First off, don’t trust your iPhone to just lead you straight to Lon Men, as it has a Googlegänger some 20 minutes further south, a Chinese restaurant that smelled great but definitely was not the place I was supposed to meet the Wednesday Chef for lunch. By the time I’d rushed my way back up to Kantstrasse (and how could I possible have thought this lovely little Taiwanese treasure would be anywhere else but amidst Berlin’s street of Asian delights; see Aroma and Dao), she had already made headway into a disappointing noodle soup and some surprising off-menu dumplings in chili sauce. On her experienced recommendation I ordered some noodles with spicy beef sauce that looked luminously red, were almost spicy, and definitely stained my white shirt. Ah well.
The pleasant surprise of the afternoon, however, was the gua bao Luisa recommended. Daintier than the kissing-cousin Vietnamese variant (bánh bao) served at Bite Club, my little steamed-bun sandwich was filled with crispy duck and pickles, and if it hadn’t been for that bowl of noodles I’d just slurped up, I could have easily imagined eating several more, just lining them up on a little table outside on Kantstrasse, and watching this entirely different part of the city go about its Westerly business.
Definitely a restaurant to come back to, then, and one in which to explore the tripier corners of the menu, not to mention the items that go unlisted on that menu. As the proud picture inside shows, none other than Helmut Kohl himself would be proud of you.