The Best Asian Restaurants in Kreuzberg, Berlin
Kreuzberg has a lot going on and that includes a decent amount of Asian restaurants. It’s not quite as authentic as Asian restaurants in Berlin’s Charlottenburg area (Kantstraße is an Asian food lovers’ dream), but it’s definitely in the same ballpark.
From the Michelin-starred Restaurant Tim Raue in Kreuzberg-Mitte to much-loved Korean fried chicken joints in Kottbusser Tor, there really is something Asian for everyone’s taste buds and wallet size.
Regardless of what cuisine you’re after, check out Quisine’s list of recommendations below on the best Asian restaurants in Kreuzberg. Whether it’s Korean, Cantonese, Thai or Asian fusion, chances are the area has it. If you’re on the hunt for Japanese restaurants in particular, check out this more in-depth article instead.
Long March Canteen
Dim sum dumplings that are out of this world
Kreuzberg is home to one of the most exciting Chinese restaurants in Berlin. Located on an unassuming corner near Markthalle Neun, Long March Canteen isn’t the easiest to find. When I visited in winter, I found all their windows blacked out with dark blinds and no real signage.
Yet it’s safe to say the secret’s out, with the restaurant earning itself a spot in the Michelin Guide 2018. Whipping up contemporary and refined Cantonese cuisine, the food here is extraordinarily good.
Long March Canteen is dedicated to the art form of dim sum – the Chinese tradition of small plates that you share with others – and their extensive menu focuses on flavours from Shanghai and Sichuan cuisine. That means you can expect a ton of dumplings (18 types, to be precise) alongside both cold and warm dim sum dishes.
I went for the wantans with Sichuan chilli oil and salted vegetables, and my god, they were honestly incredible. The dough exterior was firm yet soft all at the same time, and the filling was the juiciest pocket of prawn and herbs I’ve ever eaten.
After eating them, it was apparent that Long March Canteen are serious about their dumplings. There’s a dedicated dumpling station in the middle of the restaurant, for example, where customers can watch the chefs pay meticulous attention to detail while steaming dumplings fresh to order.
I also had the thinly sliced ox cheeks in spiced rice wine and goji berries. It was a delectable cold dish that had chilli, cinnamon and star anise flavours coming through in every bite, with the berries offering a nice textural contrast. My warm dim sum dish was green asparagus with quail eggs, crispy seaweed, lemon and wasabi mayonnaise. The dish required more sauce, but the asparagus was mega juicy and succulent.
For dessert, I couldn’t resist the Tang Bao, some mouth-watering warm and spongy chocolate dumplings dusted with cinnamon and cocoa. The dish is essentially refined Nutella in a soft pillow of dough – and I loved every bite.
In conclusion, don’t let the Michelin status put you off. This isn’t fine dining – it’s more like sophisticated, smart dining in a cool and collected atmosphere. The service is friendly and attentive (without being overbearing), and their stylish interior is decked out with neon decor and Chinese posters. Price-wise, I had three dishes and a dessert for €30 (rather greedy, I know, but it tasted that darn tasty).
However, if the price and atmosphere of Long March Canteen is intimidating, a more casual dim sum restaurant in Kreuzberg is Cha for Tee. Located in Bergmannkiez, Cha for Tee has garnered attention for both their traditional and inventive dumplings, as well as other Cantonese cuisine favourites.
Long March Canteen, Wrangelstraße 20, 10997 Berlin; Open: Monday to Sunday, 6pm – midnight
Cosy Korean restaurant with a buzz for bibimbap
Rightfully so, Kimchi Princess on Skalitzer Strasse is seen as the undisputed champion of Korean food in Kreuzberg. They’ve got stylish decor, a bustling atmosphere and delicious dishes to match, with their large menu featuring Korean classics like grilled BBQ and steaming hotpots.
Another more charming and intimate Korean restaurant in Kreuzberg that’s worth a visit is Mercosy. Situated on Dresdener Strasse near Kottbusser Tor, this cosy bibimbap bar has a short and simple menu. With only around 15 seats available (although there’s additional outdoor seating in the summer), Mercosy is small but reservations can be made for dinner.
They exclusively serve bibimbap, a traditional Korean rice dish that comes with various toppings, and a handful of sides. “Bibim” means to mix, and that’s what customers are invited to do when they get their dish of rice, egg, chosen topping, seasonal vegetables and gochujang chilli pepper paste.
Mercosy’s bibimbap bowls range from tender beef and pulled chicken, to tofu and salmon with sea asparagus (there’s also vegan and vegetarian varieties available). I opted for the crispy pork belly bowl and despite the restaurant being full, service was quick and my meal came out in 10 minutes.
Alongside a side of spicy kimchi, the pork belly bibimbap went down a treat. Every bite had a morsel of goodness in it, much more satisfying than Japanese donburi bowls which usually come with far too much rice and not enough toppings. The pork belly was beautifully tender, with a crispy skin and a flavoursome layer of fat in the middle.
Mercosy has an ethos of serving fresh and homemade Korean food that’s nutritious and tastes good. And that’s exactly how I felt after the meal, leaving the restaurant with a light spring in my step and a satisfied belly of fiery goodness.
Mercosy, Dresdener Straße 11, 10999 Berlin; Open: Monday to Sunday, 12 – 11pm
Looking for more restaurant suggestions in Berlin?
