For decades, Germany's capital city Berlin has been one of the most vibrant and most exciting in all of Europe. Centrally located in Europe, Berlin has become a crossroads of different cultures and populations all making the city their own. As well as contributing to the tumultuous history of the city, this has left Berlin with a food scene that is second to none.
German food often doesn't get the recognition that, say, French or Italian cuisine does. But in Berlin, you'll find just about every culinary tradition in the world represented. Nowhere is that more obvious than in Berlin's street food scene. The young countercultural population of the city ensures that street food is perennially popular, and it seems there's always some new exciting venue for street food in Berlin.
More than most European capitals, Berlin is a city of different neighborhoods, each with its own culture and feel. Maybe that's a legacy of having been divided into East and West for much of the 20th century. Whatever the reason, Berlin's geographical and cultural diversity means you'll never run out of something to eat in the city. If you're trying to decide where to stay, this ultimate neighborhood guide will help you pick a district to start exploring. And, as always, Bounce is there to help too. Drop off your bags at a Berlin luggage storage location so you can explore the city unencumbered. A world of delicious food awaits you.
The best street food vendors in Berlin
Ask two residents of Berlin where to get the best street food in the city, and you'll get three different answers. Plus, the world of Berlin street food is one that's forever evolving, so there's always something new and exciting to discover. However, some street food stalls have been around long enough to make a serious impression on the local food culture. These tried and tested vendors are some of the best in Berlin, and eating at these local classics will really make you feel like part of the city.
Mustafa's Gemuese Kebab
If there's one thing Berlin isn't short of, it's kebab shops. Germany is home to a huge Turkish diaspora, and Turkish cuisine has been part of Berlin's culinary landscape for generations. However, Mustafa's is generally acknowledged as being a cut above your run-of-the-mill kebab place.
You'll likely see the long line to get served the minute you step out of Mehringdamm Metro station, but don't let that put you off. The thinly sliced and delicately layered meat and vegetables combined with three different sauces is well worth the wait.
Currywurst is as typically Berlin as street art and demolished walls. This classic local street food was invented back in 1949 when food was still rationed and the city was still reeling from the aftereffects of World War II. When Herta Heuwer obtained ketchup and curry powder from British soldiers and added the mixture to grilled sausage, she didn't intend to create one of her home city's most iconic dishes. But that's exactly what she did. Served with French fries, currywurst soon became one of the most popular street foods in Berlin.
Curry 36 continues this proud tradition and is widely recognized as one of the best sausage shops in the city, which is saying a lot. Like Mustafa's, which is close by, you'll probably find a line to get in, but that only speaks to the quality of the food at this Berlin institution. The options here are simple. You can get a classic currywurst like Herta would have made, or an organic version. They also offer a vegan currywurst so that herbivores don't miss out. That's all. But that's enough. When you do one thing this well, you don't need to do anything else.
If you can track down this Asian-inspired food truck, you're in for a treat. The spring rolls and fresh salad offer one of the best deals in the city, especially near Berlin's biggest tourist attractions. The Japanese cuisine offered by this food truck offers a light and healthy balance to other street food vendors that over-rely on fried food and heavy options. Plus, the chefs create interesting fusions of Asian and European flavors you simply won't find anywhere else.
The absence of decent Indian food given the size of Berlin was a mystery to locals and travelers alike for many years. Chai Wallahs is doing its part to counter that by providing delicious and innovative Indian food on the go. Their chicken tikka naanwich has quickly become a local favorite and is the perfect thing to eat on the go when you're craving Indian food while exploring the vibrant German capital.
Sabor a mi
Mexican food is another classic of world cuisine that hasn't always been represented in Berlin until recently. Sabor a mi brings the exciting spices and sauces of Mexico to the streets of Berlin, making it one of the best places in town to scratch your itch for Mexican food. The tacos and quesadillas can be customized for meat-eaters and vegetarians alike, making this a great choice for street food in Berlin.
Where to find the best Berlin street food spots
As the economic powerhouse of the European Union, Germany continues to attract immigrants from around the world. That's reflected in Berlin's local food, where you'll find a doner kebab as easily as you will a German sausage or a pint of beer. A good example of this cross-cultural pollination is Preussenpark, now often better known as Thai Park. Around 20 years ago, the park became popular with Thai ladies and their families who would bring picnics to the park. Soon, they began cooking their own meals in the open air, and curious Germans would ask them what they were making and if they could try some. Soon, the park became an open-air food market devoted to the exotic flavors of Thailand. You'll find Preussenpark in the southwest corner of the city, and although it may be somewhat of a journey from the main tourist attractions of Berlin, it's definitely worth the trip.
