Oct 9, 2018

The Berlin Diaries #7: Home. Ocean's 8. Cheap Eats.

There's no place like home.

As fun and as (intermittently)  luxe as things may be abroad, my heart always skips a beat a sense of well-being washes over me the moment I see that bridge in the distance and the bumper to bumper traffic on the motorways.

I finally watched Ocean's 8 on the plane.  Twice, I loved it so much.  The cast, the implausible plot, 'The 8' themselves, their wardrobes and their hair.  More specifically Sandra Bullock's / Debbie Ocean's wardrobe and hair.

via Google images
I'm so tempted to grow my hair out a bit and up my balayage game the next time I'm at the hairdresser.

It was no hardship spending 14 hours in a Qsuite.  But I'm sure you knew that already.

I had my window seat all to myself, an embossed door with a golden handle with which to shut myself off from the world after take-off and afternoon tea to nibble at while watching Debbie Ocean and her crew for the second time.

Fast forward to my post plane world, I've been taking it one caffeinated step at a time.  The jetlag hasn't been as bad this trip (see The Berlin Diaries #5.5 for what it took to make this happen) but there's always so much to do that first day back home.

Like looking adoringly at my completed Mini Shops album (thanks Mum) and playing UNO with Master SSG.

But this post is meant to be about my cheap eats in Berlin so let's get started.  One of the many pleasant surprises of Berlin was just how easy it was to get a delicious meal for less than 10 Euro ($16 AUD).  In fact, most of the meals below were around 8 Euro ($13 AUD).  Coffees were around 3 Euro ($5 AUD) at train stations and bakeries going up to 4 Euro ($6.50) at fancier places and McCafe.

Cappucinos mostly don't come with a shake of cocoa over the top so my go to coffee ended up being a latte macchiato.  This is one I had at Charlottenburg Palace at the cafe in the Orangerie.

Ironically, while coffees at the bakeries were mostly made with coffee machines, there was a barista at the McCafe.

Plus I got a biscuit with my McCafe coffee.

Image result for eclipse mints
via Google images

There were a couple of things I struggled to find in Berlin - Eclipse mints and rice crackers.

Image result for peckish rice crackers
via Google images
Chewing gum or Tic Tacs seem to be the breath fresheners of choice while potato chips or ryvita type biscuits seem to be the preferred snacks of Berliners.

When in Berlin...

The bears of Berlin nailed it.

Sausage stands were everywhere in Berlin.  There were more of them than there were McDonalds which is always a pleasing thing to see (no offence to the golden arches).  Most stalls feature a couple of benches out the front where you can either sit or stand.  People visit in waves.  It's like there's a currywurst alarm that gets set on your internal body clock the moment you arrive in Berlin.  When that alarm goes off, it also does so in at least ten other people and together you line up for your fix.

Curry Wolf have a stall down the road from my hotel and they were one of the most popular stalls in the area with longer periodic lines out the front than their competitors.

They are also a proud vendor of Coke Zero.  Their curry wurst sauce is so famous you can even buy a jar to go.

It's a slick operation with a friendly man who takes your order whilst another prepares your wurst and freshly fries and salts your pommes frites.

The currywurst meal with a drink costs 8 Euros.  The currywurst sausage is first steamed then fried to give it that crisp casing.  It is then sliced and bathed in sauce before being dusted with curry powder.  Your side of French fries / pommes frites are served dolloped with mayo and ketchup.  Curry Wolf is well worth the wait.  I'm not usually a chips and sausage girl but currywurst saw me cross to the dark side on an almost daily basis.

There's a currywurst stand at Checkpoint Charlie as well as a Currywurst Musuem.

It was all right but I still like  Curry Wolf's the best.

Asia Gourmet is a chain and many of their outlets are at train stations.

This is the Friedrichstrasse outlet and business is brisk.

There's a vast made to order menu which is pan Asian (I saw Thai, Chinese and Vietnamese dishes available) as well as several pre-made options.  Cooked to order noodle dishes are around 8 Euro and can be made with chicken, seafood, beef or as a vegeterian meal with tofu.

The noodle soup dishes were just what I needed on the few cold and windy days that graced my stay.  Above is the laska / laksa and below is the Tom Yum soup.  They were both vividly flavoured and full of both chicken and fresh vegetables.  

Dean & David are a whole food salad bar with outlets dotted throughout Berlin.  

Naturally, I found the one opposite Lulu Lemon on Kurfurstendamm.

The green curry and beef rice bowl with a side salad even came with edamame.

The set meals are again under 8 Euro.

The Mall of Berlin is a short walk from Potsdamer Platz and has an impressive food court inside.

Humus is one of the most popular stalls there and the chicken platter was well worth the wait.

Back Werk is a chain of cafes again often found at train stations.

They offer a range of snacks and lunch ideas spanning the range from healthy (crudites and yoghurt dressing) to not at all (Oreo muffins).

Oh the irony.  Vapiano is a chain of Italian restaurants, headquartered in German with outlets all over the world - including Sydney.  Which I tried in Berlin.

There's an efficient, restaurant chain feel to the eating space with its open kitchen, separate bar and computerised ordering system.  The touch screens are bilingual making it an efficient option for tourists like me.

There's the standard buzzer system in use for orders.

Here's mine going green to indicate that my order was ready to be picked up.

You can even get zoodles as an option for all their pasta dishes.

All the better for feeling virtuous after your Aperol Spritz with.

As fancy as KaDeWe is, they also stock an impressive range of inexpensive, locally made products in their food hall.  I stocked up on wafers, marzipan Mozart chocolates and fancy instant premixed cappuccino sachets while I was there. 

Panic set in when I got back to my room and realised just how tight my weight and baggage restrictions were for the flight home.  It was a tense few minutes manually adding up the weights of each of my purchases and fishing around for my original boarding pass to check that my baggage weight would still be under the limit.  It must have been all those wafers I bought because I managed to weigh in under the magical 32 kilograms.

What kinds of food do you bring home from holidays?

Do you tend to splurge when eating on holiday or do you go all out?


  1. Oh how funny there was a Vapiano there! :) Welcome home SSG, looks like you had a great time enjoying the food choices in Berlin :)

  2. You try everything and I love that! I am not much of a foodie, meaning I don't go too much out of my way for food but am willing to eat just about anything. I like grab and go the best, healthier kinds, if I am sight seeing and then sit-down dinners in the evening when I am just strolling. I am a sucker for coffee and treats, specifically fresh bakery items. Oh man I miss Europe and bakeries.



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