Berlin's Thai Park

Berlin's Thai Park

by Leigh Anne Lord
Stripes Europe

Our trip to Berlin was work-related for Dear Husband but food related for my daughter and me. Almost every day, we had planned a "foodie" experience. My Nike Fuelband was registering anywhere from 25,000-27,000 steps per day, so we were not too worried about the caloric intake. Small breakfasts and dinners allowed us to splurge at lunch. This wasn't about just eating; this was about obtaining a memorable (and hopefully, positive) food experience. We had already found a fantastic Michelin-starred restaurant with a rocking chef, planned to ride around town on a Fat Tire Food/Bike Tour, and knew the best place in town for sushi. On a beautiful Sunday with clear blue skies and a slight breeze, I was itching for a picnic. We found one and immediately stepped outside of Germany and into Thailand.

During my foodie Internet research of Berlin prior to the trip, I had come across a few posts related to a place called Thai Park. For more than 20 years, the local Thai community has descended upon Preußenpark in the Wilmersdorf neighborhood of Berlin every Sunday afternoon. OK, so what is the big deal, you ask?  Well, they do not go there to EAT food. They go there to MAKE food...and to SELL it. Spread across this circular park are hundreds of men and women sitting under beach umbrellas and crouched over small makeshift kitchens creating and selling the most incredible, fresh, authentic Thai cuisine for practically pennies. I knew at once that I had to go.

I didn't have too much trouble convincing Dear Daughter to come along. At the mere mention of food, she was immediately bobbing her head up and down and practically running out the door. Two trains and five stops later, we exited the metro only to question which direction to take.  "Mom, just follow them," my daughter pointed out. Sure enough, there was a steady stream of people heading in one direction. We walked briefly along a tree-lined path that opened up to food utopia!

"Let's just walk around a bit and get our bearings and see what this is all about," I suggested. My daughter nodded in agreement, but less than a minute later, we were finding a bench and settling down to the most flavorful pork bun we had ever tasted. Then came the fresh spring rolls! Finishing our "first course," we vowed to take the second round more slowly. It was not to be. We could not resist the chicken on a stick. It sounds so unappetizing, but it was so, so delicious. We managed delicate shrimp tempura and a mango smoothie before deciding that our stomachs were full. Had we had a blanket, I think we could have spent the entire afternoon eating, resting, eating, resting, eating (you get the pattern). A few days later when we were on our bike food tour, our tour guide was amazed that we knew of Thai Park. So I think we found a local, hidden treasure. I always know that I have hit the mark with my daughter, when she starts to express food-related sentiments such as, "I wish we could come here every Sunday."

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