down plastic chairs in front of it. We sat down at one of the yellow wooden tables and awaited our destiny.
And then the waitress just came out with two menus in hand, the much awaited red one glowing form afar, and in an instant all my sorrows were gone. She asked wether we wanted the normal menu or the red, Chinese one. No question! And then we went through page after page filled with delicious sounding Hunan dishes and couldn’t decide what to order. Although it was already clear we’d order more than we needed…

Tofu with green peppers.
Tofu with green peppers.

I was so happy this place obviously opened up to those not able to speak Chinese, because what great food they make! We started with cucumber salad, house made pickled cabbage, filled dumplings and tofu with tomatoes and cilantro. All fresh and intense, the flavors complex and appealing with the right amount of chili on the cabbage and cucumbers. And then the mains, my friends opted for a giant noodle soup with beef ribs and Mappo Tofu (not as spicy as expected – I might have warned my friend one time too many). And I went for the tofu with green peppers, delicious!

Mapo tofu
Mapo tofu

Just in time I received a text from Ash telling me to order the fish-fragranced aubergine, which she assured me was vegetarian and along she sent me the dish in Chinese which I showed to the waitress. While my friends wondered how I’d be able to eat another main, I was more than happy when the dish arrived, it was soooo good! Rich in flavor, with a velvety texture. Normally it’s served with minced meat, but I couldn’t help but think that this dish needed no meat at all to be great. Will order it again next time. And I hope this next time is a lot sooner than later. I love the Asia Deli.

Fish-fragranced aubergine with no fish nor meat.
Fish-flavoured aubergine with no fish nor meat.

Asia Deli
Seestraße 41
13353 Berlin Wedding

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Subway: Seestraße
49 30 45084219

Opening Hours:
Mon–Sun 12:00–23:00

Comments

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  1. Kate on

    Reply

    What a find – this looks fantastic! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Ann on

    Reply

    what are the prices? :)

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      Rather low, but not ridiculously cheap

  3. Meike on

    Reply

    Love that place. Eating at Asia-Deli is always fun and delicious. Found the place through a “Nächste Ausfahrt Wedding”- culinary tour a couple of years ago. At that time they were quite hesitant regarding the “surrender” of their red menue. Luckily for us non-Chinese that has changed ;)

  4. Yueling Liu on

    Reply

    Haha, both fish-fragranced aubergine(yu xiang qie zi) and Mapo Tofu(“Mapo 麻婆” in Mandarin means freckled Frau, it got the name because the woman who created this dish had lots of freckles) are well-known traditional Sichuanese cuisines, and I’m guessing also the tofu with green peppers you ordered, because it looks like Xiongzhang Tofu(tofu briefly fried in shallow oil, then stir fried in sauce) with green peppers substituting Chinese green garlic bolt.

    I’ve tried the three dishes mentioned above myself at Asia Deli, although I can’t say that they are as delicious as my dad’s version(I’m from Sichuan), but this recommendation is definitely legit.ヾ ^∇^

  5. hannah on

    Reply

    Uhhhh, I wanna go!!!!! You wouldn’t have any suggestions for LA btw (area Beverly Hills-West Hollywood…)?

  6. Jeni on

    Reply

    Was there last night, two of the dishes definite hits, especially the aubergine, but the octopus was a bit tough. Great place, thanks for the recommend (and in my neighbourhood…)

  7. David on

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    it’s cheap. Best squid I ever had. Ask for the red menu.

  8. Chris on

    Reply

    WAAAHOOOOOOOO!!!
    Thanks for the recommandation – didn´t have such an authentic Chinese food since my stay in Taiwan. I didn´t even now, that there are real Chinese restaurants serving anything else than this crapy and typical >>23B – chicken sweet-sour double fried<< -stuff.
    I mean, they even serve pig feed and kidney, fatty belly, and stuff like that – haven´t seen something like that before here. It was so incredibly tasty :) !!!
    Of course we ordered much more then we could really eat, but we couldn´t stop until everything was finished and nothing was left, haha.

    Great place, thanks again!

  9. Yoske on

    Reply

    Thank you Mary! This was the best tip! We really enjoyed Hunan dishes sweating and smiling! Oh yes, this will be our routine!

  10. weddinger on

    Reply

    dammm…. it was a secret tip… but no more with your article… many hipstars and “expats”… Jesus.

    1. Mary Scherpe on

      this blog is about sharing the many great places this city has to offer, we wish those small enterprises the most of success and are very happy and proud to hear they got loads of new customers from this article. still, we’re sorry to hear you’re suffering from not being able to enjoy this fabulous food in perpetual solitude any more.

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