Monday, December 27, 2010

Best Yellow Curry in Berlin

It exists, really it does, in two places that serve something reminiscent of the fare in Amsterdam's famous Indonesian district where yellow curry abounds. Both of the places I've found in Berlin are Asian fusion restaurants: something that works really, really well in the Bay Area, where a couple of months ago I was slaking the hunger for Asian food I'd built up over the last year. One has to be very, very careful about Asian food in Europe (think of Szechwan or North Indian cuisine stripped of all of their fire), and the mere idea of anything fusion frightens me here. As a consequence, I step foot, trepidatiously, in a new Asian restaurant in Europe perhaps twice a year. I often employ tasters, relying on word-of-mouth from friends with sophisticated palates.

In Berlin, then, Transit in Friedrichshain has a dish called Harvest Gold, which is quite close to that Amsterdam-style yellow chicken curry that I so crave. It is, unfortunately, sans the egg balado, but since it's a small dish (only 3 euros) with sweet potatoes, I can hardly complain. The Pirate took me to the second, Mirchi, in Kreuzberg's SO36 district, for my birthday. It gets such consistently bad reviews that I was sceptical, but due to a serious fashion error (walking way too far in a new pair of shoes) which precluded my hobbling even 100 meters more, the only other option was Amrit next door, which any long-termer in Berlin knows is seriously to be avoided. I was very happy with Mirchi's yellow curry (ask for it specifically as it's difficult to pinpoint on the menu). Given the many on-line reviews that bitterly complain about Mirchi's Thai and Indian offerings, I'd say it's best to avoid anything that's not from the islands. An additional warning: both restaurants have additional locations in Mitte but I generally avoid the tourist strips where there's always the danger of higher prices and lower quality food.

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