This week, we travel across to Japan to experience what Berlin has to offer in terms of Japanese delights. The country may not be even a tenth the size of China, but the richness and vastness of its cuisine is astonishing, and deserves to be spread.
As always we will begin by serving you an entrée of history.
The main wave of Japanese immigration to Germany took place following the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989, when Japanese businesses sought to enter the East German market. For a short period, Japan Airlines even operated a direct service from Tokyo to Berlin. Although there are larger Japanese communities in Düsseldorf and Frankfurt, there is still a close-knit Japanese community, and even a Japanese school, in Berlin.
Japanese cuisine is, of course, so much more than sushi. But sushi sure is a good place to start, with the array of fresh fish and soft rolls to whet your appetite in Sasaya. Next up is ramen (Japanese soup noodles), and few could do better than to slurp the scrumptious soup at Cocolo, which are all slowly brewed with plenty of delicate care. Those seeking home cooking style Japanese tapas dishes in a relaxed atmosphere can look towards Hachi Izakaya in Mitte, whilst Kushinoya in Charlottenburg specialises in everything served on skewers. Contemporary eateries such as Shiso Burger also take inspiration from the Japanese flavours, combined with the ever-popular dish: the burger.
…And here are my three favourite spots in Berlin for an exquisite taste of Japan:
A noodle bar with open kitchen, Japanese chefs sporting bandanas, and oodles of steam escaping from the secret-family-recipe soup pot. Berliners don’t visit to Cocolo for anything except noodles, but don’t see this as a bad thing: their noodles are the best in town.
Having been proudly standing in the heart of Prenzlauer Berg for 10 years, Sasaya has slowly been winning over Berlin’s sushi-ites with its quality fresh ingredients and highly skilled sushi chefs who are able to inject that extra, inexplicable magic into their sashimi and nigiri. Here you can find the classics, as well as some more ‘adventurous’ sushi pieces.
A handsome and trendy burger joint on Auguststraße with Asian fusion flavours as taken from Japanese and Korean cuisine. The menu consists of 9 burgers and do not rely on beef as the main ingredient – tuna and vegetarian versions are just as tasty. As a shining beacon of East-meets-West trendy dining, Shiso burger is worth popping into when in Mitte.
Sayonara for now, but do come back in a couple of weeks to read all about the immigration history and food of Thailand in Berlin!