Still one of my favourite places in Berlin for ever and ever, I was so very happy we re-started Thai Park season this past weekend. In case you’re asking yourself what that is, despite our restless promotion of this magical place in a park in Wilmersdorf, let me tell you: it’s the best of all. It’s an outdoor-market for Thai delicacies, fried ones as well as super fresh ones, and it’s happening every day (so weather allows) and it’s just plain gorgeous.
It’s the one spot I recommend to every Berlin visitor over and over again, the one market you’ll need to go to experience the loveliness of this city, against all Gesundheitsamt-odds.
So, how’s it working, you ask? It’s easy. Every day, with the peak happening (most vendors, but most visitors as well) on Sundays, Thai families gather in Preußenpark, the green space just behind metro station of Fehrbelliner Platz (which has a decent flea market on weekends, combine the two and you have a perfect Ausflug). They’ve been gathering for years, enjoying the sun and home-cooked Thai food. They are still doing that today, just with the very important improvement that you can enjoy their food too, since they offer it to buy with prices all below 10 Euros.
In between women playing cards on colorful blankets, umbrellas provide shade for make-shift kitchens, where women deep-fry pork belly, prepare fresh and spicy Som Tam (papaya salad) or re-heat bright white steamed buns. If you were me, you’d start with a mango salad – a rather recent addition to the market’s offerings, at least for me, and it easily killed this weekend’s papaya salad in terms of tastiness.
Then you’d go for a bun filled with noodles and vegetables, heaps of summer rolls, a veggie Pad Thai or one of the soups with tofu, fresh herbs and mushrooms. (Don’t be too strict on the use of fish sauce, while they all are capable to leave out dried tiny shrimp, telling them you want a full-veggie version might lead to some complications. Or just plain limitations of your choice.) And wash it all down with a cup of Thai iced tea.
While your carnivore friends now proceed to enjoy whole fishes, deep-fried, or a bunch of Thai sausages filled with pork (I guess), rice and some fancy spices, we veggies are ready for dessert. One very well-intended advice is to stock up early on the sticky rice with mango and coconut sauce. It’s too good and thus often gone quickly, so better get that before you even start ordering your Som Tam.
And then the deep-fried banana. Make sure you’ve got room for this and enjoy it while lying on your blanket and squinting in the sun. Having the most delicious of times.