A Stein at 'Nine'
If there’s one thing that London has in relative abundance, it’s street food markets. There’s the permanent ‘pop up’ kind like Hawker House, and there are the more traditional food markets like Broadway Market. What they tend to be good for is indecisive people, who like great food. You know, when you ask friends what they fancy for lunch and everyone just shrugs, saying they’re happy with whatever.
And so we found ourselves arriving in Berlin. After a morning flight, with an empty stomach and no desire to have to try and decipher what everyone is in the mood for. So what better to fill a lunchtime gap than one of Berlin’s most well-known food markets?
Markthalle Neun is housed in an old, 19th-century market hall building (the ninth of fourteen in Berlin). A mix of various different cuisines and producers have permanent stalls located under the green, iron beams. It’s a truly impressive structure with the exposed iron and red brick housing everything from BBQ to French cuisine. There are even Korean food options and drinks from local micro brewers and coffee roasters.
There’s a lot going on, which makes for an exciting exploration. You enter into the vast space with a mix of young to old, hipster students to workers, all milling around even at Friday lunchtime. It was maybe a little less busy than expected but possibly due to their Street Food Thursdays the night before (a weekly event).
Firstly, we settled into our decision making over some locally brewed, German Weiss beer from Heiden Peters. A stein that’s light and slightly fruity as the sun peaked through the glass roof panels. That’s when the appeal of Markthalle really set in. Half the group decided that they couldn’t resist the metal trays of American BBQ food from Big Stuff. Conversely, the other half of us decided for a lighter option of a Korean vegetarian Bibimbap from Bone. Berlin.
The BBQ was a familiar mix of pulled pork and smoked brisket that fell apart served alongside a jacket potato that was slightly too buttered for me to fully get behind at lunchtime. The actual BBQ sauces were sticky and sweet in the best way, even if all three options were perhaps a little too similar, all being Kansas-style. At around 15 Euro depending on your options, it’s also the more expensive end of the spectrum.
Whereas, Bone. Berlin, on the other hand, is an eclectic mix of foods from around the world. There’s no real identity apart from things that might tempt you to order. Aside from our choice, there’s a middle eastern Shakshuka and a Mediterranean dish. The experimentation is successful though as the bibimbap (6.50 Euro) is fresh and vibrant with a kimchi that packs a nose running, punch.
There are lots of little stalls to experiment with around venue. We even stopped for a post lunch shot (non-alcoholic) of warm ginger juice. Its warming spice eases you past the few midday beers and settles you for a wander around a new city.
It’s an adventure to walk around for sure, and great for indecisive diners, the one slight disappointment was maybe an under representation of German food and cooking. We hoped for schnitzel and currywurst but the emphasis here is really on the rest of the world and various different cuisines. It’s certainly a good stop but perhaps we may have felt it more essential the night before for Street Food Thursday. You will certainly be spoilt for choice.
Choices from all over the world but quiet in the day
Markethalle Neun is a haven of local produce and suppliers with a varied choice of cuisines. Perhaps with a greater range of German cooking and with a larger crowd at night, this could be a choice to catch up over a beer with friends.