Kantstraße in Charlottenburg is often said to be the “Chinatown” in Berlin. But really it’s just a street with unusually many Chinese restaurants. Here is where you will find the ever popular Good Friends, Aroma, Lon-Men’s Noodle House, and Selig. They are what people here like to call “authentic”. In my opinion, however, “authentic” does not always equal “best.”
Some of my personal favorites are not usually described “authentic” or “traditional.” But what counts is that they excite the taste buds. Without further ado, my five favorite Chinese restaurants in Berlin so far and more!
If you like it hot: Lao Xiang
Lao Xiang seems always packed with groups of Chinese friends and families. We thus assume that the food here can safely be called “authentic Chinese.” It does not seem particularly well-known among Berlin foodies (with a blog), though. But it will not be long.
I am here often. One of Lao Xiang’s bestsellers is the hot pot. But I personally always go back for their spicy stuff. The cucumber salad, for example, the pork intestines from the wok, the fish with pickled sour vegetables, and this absolutely fantastic cold chicken dish in chili oil. ↑ They are all spicy to some degree or other, and addictive! In the same vein, their standard Mapo Tofu is quite alright. But if I order it extra spicy it gets ten times better! Of course, they also have tons of non-spicy stuff. I just don’t seem to like those quite as much. If you like jiaozi, however, I find Lao Xiang’s the best.
Lao Xiang is located in an entirely unexciting part of Prenzlauer Berg, Wichertstraße 43, 10439 Berlin, close to the Prenzlauer Allee S-Bahn station. Come here with your colleagues and boss for after work dinner, or with close friends for a casual meal.
First-rate and rare: Shan Shan
Shan Shan’s story is quite interesting: The now restaurant actually used to be not more than the lobby and breakfast room of the guesthouse it is part of. It served anything from Pizza, Omelettes to sweet sour duck and Wiener Schnitzel. But soon word got out that a 3- or 5-star-chef (depends on the source) from China served first-rate Chinese food upon explicit request. A few blog posts on the Interwebz later, and boom! Shan Shan now is officially one of the most popular and in my opinion best Chinese restaurants North of the canal. And all he had come for was for a woman!
Like its story, Shan Shan’s menu is also a bit of a mess. It is terribly confusing if you do not know Chinese food well. So for a start, pre-order the multi-course menu for just €19 per person via phone. For what you get, it is a steal. And everything from the cucumber salad, twice fried beef, seaweed salad, salt-and-pepper prawns, Chairman Mao’s braised pork and Gong pao chicken is heavenly! À la carte, the Mapo Tofu could be more spicy, the Wontons are quite divine, but you can skip the jiaozi.
Shan Shan is located in Prenzlauer Berg, Gleimstraße 24, 10437 Berlin, close to the Schönhauser Allee S- and U-Bahn station. It is unassuming and tiny. It is just not the place you’d be tempted to walk in at random. But you probably would not get a table anyway. Reserve a table for friends or family members who appreciate excellent Chinese food.
Dumplings and dim sum: Yumcha Heroes
Craving Chinese dumplings? The jiaozi at Wok Show in Prenzlauer Berg are popular staples of Berlin. (Top picture ↑) However, I personally find them rather bland and unexciting. I love Yumcha Heroes more. ↓
The characteristic Yumcha dumplings come in colored dumpling dough skin, and are big and packed with flavor! The classic dumplings à la Yumcha Heroes are not shabby either. A few additional dim sum round up the menu. I always order the Black Beef soup, any of the Yumcha Dumplings, (they are all fantastic!) a Cho You Bao, and a portion of steamed Pak choi. The portions aren’t big. But that also means you can try a variety of stuff. Don’t expect too much from the Shanghai dumplings, though. They sound awfully like they’re supposed to be xiao long bao. As such, they will disappoint, however. Then again, all “xiao long bao” in Berlin will. So the lesson is: don’t eat xiao long bao in Berlin.
Yumcha Heroes is located on the lively Weinbergsweg 8 in 10119 Berlin Mitte. It is certainly no insider tip. You will find many of the Berlin Mitte hipsters and PR agency professionals that populate the area here. Come with friends or your date to see and be seen.
Alternatively, the less busy Yumcha Heroes Manufaktur is located on Dunckerstraße 60, 10439 Berlin, not far from Lao Xiang. The menu is smaller, but the quality the same.
Rare Hong Kong-Cantonese: Tak Kee
Tak Kee is a rare gem. It is the only Hong Kong-Cantonese restaurant in Berlin that I know of. And fortunately their food is decidedly excellent as well.
But Tak Kee is also a relatively new discovery of mine. So unfortunately I have not had the pleasure to try much of their menu yet. Everything I did try so far was sublime, though: The fried pork dumplings, the clay pot with minced pork, eggplants and salted fish, and the Mapo Tofu… In fact, Tak Kee’s Mapo Tofu is my favorite Mapo Tofu of all. I will certainly go back often! Along with Peking Ente, Tak Kee could well be my second #1 favorite.
Tak Kee is located in Wilmersdorf, Wilmersdorfer Str. 79, 10629 Berlin, close to the Adenauer Platz U-Bahn station. So it lies in a part of West Berlin that has still preserved some of its bourgeois airs of 1920s Germany. Very nice! Come here for an one-on-one with a good friend, your mother, or your significant other.
My personal favorite: Peking Ente
We cannot say Peking Ente is straight-up “authentic” Chinese. On the other hand, it is not entirely unauthentic. We have settled for circumscribing it as exceptionally well-executed Germanized Chinese. But what is important is that the food is outstanding! It is the place I cannot help but always overeat at.
I recommend the Mapo Tofu, (second favorite Mapo Tofu after Tak Kee’s!) really all of their eggplant dishes (except the chili one), Mama Tang’s secret recipe Beijing dumplings, and those impossibly oily (note, emphasis!) fried prawns with Wasabi mayonnaise. Even their sweet sour pork is top notch. We have yet to try their Beijing duck, though. It is the dish that gives Peking Ente its name. But I am absolutely confident it is excellent too.
Peking Ente is located behind the Mall of Berlin, Voßstraße 1, 10117 Berlin, close to Potsdamer Platz in Berlin Mitte. It is frequented mostly by old folks and a bit stiff. But service is impeccable. Come here with family relatives, or with a large group of friends to celebrate something adult like a job promotion.
Honorable mention: Toca Rouge
Not the best of the best, but still recommended. Toca Rouge’s Chinese fusion cuisine is affordable and ingenious. Both the food as well as interior are a great showcase of Berlin’s hip and inventive food scene.
Honestly, I am not so sold on their mains. But I recommend to go heavy on the starters, such as the Sea of Love soup, Gongli’s boat and Spider beef. Their desserts are nice too.
Toca Rouge is located at the West end of Torstraße, Torstraße 195 in 10115 Berlin Mitte. Come here with visitors to Berlin, or new business partners.
But, of course, there are still more Chinese restaurants in Berlin left for me to try. On my list are Yami Yami and Da Jia Le in Schöneberg, and Asia Deli in Wedding, for example. I’m open for more recommendations too, though. Know a place that’s missing on my list? Shoot me a comment!
P.S.: In terms of Chinese food in Berlin, I think you should definitely know this too!