The Green Market
Traditionally, German food has tended to focus a lot on meat in the form of sausages and schnitzel. So you might think, if you're a vegetarian visiting the German capital, you'll struggle to find good street food. However, you'd be wrong there. Many of Berlin's top street food vendors offer multiple vegetarian options. Better still, you can visit The Green Market, a vegan market located close to Berlin train station that offers an almost unlimited choice for vegetarians. The market takes place year-round, and although there is a five euro admission fee, it's well worth it to see some of the most exciting dishes lighting up Berlin's vegetarian community. There's more than food on offer here too. The market has become a meeting place for eco-conscious and health-focused vendors and customers, making it a great place to meet like-minded locals.
Another of Berlin's celebrated street food markets, this market hall doesn't compare in size to Markthalle Neun (more on that in the next section). However, this historic market that dates back to the late 19th century has been a fixture of the city for over 100 years. In recent years, more and more street food vendors have made the market their own, with the result that Arminiusmarkthalle is a great place to explore a variety of street foods and try what is undoubtedly one of the best street food markets in the whole city.
Street food festivals in Berlin
Berlin has enough street food vendors and market halls to keep even the pickiest eater satisfied. However, the citywide celebration of street food doesn't end there. Street food in Berlin is big business, and along with its regular markets and food trucks, Berlin hosts several street food festivals that are well worth checking out if you are in the city at the right time. Celebrate Berlin street food at one or more of these vibrant festivals and see what all the fuss is about.
And if, after all this food, you feel the need to get some exercise, you're in luck. The best hikes in Berlin are just a click away.
Street Food Thursday at Markthalle Neun
Markthalle Neun in the Kreuzberg district of Berlin is one of the city's biggest and grandest market halls. Every day, the market hall, just a few Metro stations away from Alexanderplatz, is open to provide local residents with vegetables and other necessities, and it has been a fixture of Berlin for over 120 years.
But on Thursday evenings after 5 PM, this traditional German market hall transforms into something else entirely. Some of the city's most exciting food vendors take over the market to provide fresh, tasty meals to an enthusiastic crowd of local diners. The list of stalls at Street Food Thursday changes with the seasons, but no matter what you like to eat, chances are good you'll find it here. BBQ pulled pork, oysters, pastrami sandwiches, and vegetarian options are all very much on the menu. And of course, it wouldn't be Germany if you couldn't get bratwurst, fries, and that quintessential Berlin delicacy, currywurst here.
Located next to the train station, you'll find Bite Club, one of the most popular and best-attended street food festivals in all of Germany. The event runs from 5 PM to 11 PM every Friday. The first rule of Bite Club is that you are definitely allowed to talk about Bite Club. The second rule is that you may not be able to talk about it much, because your mouth will be busy snacking on all the tasty dishes you'll find here. At an idyllic location by the river, you'll find representatives from some of the city's best restaurants, along with up-and-coming culinary talent. Check out KLX-Koshary Lux for stick-to-your -ribs Egyptian street food, or Mama Shabz for a culinary journey to Pakistan. Son Kitchen will scratch your edge for kimchee and other Korean specialties, while Humble Pie provides a surprising venue for comfort food from the southern US in the capital of Germany. Taking a walk through this open-air market is like taking your taste buds on a trip around the world, so make sure you bring your appetite with you.
Burgers & Hip Hop
No prizes for guessing what you'll get at this regular festival of street food in Berlin. Burgers & Hip Hop is a regular street party held at the legendary Prince Charles club in Kreuzberg. Thousands of people attend this event, and participants vote for the best burger at the festival, so expect to find some creative and innovative twists on the street food classic. Plus, you can burn off the calories you've consumed by dancing the night away to DJs playing the latest and greatest in hip-hop and other urban music.
Berlin's street food markets and festivals make the city one of the best destinations in Europe for those who like to try food on the cutting edge. Whether you visit the city in summer or in winter, you'll find there's always some exciting food event taking place somewhere. Drop off your bags at a Bounce luggage storage and get ready to explore Berlin's exciting street food scene. You won't regret it.