What do vegans even eat though?!
Contrary to popular belief, the answer to this question is not “twigs and berries”. I’ve had my annual salad, and seeing as how Berlin is often described as the ‘vegan capital of Europe’ there was approximately zero chance that I was going to go there and not stuff my face on all kinds of glorious junk food the entire time. If anyone ever tells you that vegan food is all ‘clean eating’, laugh in that person’s face from me.
Here’s a handy guide to some of the delicious nonsense that you can eat in Berlin, which I like to think is simultaneously as useful as it is indulgent of my inescapable habit of taking photos of things I’m about to eat.
Wiener Straße 19
Start as you mean to go on. Whether that means starting on Wiener street or starting with a big ol’ faceful of burger, you’re in luck, because at Yellow Sunshine Burger you can achieve both these things simultaneously. Prices range from three or four euros for snacks and sides (including a delicious bundle of partyballchen, mmmmm) to around nine euros for a set menu meal. Half a dozen people shrieked YELLOW SUNSHINE BURGER at me when I said I was heading to Berlin, and I’m glad.
If you like massive portions of fries (or Bio-Pommes as we’re apparently calling them now) washed down with giant bottles of vegan-friendly beer and rounded off with lairy burgers, get yourself here immediately. I had a sChicken Hawaii burger which was pretty much the best thing I’ve ever eaten, and I remained full for approximately ten days afterwards. 10/10 would gorge here again. The nearest bus stop is literally ten seconds away too, so don’t worry if you aren’t staying in the neighbourhood – which is Kreuzberg, FYI.
Proof that heaven is a place on earth, Brammibal’s Donuts is an incredible bakery clearly run by deranged geniuses, churning out crazy good vegan donuts (and other things) with flavours like white chocolate pistachio, chocolate peanut butter fudge caramel, maple smoked coconut and dulce de leche. All vegan. All of it. When we went there was a craft market between us and the river, but ordinarily if you stuff your face outside this joint you’ll get lovely waterside views thrown in free of charge. They’re open from 10am to 6pm every day, but social media suggests they regularly sell out of donuts by around 4pm so get down there at lunchtime if you want to have the full array of choice!
Berlin is like, full of Vietnamese restaurants. Given that my last post was about things to eat in Vietnam, maybe this is a nice follow-on. SOY is a popular dining destination, but if you have to wait for a table it’s definitely worth it. The menu is almost entirely vegan, though watch out for a couple of sneaky vegetarian dishes hiding in there too, and regardless of your familiarity with Vietnamese cuisine it won’t be hard to find something that appeals. The steamed dumplings and summer rolls were so good I’d eaten them all before it occurred to me to take a photo, and the Banh Canh Hap (pictured) and Bun Sa were both substantial, authentic and full of flavour. Definitely worth the hype.
So I’m not going to pretend this was a high-quality meal with lovely fresh ingredients… on the contrary. This vegan currywurst was a very strange experience. It’s worth noting that Yellow Sunshine Burger also do vegan currywurst, though I was too full to try it while I was there, but I couldn’t bear to leave Berlin without eating Germany’s most notorious food – so this happened. On the corner opposite the Topography of Terror, a free exhibition at the location of the old SS headquarters on Niederkirchnerstraße 8, you’ll find Curry at the Wall, which is a silly place with a statue of a bear holding a giant sausage on its roof.
The veggie/vegan option would probably have tasted less dubious if not for the fact that the ‘sauce’ was literally just a lot of ketchup with some curry powder thrown on it, but luckily it was the same price to get a litre of beer with this as it was to get a bottle of water, so it had that going for it at least.
If you thought an entirely vegan bakery that sells chocolate pistachio donuts sounded ridiculous, how about a restaurant known for doing the best steaks and burgers in town that has a huge, intelligently-crafted vegan menu? It’s madness, it really is.
Lily Burger is another one on the list for ‘places to go and eat until you think you might actually die’ and it’s totally worth the shame and regret you’ll feel the next day. There are all kinds of fake meats and cheeses for those of you who are down with that, as well as falafel and vegetable burger options for people less keen on make-believe. With something like 25 different choices of topping combos (plus the option to have a mix of fries topped with nonsense as well) get ready to have literally no idea what to order, because it all looks and sounds so good.
Their burgers are a knife and fork job no matter how valiantly you try to fit them in your face, and if you’re going with friends there are monster-stack options where you can go full maverick and have ten patties piled up with layers of toppings in between. Disgusting, amazing, brilliant.