Thai Park: Real Street Food

James Fancourt discovers the culinary delights of Thai Park…

I won’t lie. I rarely find a reason to visit Wilmersdorf, or even the West; but when spring kicks in and the weather turns warmer, there’s one very good reason to visit, quite possibly every single weekend that you can—Thai Park.

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Image by James Fancourt.

Berlin was a bit late to the street food craze, but these days you’re no longer short of options when it comes to sampling foods such as pulled pork and fancy burgers at places like Markthalle IX in Kreuzberg, Moabit’s Arminiushalle and the Kulturbrauerei in Prenzlauer Berg.

Thai Park is different to those. Having started in 1995 as a casual meeting point for the local Asian community, it’s much more low-key and ad-hoc, instead of celebrating global street food it focuses on the rich array of Thai cuusine with a few stalls run by Koreans, Chinese and Vietnamese people too. Regularly threatened with closure due to residential complaints about the number of people and the mess that is sometimes left behind in the park, it has become more organised since 2020 with a designated area for 60 stalls—but its character remains intact.

20150425-DSC_1364Image by James Fancourt.

Located in Preußenpark, rows of (mainly) Thai women sit with their delicious home cooking in front of them, ready to serve up some tasty authentic food at a great price. Being no expert on Thai Food I couldn’t tell you all of what’s available—just that all of it tastes great. Red and green curries, pork, fish, tofu, chicken satay, spring rolls, noodle soups, pad thai, papaya salads, the list is endless. There are also insects but I haven’t been brave enough to try those yet.

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Image by James Fancourt.

Since the selection is overwhelming, the only real limitation is the size of your stomach. Perhaps ironically given all of the choice, one of my absolute favourite things here is also one of the simplest: the sticky rice balls that feature magical spices and ingredients my unrefined palate can’t discern, fried and served up with some sweet and sour sauce: amazing.

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Image by James Fancourt.

It’s not all about the food, though. For refreshments there is the usual assortment of local beer, plus a few Thai varieties such as Chang and Singha. On a hot day in Thai Park though I always like to grab a caipirinha. There are several people selling them but for the best, look out for the extremely smiley woman wearing a sun hat. Not only do they taste great but at five euros each, it’s hard to just have one.

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Image by James Fancourt.

These days there are also clean toilets on site, a playground for kids and even a basketball court. Sometimes you can catch Thai music concerts and cultural events, order up a Thai massage or even get your hair cut. The only downside is that it’s only on during the warmer months. Although with the recent opening of the new Thai Bridge at Gleisdreieck Park every Friday, there’s now a more central option too!

Open: April to October, Friday to Sunday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Be warned that on sunny weekends, the park’s lawn can be full by noon.

 

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