While in Berlin for a short weekend, I happened to visit a very cool local market in Kreuzberg, Markthalle IX.
Opened in 1891, it’s one of the last historic markets in Berlin that stood the test of time. The architecture of the hall is very open, with large spaces and thin metal pillars to hold the roof, which allowed the merchants to come directly with their merchandise/carts all the way in.
Today, this busy hotspot feels more like a mecca for food crafters from around town, than a classic market, and it is packed with hip stalls offering a serious array of street food and artisanware that easily competes with the likes of London or NYC.
Among others, we loved the fabulous gravlax from Glut & Späne, a sea-centric stall specialised in everything around fresh fish (all sustainably sourced). Hard to choose amongst the various award-winning ceviches, smoked mackerel and salmon (prepared daily on the premisses) and rare gins (Moneky 47, anyone?) to wash it all down.
Then the pièce de resistance was Big Stuff Smoked BBQ, who prepare melt-in-your-mouth pulled pork and pork belly drenched in fabulous homemade BBQ sauces, not spicy, but loads of whisky and flavour to compensate.
At Sironi, an authentic Italian bakery, you can indulge in excellent bread (sourdoughs and more), margarita pizzas, and a choice of sweet or savoury focaccia, all made right there with stone-milled flour directly from Italy.
Knippenbergs offers a vertiginous array of European and local cheese, not only the usual suspects, but also a respectable selection of smaller, lesser-known varieties directly sourced from the producers. Ah, these were damn fine!
At a few other stands, you will readily find seasonal vegetables and fruits, alien-looking mushrooms, and delicious natural juices all sourced from around Berlin. I also discovered the “Wilde Gärtnerei” (the “wild garden”), a kibbutz-like community of farmers just outside town growing everything themselves, in which you can even take part and learn how to grow your own for a modest fee. I say community because they are doing an amazing work in living “greenly” and in self-sufficiency, so make sure you check out their site (in German only…).
If you’re lucky to be there, don’t miss the street food Thursdays, for even more choices! An absolutely essential pit stop for lunch next time you’re in town, the Markthalle is an energy-packed oasis in town and the living proof that the real food scene is alive and thriving in the German capital!
Markthalle IX, Eisenbahnstr. 42/43, Kreuzberg, Berlin, Germany