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Let’s face it. A Cheapo in Berlin can only eat so many fat- and calorie-laden Döner Kebabs and Currywursts before feeling weighed down. Luckily, Berlin is rife with cheap, healthy, and delicious Asian food joints where budget hunters can fill their bellies for far less than €10.
Here is the lowdown on our favorite Asian eateries in Berlin:
Mittel Str. 24 (one outlet of a city-wide mini-chain)
Packed to the gills at lunchtime, Ishin offers tasty and authentic Japanese food at shockingly reasonable prices. Though it is only steps from the touristy Friedrich Strasse-Unter den Linden corridor, it is beloved by locals and rarely discovered by tourists.
Dominated by long black tables that you share with other diners, the bright, no-frills space feels like a bustling cafeteria. We love the inexpensive and consistently fresh sushi, but most diners go for the Don, warm rice topped with diverse toppings, such as steamed salmon. Gyoza (fried dumplings) are also popular.
Stop by for dinner or on the weekend, when it’s slightly less jam-packed, to score happy hour prices on sushi (the super filling 18-piece salmon menu is €2 off, making it €8) and other dishes.
Cheapo bonus: The brisk servers drop off a free mug of green tea at your table, which you can re-fill yourself at the sushi counter.
Vietnamese: Manngo and Orchideen Garten
Berlin is particularly well stocked with Vietnamese eateries, but most of these restaurants are surprisingly pricey. Our favorite budget-friendly spot is the tiny Manngo (Mulack Str. 29; off Alte Schönhauser Strasse), but if you really want an insider’s steal, head to the teensy Orchideen Garten (Anklamer Str. 31).
Run with efficiency and friendliness by an extended family, this little neighborhood spot serves up one of the most delicious Phos in town. Prepared to order, the huge bowls of steaming noodle soup, topped with your choice of chicken, tofu, or beef, is garnished with chili and a lemon wedge so that you can adjust the flavor.
We love this place (which happens to be around the corner from this blogger’s Berlin apartment) so much that we’re hesitant to share the address. But the soup, as well as stir fries and barbecued ribs are so good, we can’t keep it to ourselves. Look out for specials.
Since there are only three tables inside, go during off hours to ensure a seat. Alternatively, take a seat at the restaurant on the corner. Owned by the same hard-working family behind the Garten, Lemongrass (Anklamer Str. 38) serves up Thai dishes and sushi in addition to Vietnamese classics.
Korean: Yam Yam
Alte Schönhauser Str. 4
Korean food is the newest addition to Berlin’s trend-obsessed food scene. The cheapest (and, we think, the best) spot opened in 2009 on Mitte’s main shopping drag, Alte Schönhauser Strasse. Most dishes on the menu at the minimalistic Yam Yam are less than €7—and everything is authentic.
Classic dishes like bulgogi and steamed dumplings integrate organic meat and veggies. And every entrée comes with your choice of “banchan” (side dishes). When in doubt, go for the kimchi (spicy, garlicky, fermented cabbage). Our favorite dish is the freshly steamed dumplings, served piping hot in a steamer basket. If you go for a chili-spiked dish, be sure to order our favorite drink, house-made lemonade. It’s a cooling antidote to the heat.
Pan-Asian: Asian Deli
Lychener Str. 28
We love Asian Deli, despite its tacky yellow and red interior and tiny bamboo bench seats. The reason? Low prices and huge portions, of course. Choose among Vietnamese, Indonesian, Malay, and Thai dishes.
There isn’t much that’s authentic here, but the Pad Thai is one of the most decent in a town. Show up at lunch, when you can chose between two different soup-entrée combinations for €5.50.