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Thai in Berlin? (Part 1)

The ladies in the kitchen at Sakorn have a secret, and it’s not Pad Thai. I’m going to keep eating at this little Imbiss (snack bar) on Kantstrasse in West Berlin until I figure out what it is.

Normally when a cab driver delivers me to a restaurant and recommends an underwhelming dish, I chalk it up to a mixture of bad luck and the law of averages. Not every meal can be great – even a professional restaurant critic will tell you so.

But why all this hot air around a bad plate of Pad Thai? Why don’t I just admit that taxi drivers don’t always know what they’re talking about when it comes to food?

Because there are things about Sakorn that lead me to believe that Huseyin – who for the past four years has been driving a taxi in Berlin and dating a Chinese-Indonesian girl who taught him to love noodles – wasn’t wrong to steer me to here. Even if he did recommend Pad Thai.

At Sakorn, every dish costs 5 Euros and every other customer speaks what sounds a lot like Thai. I watched the staff greet at least two regular customers in Thai, one of whom was carrying a suitcase (Either he couldn’t wait to go home before eating here, or he wanted this to be his last meal before he got on the train – either way, a good sign, right?).

As at restaurants in Thailand, at Sakorn, a statue of the Buddha is surrounded by fresh flowers and lit candles (though here his place is on a shelf in the corner above the drink refrigerator).

Another good sign? There are only 15 items on the 8×10 photo menu – and they use actual Thai eggplant in their gaeng daeng red curry.

But the real reason I think it’s possible to eat well here are the three ladies in white shower caps in the kitchen, who cackle (no exaggeration) as they cook. How can women making dishes from scratch, and having fun while they’re at it, put out forgettable food?

Maybe they thought over-oiled, over-sweetened, over-cooked Pad Thai was what I, a non-Thai, was after. Maybe they thought I wouldn’t be interested in tamarind or chili peppers. Maybe, as at most of the Chinese restaurants I’ve been to in Berlin, they cook dishes according to what they think I want, instead of throwing in what they assume might be unfamiliar flavors.

I wasn’t even halfway through my Pad Thai when I put down my fork, vowed to come back and order something else.

Stay tuned for more on this Thai restaurant and the cabbie who brought me here.

In the meantime, if you’ve been to Sakorn and figured out their secret, please tell us about it.

Kantstraße 105, 10627 Berlin (Charlottenburg)
Open: Mon-Sat, 11am-8pm (closed Sundays)
Recommended: TBD

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