The Thai Park street food market goes on almost every day of the summer when the weather permits in the petit little park technically known as Preußenpark, but the weekends are when things are really happening. Not to mention, anyone who does know this small patch of green on the west side of Berlin probably knows it only as Thai Park. So how did it gain such a robust reputation?
For the past two decades, Berlin’s close-knit Thai community has congregated here to enjoy a multiplicity of cultural delicacies, share crafts, and simply enjoy each other’s company. The small green space available at Preußenpark served as their meeting point. Legend has it that word originally got out as hungry park visitors and passersby asked if they could purchase some of these enticing Thai goodies. The popularity of the wonderful food on offer here quickly aggregated, and Berlin’s Thai community realized their activities could become business ventures with plenty of potential.
Thai Park soon became an important fixture in this part of the city, a trademark element of summer’s commencement, and an important component of many people’s warm weather fun. Now, this otherwise unassuming little park comes to life each weekend with rows upon rows of colorful umbrellas. It is almost always packed with curious foodies and devout regulars.
Be warned that despite the increased number of stands, which have arisen in tandem with the number of new customers, not everything at this iconic street food market is created equally. Thus, navigating between all the vendors requires a bit of strategy. One tip is to favor Thai street food snacks, which naturally fair better in this context, over classic Thai items like curry or pad Thai. It’s also wise to opt for things that are made on the spot upon ordering; this level of added freshness is worth the wait.
The many different noodle soups on offer also tend to make for excellent selections — if you can find a spot to sit and eat them. The beef and pork noodle varieties are some of the best. Try to hold out past the various offerings on hand, and head to the woman on the western corner of the park who takes pains to make perfectly balanced soups with a multitude of carefully chosen ingredients.
Other favorites at Thai Park are the deep fried plantain fritters sprinkled with sesame, as well as the many scrumptious little pork dumplings encased in translucent dough made from tapioca. For dessert, go with the sweet and chewy sticky rice topped with creamy coconut milk and slices of mango.
Another plus about the food at Thai Park is that most options are remarkably affordable, an amazing plus considering that it doesn’t take most happening spots around the city long to jack up their prices. Dishes typically cost about €5 each, meaning it’s possible to sample a couple of different things for the price of a single meal elsewhere.
All in all, Thai Park is one of the many ways that Berlin benefits from the contributions of the smorgasbord of cultural groups that reside here. This trademark event has created interchange between the city’s Thai community and the rest of its residents, thus offering a chance to continually celebrate the diversity that makes our fair city so great.