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10 Things Not to Do in Berlin

by Ralph Martin

Don't…
Eat street food

France, Spain, and the entire Far East do amazing street food, but Berlin's sidewalk snack scene has taken on a strange mutant form in the decades since World War II. The local kebabs and currywurst are best eaten with a heavy pinch of irony. The latter sausage is deep-fried then covered in ketchup and curry powder, a combination that renders it Europe's most strange and disgusting quick eat. However, the döner kebab, Berlin's take on the gyro, provides stiff competition, giving new menace to the phrase "mystery meat," as attested to by numerous food-safety scandals over the years.

Instead…
Eat at ethnic restaurants

As one finds in London, the best of Berlin's cheap-food culture comes by way of its immigrants—Vietnamese, Chinese, and the more recent Mexicans and Americans. World-class bahn mi sandwiches (pork or beef with pickled cucumbers and carrots) can be had at Cô Cô on Rosenthaler Strasse, while steamed pork dumplings that do Shanghai proud are available up the street at Yumcha Heroes. The local mini chain of Maria Bonita, Maria Peligro, and Santa Maria, located in Prenzlauer Berg and Kreuzberg, serves burritos and tostadas that provide unexpectedly subtle yet spicy flavor combinations. The granddaddy of quick-and-delicious Berlin street food, however, is Monsieur Vuong (pictured), on Alte Schönhauser Strasse; it's been discovered by tourists but still provides fresh, lightly seasoned Vietnamese rice and noodle bowls.

Next: How to toast the town >

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.

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