Summer at Thai Park
For food-lovers in Berlin, this gem is no well-kept secret. Shrined year after year and batted with both anticipation and a level of excitement found only in children on Christmas Eve, Thai Park holds a special candle for locals.
I am told that this veritable Mecca of Thai culture has been growing for the better part of a decade, developing in size, flavour and patronage as the city around this otherwise-ordinary park in the West rapidly transforms into a global melting pot.
Home to the best Thai food in the region, putting all those sushi-thai-pho fusion restaurants to shame, real Thai food with traditional flavours served in the most traditional street-food style can be found right here. Of course, the not-so-traditional Thai-Caribbean mojito stand, proudly flying their national flag, as well as the odd Vietnamese and Chinese stalls starting to show up may challenge the authenticity of the concept, while also simply proving that the event will likely never stop growing.
Not without its setbacks—inflation, over crowding, and the occasional hoon—Thai Park really is a wonderful way to spend a warm summer day. People-watching as groups of men with poker sets hover over young families, vying for their usual spot under the one shady tree or soaking in the vendor politics as competitors conjure up surprisingly similar dishes, or latecomers trying to squeeze into non-existent spaces to join in the action.
All of this, while amusing, really plays second fiddle to the food: equipped with bamboo mats, electric frying pans, and enough plastic plates to build a viable floating device on the Spree, whether you’re looking for dumplings, curries, noodle dishes, mango sticky rice, or whole steamed fish, everything is guaranteed full of flavour, passion, and Thai-ness.
As more foot traffic arrives into the summer, the grassed area turns into a dustbowl with long lines and fewer places to throw down the picnic rug. Getting an early start before 13:00 on weekends is a grand plan to avoid some of the bigger headaches of the experience. Also open during the week, but with a smaller output, a sneaky Wednesday visit is never a bad idea.
Location: Fehrbelliner Platz, 10707, Wilmersdorf.
Open from 11:00 every day all summer long, weather permitting.
Words & Photography by Ella King