Thai Park, Thaiwiese, Preußenpark – it’s got many names, but the experience is one of a kind. Where else can you buy authentic Thai food – prepared in front of you by jolly Thai mothers, fathers, daughters, and sons – in a public park? Berlin, natürlich.
Thai Park then
My first visit to Thai Park was in September 2013, and I remember being overwhelmed by the options (so many pad thai stalls, which one to choose?!). It was a lovely dilemma.
Thai Park now
Fast forward three years and the number of stalls seemed to have tripled. Talk about choice remorse! That’s why Thai Park is always best explored as a group: share your dishes, try more things. I’m far from fully discovering Thai Park – let alone Thai cuisine – but here are a few of my favorites.
MY FAVORITE DISHES AND SNACKS
I was drawn to Larb Gai because it looked similar to Bicol Express (one of my all-time favorite Filipino dishes), but in fact Larb Gai is chicken-based and not pork-based as I expected. No matter: the dish is a wonderful medley of ground chicken swimming in flavors of chili, onion, mint and lime. Couple it with steamed white rice and it will transport you to food heaven.
It’s no surprise that the humble stir-fried noodle dish that brought me to Thai Park in the first place would make the list. Still, there’s so much choice that it’s hard to pinpoint which stall churns the best of them all. They’re all so good!
The noodles and curries are normally precooked, so vendors just heat them up on demand. Today I got a pad thai / red curry combo for 5 EUR. Unbeatable, I tell ya.
Dumplings are everywhere in Thai Park – fried, steamed, Korean, vegetarian, you name it – but there is a stall that caught my attention. At first it was the color-coded dumplings that struck me (what attention to detail!) but now, after having tried them, I simply cannot wait for my next juicy and meaty plateful. Not to mention, the guy offered spicy sauce when I had forgotten to ask, so bonus points all around.
Siopao / Cha Siu Bao
My most recent, not-so-Thai discovery is the good old steamed pork bun, typically available in dim sum places as cha siu bao. I know it as siopao in Filipino, and was happy to spot the familiar looking dollops of white dough on my last visit. The main difference is that the Thai Park version uses steamed pork instead of BBQ pork (BBQ is better) but all that was forgiven when I bit into the boiled egg. Yes folks, there’s a boiled egg inside!
MY FAVORITE DRINKS
Thai Iced Coffee
Are you a coffee connoisseur? Then perhaps this drink isn’t for you. It’s coffee that comes from a one-liter plastic bottle, presumably of the instant coffee variety, but it’s the condensed milk that gives it that extra special kick. Drink it with ice and you’ve got yourself a refreshing, caffeinated, summer drink.
Thai Iced Tea
Thai iced tea is a standard drink in many Thai restaurants in the States. To my dismay, they’re quite difficult to find in Thai and Vietnamese restaurants in Berlin, so I always make sure to indulge at the Park.
Options (and colors) abound, but I always go for the milk tea (orange) featured above. Other flavors include taro (purple), green tea (green), syrup with milk (pink) and syrup (red).
MY FAVORITE DESSERTS
Kanom Sod Sai
It’s easy to spot the cute banana leaf triangles, but in fact not a lot of stalls sell this Thai delicacy. We fell for the catchy packaging, not knowing what to expect.
At first glance it doesn’t look all that appetizing, but don’t let this deceive you. Once you get past the creaminess of the coconut topping and the stickiness of the rice flour, what will treat your tastebuds is a sweet grated coconut filling that, when combined with the other flavors, is simply a coconut milky experience that will make you want to grab a second triangle.
Have you been to Thai Park, Berlin? What are your favorites? Let me know!