When I had a Sichuan dish for the first time, I was entirely confused – it was way too spicy for my palate and evoked an unsettling sour taste in my mouth and yet it was so delicious, I just couldn’t stop eating it. Months later, I learned about Sichuan pepper, which is actually not a pepper, but much closer related to the citrus group, hence the lemonlike or acidic taste and started to understand the wonders of Chinese cooking. One of my favorite Sichuan dishes is Mapo Tofu (although it is still rather painful to eat, but still so enjoyable, you know… a dilemma!), which is why I was beyond excited to see that Hot Spot, a Chinese restaurant in Wilmersdorf that I’ve heard so many people raving about, has a vegetarian version on the menu. And so much more…
Tag: Chinese food
My childhood Chinese restaurant was on a corner a long walk or a short car ride away. My parents usually found the time to cook, but on very rare and special occasions we’d get Chinese take-out. Its different flavors—sweet, spicy, umami—bewitched me and encouraged me to demand we go to Chinese restaurants for my birthdays. Soon we found a place that was better than that corner place, instead overlooking a bus station in the center of town. Up the stairs from its tiny shop front were dark and cozy tables, and the meals were enormous and hearty.
Though Do De Li here on Kantstrasse is much smaller, and lacks the glamorous view of a bus station, it did bring me right back to that childhood comfort zone, spooning up hot-and-sour soup like liquid nostalgia.
After an astonishingly bland dinner at Ming Dynastie last week, I gave up on the idea to get good Chinese food in the East of this city and went back to where Berlin’s Asian heart resides: the West. And I found what is now my favorite place for Chinese, especially Sichuan food: Tian Fu.
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.
Everybody has their own perfect comfort food. There’s comfort foods that are best served solo—like congee, macaroni and cheese, grated apple—and then there’s comfort food that’s meant to be shared: popcorn, fried chicken, fresh mango, soup dumplings, or cheese fondue. None of these are as much fun, or as delicious, when consumed alone on your couch. Hot pot is clearly a dining experience of the latter, shared variety.