July 28, 2017Posted by Bethany Larson Bloch
Were it not for the influence of its hundreds of thousands of Turkish residents, Berlin would be a much less interesting place. These immigrants are the largest non-European minority here, and they have left a distinct mark on Kreuzberg in particular. Rub shoulders with them every Tuesday and Friday at the Turkish Market, a bustling outdoor scene next to the Landwehr Canal. One of the biggest open-air markets in the city, this is where housewives and bargain-hunting folks stock up on fresh produce, flatbread, olives, cheese and other essentials.
Next stop should be Doyum Restaurant, a hole-in-the-wall kebab joint tucked behind the Kottbusser Tor intersection. The hand-painted blue tiles on the walls make for a bit of a juxtaposition against the fluorescent lights flickering overhead, but the scores of Turkish families and taxi drivers eating here at all hours are a testament to the tasty grub. The unrivaled dish in the house is the Adana kebab, spicy ground lamb that’s charcoal-grilled on a skewer, then served with rich tomato sauce and dollops of yogurt.
To dine in a somewhat classier setting, on the other side of Kottbusser Tor is Hasir, a mainstay on the local scene since the early 1980s. Urban legend has it that the owner invented the döner kebab, the by-now ubiquitous street food sandwich. The customers that pack Hasir aren’t here for the döner, however, but for the grilled meat and wealth of meze appetizers, feasting amidst framed photos of all the celebrities who have eaten here over the decades.
Every restaurant will have a tray of syrupy baklava at the ready, but to try a special kind of the confection, Mitte’s Confiserie Orientale is the place. Sweets boutique and café rolled into one, the confiserie specializes in classic marzipan and pastel-colored lokum, aka Turkish delight, which is made by hand using old-fashioned recipes. Flavored with rose, pomegranate and cardamom with pistachios and hazelnuts for added crunch, the delights pair perfectly with a cuppa.
For some pampering, Kreuzberg’s women-only Hamam is a traditional-style steam bath with treatments like thorough scrub downs with a kese (exfoliating) mitt and sabunlama (Oriental soaping) massages, as well as facials and hair removal with sugar syrup. After you emerge fresh and scoured clean, there’s tea waiting in the lounge area.
About The HUNT Berlin Writer: Hilda Hoy is a journalist and writer who ended up in Berlin as a result of a very happy coincidence: after leaving a newspaper job in Prague, Berlin just happened to be a nearby place to take an extended holiday – one that has lasted for nine years and counting. When not covering local dining and nightlife for Where Berlin magazine, she can be found tilling her allotment garden, scouring flea markets or exploring all corners of the city by bike, U-Bahn and on foot. She writes about the places she finds on her blog, thenwetakeberlin.de.
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