Long has there been a complaint of foreigners in the German capitol,
Where is the Mexican food?!
Germans didn't know they were missing it, but the growing food scene certainly noted its absence. After years of cucumbers in salsas and lackluster hot sauces, it was only a matter of time before shops responded to the influx of Mexican food lovers.
Skip the generally terrible salsas to make your own from fresh produce from outdoor markets in summer. Turkish dürüm wraps can be an adequate substitute for flour tortillas. Black beans were once elusive but can now be found at places like Asian markets. And everyone's favorite, the avocado, can be purchased year-round at most grocery stores (though quality does vary greatly).
But what about corn tortillas, cactus, or jalapeño peppers? Many staples of Mexican cooking are impossible to locate unless you go to a specialty shop. Luckily, these four stores offer essential and hard-to-find Mexican ingredients in Berlin (as well as other international goods).
Note most shops in Germany - not just specialty shops - are closed on Sundays.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 11:30-19:30
Billed as a hot sauce shop, it actually has all manner of spicy accessories. This is a great place for gifts with fiery merchandise like habanero seed packs and chili soda to set your taste buds ablaze.
For the connoisseur, this is also a sauce paradise. BBQ sauces, dips, and seriously spicy hot sauce. They even have salsa verde! Shop around the small store and enjoy the many samplers.
If you have a question, the friendly shopkeepers have clearly missed the rule that Berlin customer service is terrible. They are happy to chat in German and English about their favorite sauces, new arrivals and provide special ordering. We bought a selection of hot sauces to raise the spice level in our household and a jar of pickled nopales (cactus paddles) to up the authentic factor on our tacos.
Hours: Monday to Saturday 10:00-20:00
With the word "España" in the title, we had a hunch this store might cater only to the Spanish crowd. However, our fears were proven wrong as we discovered Mexican treasures tucked into its crowded corner.
The unicorn of Mexican ingredients in Berlin, the white corn tortilla, can be purchased here in bulk. While small packets are available fresh, there are large packages for sale in the freezer. For the truly dedicated there is masa harina to make your own corn tortillas and even a tortillas press and warm tortilla holder.
Along with this Mexican food miracle, the store has tomatillas, chorizo, dishware, pastries, and a plethora of Spanish goods.
In this modern world, sometimes the smartest move is to shop online. Hola México is owned and operated by a native Mexican and imports everything from Mexican ingredients to tequilas to books to clothing. Get your tortillas, mole, peppers (fresh, pickled or canned), and sombrero here!
Information is in English, Spanish, or German, and purchases can be shipped directly to your home. Shipping costs a mere 5.20 euros for up to 20 kilograms (within Germany). And it is quick, normally delivering within two business days.
For those Mexican food lovers outside of Berlin, this shop is a flavor saver. They actually have a physical shop in Bonn.
Hours: Monday to Friday 12:30-19:30; Saturday 11-18
The new kid on the block, Chili & Paprika has upgraded from its original tiny storefront and now has a little more space for its expanding list of spicy ingredients. Its copious goods of tomatillos, chayotes, and prickly pears spill out of the store on a sunny day in an enticing array of red, white, and green.
Here too you can find corn tortillas (both frozen and fresh) plus a tortilla press. There are candies and liquors, and canned gods cover the entire myriad of Mexican ingredients — pretty good for Germany.
Prices are reasonable and the helpful owner is happy to help you pick out the best Mexican candies, drinks, and other goods from Latin America.