Pagode Thai Kitchen
Authentic Thai food in the heart of Bergmannkiez
Decent Thai food is hard to come by in Berlin. Yes, you can find a mild curry and average pad Thai. But if you want the authentic stuff, food that’s zesty with spice and deep with flavour, options are often few and far between. With that being said, one of those heavenly rare restaurants that serves up great food is Pagode Thai Kitchen in Bergmannkiez.
When you first walk into Pagode restaurant, you can tell you’ll be in for a good meal. Open since 1994, chances are it will be packed with locals. The’ll also be a handful of Thai women in the open kitchen, expertly cooking authentic Thai cuisine while chattering amongst themselves.
It’s important to know that Thai cuisine is complex, and requires skill and a devilish amount of detail. While a dish might only require one primary sauce or paste, chances are there’s 10-15 ingredients in that one condiment alone. Expert chefs will constantly adjust dishes in order to maintain a balance between sweet, spicy, salty, sour and bitter.
Pagode pride themselves on such detail and make everything from scratch, sourcing all the essential spices and ingredients from Thailand. The likes of lemongrass, cardamom, galangal root, lemon leaves, tamarind and green peppercorns (to name a few) are imported to ensure every dish on their menu is packed full of flavour.
Spice levels are perfect, in my opinion, but for some people they might struggle. Let’s just say you can tell they’re serious when there’s four types of chilli sauce on the table. All your usual soups, curries, stir-fries, noodle and rice dishes are available. But I’d suggest you order a speciality duck dish or something you wouldn’t normally eat – you’re in trusted hands, so branch out and you’ll be rewarded.
I ordered an Isaan-style lap ped duck salad and the beef massaman curry. Isaan cuisine comes from northeast Thailand and is defined by its intense flavours of strong fish sauce, robust chillies, zesty herbs and earthy roots. The duck was bloody delicious and I’ll be back again and again to eat it. The dish involved tender (yet crispy) fried duck, galangal roots, roasted chillies, fresh coriander and Thai basil, as well as ground roasted rice which creates a unique texture.
The massaman beef was also enjoyable, a unique curry amongst the usual Thai favourites. It’s much more mild and uses spices from the Indian subcontinent like star anise, cinnamon, cloves and cumin. Massaman curries, therefore, taste more nutty and creamy compared to the more typical green, red and yellow varieties. Try it and I promise you won’t regret it, with the flavour slightly similar to satay sauce from Malaysia.
If you’re after more authentic Southeast Asian cuisine, word on the street is that Mabuhay also serves some exceptional Indonesian food. I was gutted to find Mabuhay, located in the very west of Kreuzberg, closed for holiday when I visited. Nevertheless, I’ll definitely return when they reopen. Because anywhere in Berlin that does a Sumatran-style beef rendang or Bebek Bali crispy duck deserves a visit.
Pagode Thai Kitchen, Bergmannstrasse 88, 10962 Berlin; Open: Sunday to Thursday, 12 – 11pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm – midnight
Asian fusion cuisine with a Western twist
If you’re in the mood for a wide range of contemporary Asian dishes, Wu Kong restaurant near the River Spree may be a good option for you. It’s a modern restaurant with a massive menu, sourcing inspiration from many Asian cuisines.
Wu Kong have catered their dishes toward Western palates, absolutely, but I can see the allure and the market they’re aiming for. Food is designed to be shared, with half the menu dedicated to tapas and the other half to larger mains. I’d say it’s perfect for a group of people who are after Asian but can’t decide on which cuisine, as Wu Kong really does offer a culinary spread of the best flavours from Asia.
The tapas section, for example, features spicy pickled kimchi from Korea, Peking duck pancakes from China, satay chicken skewers from Malaysia or fried aubergine with basil from Thailand. Main dishes, meanwhile, include teriyaki salmon from Japan and Vietnamese noodle soups like pho ga with chicken and fresh herbs, or pho bo with beef and aniseed-type spices.
I ordered the Thai-style green papaya salad, crispy tofu with salt crust and the BBQ pork steamed bao. The crispy tofu was cooked perfectly, but I found the salad short on flavour and lacking the punch of an authentic Thai version. As for the bao, the soft steamed bun was cloud-like and the sweet pork filling came with a nice creamy sauce. Definitely worth ordering again.
Wu Kong, Skalitzer Straße 81, 10997 Berlin;Open: Monday to Friday, 12 – 11pm; Saturday & Sunday, 1pm – midnight
Markthalle Neun – Street Food Thursday
All the Asian food you’ll ever need in one place
Another suggestion for indecisive diners after an Asian feed is Markthalle Neun’s Street Food Thursday, a superb option if you ask me. Street Food Thursday has been running since 2013 and was Germany’s first international street food market. Different vendors come every week and whip up a culinary storm for Berlin locals.
The vibe is always bustling, the smells are great, the energy is high and the food is always fabulous. The vendors change weekly, but there’ll always be a handful of stalls selling Asian food. The last time I visited there was momos and dal bhat from Nepal, takoyaki octopus balls from Japan, curries and tandoori chicken from India, as well as two Chinese stalls selling hand-rolled dumplings, Peking duck and glutinous rice sesame rolls.
Grab some mates and take your pick. You can visit their Facebook page in advance and find out which vendors will be setting up shop each week.
Markthalle Neun, Eisenbahnstraße 42/42, 10997 Berlin; Street Food Thursday is held every Thursday from 5 – 10pm