This trip had been on our list for a while, and last week we decided it was about time to cross it off, we went to the Vietnamese Dong Xuan Center.
Wait, a Vietnamese center in Berlin? Exactly. Actually, it is the perfect place for those who want to travel to an exotic place without leaving the city, it does the trick, even if it is just for a morning.
Vietnam in Berlin
Dong Xuan Center is a building complex in an industrial warehouse area outside Berlin city center, in Lichtenberg (6 km away from Alexanderplatz). This place located among other abandoned factory halls recreates an Asian parallel reality and it is here where many Vietnamese meet every day with their fellow countrymen. In the end, Dong Xuan is also for them a cultural center. You can buy almost everything you can imagine there, from clothes to toys, and you can even get your hair or nails done at a ridiculously low price.
This wholesale mall opened in 2006 and visiting it has become a must for Berliners in the last few years. Therefore, you are very likely to run into passerby who just come to take a look around or, like us, in the search of authentic Vietnamese food.
In case you don’t know, the Vietnamese community in Berlin is quite big due to Germany’s political scenario in the past few decades. Running away from the conflicts in their country, thousands of Vietnamese came to work in both Germanies, mostly with fixed contracts.
After the reunification, many Vietnamese, especially those who were employed in East Germany, were left unemployed or even without a visa, so some of them started small businesses to make a living. Years later, these vendors ended up gathering together and setting up this mall.
Eating at Dong Xuan Center
We have to admit we were not very impressed by the food we tried. Although that’s probably because we are really spoiled with all the great Vietnamese places in this city. Nevertheless, what is for sure is that you get a taste of real Vietnamese food in there.
We went to Dong Xuan Restaurant and, since it was already pretty warm, we skip the Pho menu and went straight for some other cooler choices. In average, the prices are more or less the same as most standard Vietnamese places in the city. For example, 2€ spring rolls, fried rice with crispy duck 8,5€ and veggies and tofu in coconut sauce 6,5€.
Our tip: grab a cold Vietnamese beer and some tasty Asian snacks in one of the supermarkets and enjoy them while you stroll around the center endless aisles. Also, there is a currywurst stall in the parking lot, in case you panic and need some german food.
To sum up: We need to come back with more time and do some previous research to make more interesting food choices. Please, let us know if you have any tips, the will we really welcome!
Where? Herzbergstraße 128-139, 10365 Berlin. Lichtenberg. Closest Tram Station is Herzbergstr./Industriegebiet.
When? Monday to Sunday from 10h to 20h. Tuesdays is closed.
How much? €. Starters around €2, main dishes €6,50-8.
What else? We recommend to walk around before deciding where to eat since there are many restaurants. Most of them are quite big, even they are suitable for ceremonies and celebrations, so big groups are more than welcomed.