|The first part I believe...not so much the second.|
|Japano-Thai food, anyone?|
Now, before I get into what I think are the cultural and historical roots of Berlin's lagging food culture, I wanted to mention my new personal favorite symbol of Berlin's food 'handicap'; namely, the ubiquity of the 'Pan-Asian' restaurant. On nearly every street, in train and U-Bahn stations, in tiny kiosks, shopping malls, and especially in certain corners of the former East Berlin, you can't help but notice the stereotypical pointy Far-Eastern typefaces on cookie-cutter style signage (see photos). 'Asia Restaurant', 'Oriental Wok', or the most honest of them that I've come across, 'Pan-Asia', call out to you to take a closer look at their amazingly versitile menus offering Vietnamese pho and bahn mi, Japanese sushi rolls, Korean rice bowls, Chinese crispy duck, Pad Thai and the wonderfully generic 'China-Pfanne' (literally 'China pan'), which in no way has anything to do with China beyond having brown, asian-looking noodles and some soy sauce in it. In fact, these 'restaurants' can really be best described as the hybrid bikes of the food world: they do a lot of different things quite poorly. Your sushi rolls might look like fish wrapped in seafood and rice, and your pho will indeed contain a brown-colored liquid, but it will taste only vaguely like the original. At the very least, you can expect your spicy Thai dish to have about as much kick as a Wiener Schnitzel. I really hope somebody living in Beijing reads this and sends a pic of the pan-Europe restaurant around the corner slinging pizza, gyros, paella, fish and chips, and Wurstsalat on the same menu.
|"I'll have the Pad Thai"|
|And they put the most appetizing|
dish on the front cover!
|Ah, my favorite publisher from the 90s: Verlag|
für die Frau: Publisher for the woman (!).