TOKYOPOP Fam:Guten Tag!!
I’m here in Berlin, Germany for a couple of weeks. TOKYOPOP’s Germany office is actually in Hamburg, which is about 1 1/2 hours from here by high-speed train, but I plopped myself down here in Berlin because, well, because it’s awesome! Hamburg is a beautiful town, but the edgy, artsy, Bohemian-style scene in Berlin just pulls me in (after all, I’m kind of Bohemian!).
Wherever I travel (and I travel a LOT), I pay attention to the local food scene. I’m a pseudo-Foodie, so I love to try local cuisine and recommendations, but if I go too long without eating Asian food, I begin to quiver and shake. I need my rice fix.
Here in Berlin, I found a few interesting Asian food trends in Mitte, the neighborhood I’m staying. Oddly enough, there are lots of “Sushi & Vietnamese” restaurants here, kind of like this one. The Vietnamese community in Berlin is the largest Asian community (interesting article about Germany’s Vietnamese population here), and supposedly integrating sushi into Vietnamese restaurants was a way to popularize them (I haven’t seen Pho advertised the way it is in the States).
I tried udon at Susuru, which featured chic interior design and inflated prices. The place was totally empty, but the udon itself was tasty (as was the ebi-gyoza I started with). Clearly, the Japanese owner knew how to find local ingredients that tasted authentic yet fresh, but that nuance combined with the fancy furniture jacked up the prices, clearly keeping away customers. (more reviews here)
After curiously passing it by a few times, this morning I finally got to try some inventive rolls at Maki. The little shop features an attractive, pop interior, and the rolls themselves feature a fusion menu. I tried the BLT roll, Rocket Salmon roll, the Tropical roll and a roll feature pulled pork (which I can’t find on the website).
The salmon was tasty and the BLT was fun, but the pulled pork needed more BBQ sauce (hey, I’m American, after all!) and the tropical roll wasn’t quite working, but I always encourage experimentation in recipes. However, if you’re used to Japan (like me), the sticker shock (12 Euros for 4 small rolls and a drink!) hurts, and the rice just can’t compare. But the matcha latte was quite tasty and the owner Nils was a really nice guy. (more reviews here)
Next up on my list: a small Korean bibimbap place down the street!
See you soon! And if you happen to be in Europe, let me know (I’ll be in London and Paris too on this trip).
Mata na! —Stu