As a tourist there are not too many reasons to visit Wilmersdorf, a district in Berlin’s South-west corner, except that is for Thai Park. Located in Preussenpark on warm weekends, rows of mostly Thai women sit and sell their delicious home-made treats.
Most of the ladies have a portable wok and gas cooker, to whip you up something hot on the spot. Germans tend to be sticklers for the rules, so I literally have no idea how Thai Park exists regulation-wise. When the Ordnungsamt (direct translation is Public Order Office, essentially the Order Police) enter the park, news travels fast and everyone starts packing away their goods. Of course as soon as they walk back out of the park, the food gets unpacked once more. Ever caught in a pointless game of cat and mouse. Kudos to the women that don’t give a Tom Yum Goong about the law. People want Thai food, then they shall get Thai food.
On sunny weekends the park is full of Thai families playing cards and hanging out. It is always a great sign that the food is good, when you have Thai people choosing to spend their money on it. Since the early 90’s there has been an influx of Thai, South Korean and Vietnamese people coming into Germany. Many coming to work as nurses or au pairs. A huge proportion of these people leave Germany for part of the winter, to head back to see family in their homelands.
Berlin has a relatively new relationship with Street Food, certainly comparing it to other world cities like Toronto and New York. As well as cities like Bangkok and Vientiane where this kind of street food hails from. Germany has it’s ubiquitous Bratwurst Man but that is about it. You will find this Human Barbecue outside of the main train stations in the city, like Alexanderplatz or Friedrichstr, delicious as they may be, the only choice you have there is mustard or ketchup. Street Food events in Berlin tend to come with a pretty significant hipster-tax, making you feel like the street you are eating on, is more like Park Ave than some local back street.
However at Thai Park the food to costs either 1-3€ for all things fried, spring rolls and the like, or 5€ for hearty meals; Green Curry, Papaya Salad or Noodle Soup. Of course you will also find Beer, we are still talking about Germany, although they also have more Asian offerings like Chang and Singha. Better than beer though are the 3€ Caipirinhas. Need I say more.
Bring your appetite, a picnic blanket and some kind of game to wile away the day.
Address: Preussenpark (Brandenburgische Strasse – Konstanzer Strasse U-Bahn)