Beyond doubt, there’s been somewhat of a street food craze happening in our lovely small town of Berlin. It feels like everyone and there mom now does a street food stall, every mall has a street food court and every day of the week can be spend on a street food market. However, the success of a street food event is decidedly depending on the food quality of its vendors, and since Berlin is still new in the food business, there are only so many good chefs making delicious and street appropriate food, consequently, not every event applying the much coveted street food label to itself has managed to create a worth while foodie experience. Next to my forever favorite event Street Food Thursday, there’s one serious contender for the crown: Bite Club. The outdoor market is back on its original turf, and has assembled amazing talent, making the club better than ever! Enjoy my favs (and I haven’t even tried them all) and mark your calendars with June 5th for the next Bite Club!
The reason I went was the premier of dear Ash Lee’s Chinese noodle stall Chung King with a dish I have been lucky enough to enjoy before and which is now finally available to the crowds: Chong Qing Xiao Mian – a noodle dish from Chongqing (South West of China), that is fresh noodles usually served in pork bone broth with eight to ten different toppings and condiments. Read: preserved root vegetables, garlic ginger water, fermented tofu sauce, sesame paste, lard, soy, vinegar, sichuan peppercorn etc. and the most important: chili oil. Obviously, everything is homemade by Ash Lee herself, for the hand-pulled noodles she teamed up with noodle-connoisseur Shaniu from, you guessed it, Shaniu’s House of Noodles.
The dish (also available in a vegetarian version sans lard and pork broth) is amazing, it’s got so many layers of flavors, sour, sweet, tangy, spicy and (most important) slightly numbing, thanks to the unique flavor of the sichuan pepper and its mala character. Mala being a Chinese combination of numbing and spicy hot. It’s divine. (Please let Ash Lee know you want to taste her dish on her facebook page so she’ll definitely return to the market and maybe even broaden her business, Berlin needs her Sichuan noodle dish!)
After the Chinese dish, I went on to try something Italian, more precise, Sicilian – something I’ve been craving since I had at least one per day on a trip to Sicily over 10 years ago and have not found since: Arrancini. Well, you can find those beautiful stuffed and fried rice balls in Berlin, however, it is rare that they’re made fresh. And they’re just not good if they’re not fresh. It makes no sense to prepare them, have them sit in the counter and then sell them. You’ll understand that once you had them freshly fried.
Lucky me (and you), Orlando is preparing them fresh, filling them, rolling them, breading them, and then frying them. For you to enjoy them warm, as they’re supposed to be eaten. To be delighted by the crunchy crust and the super creamy inside, as schlonzig as a Risotto. Seeing Orlando fry those balls freshly made me so happy, I can’t even tell you.
Following the Sicilian rice balls, was a sandwich recommended to me by Tommy Tannock, one of the founders of Bite Club. Levantine served a vegan SakSuk, roasted eggplants and leeks in tomato stew, served in a warm pita bread with a mix of greens and tahini sauce. I happily devoured this soft and hearty sandwich. With its slightly more subtle flavors, it proved to be the best end of the hearty section of my Bite Club dinner.
I obviously couldn’t end my time at Bite Club without a dessert – and what a beautiful one it was. Gabrielle Jones, mastermind and pastry chef behind Jones Ice Cream, served this cute ice cream cup: raspberry curd is topped with vanilla and cassis ice cream to get a sweet hat of matcha espuma and raspberry crumbs. So good! And finally a venture into the realm of sundaes, which only few of the many very good ice cream makers in Berlin yet do. Please proceed!
After three dishes and the sundae, I was filled up. Sadly though! Because I didn’t even get to try what Chutnify was serving!
No worries, the next Bite Club is just around the corner – June 5th at Hoppetosse!