This place has been recommended to me over and over again, however, it took me a long time to try it and I blame that on its odd location – but when friends were inviting me to take a look at their new house around the corner, I used the opportunity and asked them to eat at Da Jia Le, where Dongbei, Northeast Chinese, food is served. And yes, it’s worth traveling to this not very pretty part of Schöneberg.
Really, not pretty – Da Jia Le is located by a four lane street, in the midst of social housing. One of them, just down the street, is the infamous Pallasseum, a project built in the 70s, that used to be the prime example of failed post-war housing development, but has improved its image over time.
Entering Da Jia Le, it reminded me of my time in Uzbekistan, where restaurants often also have a industrial hall kind of feel with neon lights and colored walls (in Da Jia Le’s case it’s a bright green), automatic sliding doors and chunky furniture. The clumsy interior style is something I don’t mind, some might even think this adds to the authenticity of a place.
We ordered a selection of our favorites, probably missing out on the specialities the Dongbei kitchen has to offer, because they weren’t standing out to us on the menu this particular day. The tofu skin, cucumber salad, and marinated tofu as cold starters were all delicious and solid. And while the fried potato strips were a bit flat compared to those served at, say, Shaniu, I liked the crispy fried Yu Xiang aubergines. We finished all of it, despite ordering too much, possibly the best indicator of how much we liked it.
Do I think it’s the best Chinese place in the city? Not really, but does it have to be about the best of the best, the top of the list always and only? I couldn’t even say which one’s the best Chinese in the city, and I don’t think I have to make a decision. This is a good place to have a yummy Sunday feast with friends on a rainy afternoon, of which we’ve had so many these past weeks. Also, I can’t come up with any other decent place to eat in that area, can you? (Ixthys down the road has quite good Korean food, but their missionary efforts are annoying, to say the least.)
Isn’t it lovely how much of a choice of good and delicious Chinese food we have? There has been somewhat of a wave of Chinese places opening, and I love it!