Rave reviews of succulent American BBQ, kimchi fusion, and English pies were all coming from an unusual place - a German market hall in Kreuzberg. Street Food Thursday at the Markthalle IX has brought a new level of attention to this historic marketplace, but it is far from the only reason to visit.
Restaurants in Berlin have been upending the idea of what German food is, while simultaneously welcoming cuisines from around the world.
History of Markthalle IX
Once just number nuen among fourteen market halls, this site has been standing against all odds since 1891. Miraculously missed by bombs in WWII, it is also one of the few marketplaces to avoid mass renovation. Some of its counterparts have not been so lucky. Markthalle VI on Ackerstraße has been transformed into a modern supermarket and No. XII on Bergmannstraße has been gentrified past the point of its original charm.
In 2009, the site was mostly unused and about to be sold to developers. Local residents stepped in to restore it to original usage. With a successful initiative, Markthalle IX was re-opened in 2012 and since then has been a booming success. Adhering to the guidelines of the Slow Food movement, there is bio (organic) vegetables, artisan bread and cheese, locally sourced meats and foodie events throughout the year.
Markthalle IX is proof that Berlin isn’t doomed to relentless gentrification. With the support and patronage of the community, the best of the city can not only be saved but savored.
Street Food Thursdays at Markthalle IX
Since April 2013, Street Food Thursdays have been a phenomenon in the city. This weekly international eating event has a cuisine for every palate, with small bites that are far more elegant than typical street food.
Everything from empanadas to bao to Hirschgulasch is on offer for 2-6 euro a dish. There are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free and meat-lover options. Watch out for Michelin starred restaurant making special appearances to share their finest dishes for under 10 euros.
The best plan of attack is to arrive early, right when the market opens. Crowds arrive in force by 7 p.m., making finding a seat a bit of a challenge and the chance of missing out on the best dishes a possibility. Once inside, circle the market to give your stomach some options. Pick your first bite and take a seat to eat, then get up for another bite, wait in line, and get another bite. This is the place to graze a full meal rather than fill-up in one place.
To wash it down, buy a glass of German wine or cider from Normandy or try every color of the beer rainbow at Heidenpeters microbrewery (pfandts of 3 euro). Heidenpeter’s, brewed on site, has become a star of the Berlin micro-brewing scene, unusual in its specialization in ales amidst the ocean of Berlin pilsners. The small bar hidden away behind the corner is open Thursday to Saturday from 5:00 pm to 10:00 pm (or 12:00 on Saturdays). Bottles of beer are also available to take home and enjoy all other days of the week.
And what international food crawl would be complete without dessert? Treat yourself to New York style cheesecake, a frozen yogurt or maybe another glass of wine.
The kitchen on-site offers weekday lunches supplied with local, fair trade goods. Every Saturday, chefs are invited to try out a different menu. Some of the Street Food regulars also offer weekday lunches like Big Stuff BBQ.
On Fridays and Saturdays, a food market provides organic groceries. Sample the traditional bread of Sironi bakery from Milan, vegetables, and fruits from the Spreewald and other German and international delicacies.
Don't forget to watch out for their sweets festival. The Naschmarkt has everything from classic German to international desserts.
Eisenbahnstrasse 42/43, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
- Markthalle IX Hours: Monday – Saturday from 8:00 am – 8:00 pm; closed Sunday
- Street Food Thursday Hours: Weekly from 5:00 pm – 10:00 pm
- Wochenmarkt Hours: Friday – Saturday 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
- Kantine Hours: Monday – Saturday 12:00 pm – 4:00 pm