Monday, July 30, 2012

Little Vietnam: The Dong Xuan Center

We decided to go and visit the Dong Xuan Center after reading this BBC article about it through Twitter. Being big fans of Asian food, we just had to take a look. We went there on a sunny Saturday Berlin morning with no real agenda in mind, only to see what it had in store for our senses. The center is the heart of the 20,000-strong Vietnamese community in Berlin and hosts many services for that community including lawyers, driving schools and travel agencies. It is also the place to buy all kinds of  Asian foods, merchandise and imported products in the city.  

It's pretty easy to get to on the tram. Line 8 drops you right outside at 'Herzbergstr/Industriegebiet' in Lichtenberg. After walking under the plastic yellow arch of welcoming letters, we were faced with a series of huge warehouses. We chose the closest one, number 8, and stepped inside. The first place we went in sold all kinds of food products and was similar to the 'chino' supermarkets and bazaars we were used to in Madrid, Spain.  There were many kinds of fresh weird-looking vegetables, lots of thai spice pastes and some random trinkets and household products. 

As we continued our tour of the warehouses we encountered, amongst lots of other products, some well priced ping pong bats, novelty toilet seats and sunglasses for 5 euros! The stretching corridors went on and on and presented us with streams of clothing retailers, shoe shops, hairdressers, manicure stands and food stores. 

Although the majority of the supermarkets sold Asian food, we discovered a small Indian shop which sold imported spices, curry pastes, chapatis and incense. I assume most of the stuff was imported from the UK as we have many Indian food brands there and most labels were in English. We started to get a bit peckish so we tried out a fresh samosa which the friendly shop assistant warmed up for us. It was very tasty.

After whetting our appetite we headed outside again to one of the Vietnamese restaurants, Linh Chi Quán, and found a place to sit outside. Our first problem was that the menu was in Vietnamese and German, two languages we have very little experience of. Exasperated after trying to communicate what we fancied eating to the waitress we decided to choose one dish with a pretty name which included chicken (the first German 'food'-word that I could think of!). I did try out some sign language with the waitress, but she didn't seemed to talk any language at all, unfortunately for me, that included body language. The second dish was decided upon by pointing at another customer's food and then a nice big thumbs up! A lot of friendly smiles and head nodding later, we sat back to wait for our food. 

I have to say that it was a very good meal. The chicken dish (I believe it was called 'Bún Ga Măng Mọc') was a noodle soup with bambu and red chillies and the other dish (I think that one was called 'Đậu Phụ Sốt Cay') was sweet chilli style tofu. The portions were huge and the price was pretty reasonable too. It only set us back about 15 euros for both dishes.   

All in all, it is well worth a visit, especially if you fancy buying a novelty toilet seat, getting your nails done or if you want to eat some good quality, cheap Asian food. 

The Dong Xuan Center is open every day of the week apart from Tuesday from 11:00 to 20:00. 

Herzbergstraße 128 – 139 
Lichtenberg, Berlin
 (+49) 30 – 55 15 20 38 




  1. This Dong Xuan Center looking awesome. It such a nice place for travelling. We decided to go and visit the Dong Xuan Center.

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  2. Little Vietnam in Berlin?! Niiiice indeed. I'm gonna try to make my way there once in the city as I love when people discover a neighborhood from reading about it someplace. By any chance have you heard of any good ramen places? I'm slowly becoming an addict.

    1. Efutik, It's definitely worth checking out. Ramen...To be honest I haven't eaten out that much in Berlin since moving here 6 months ago. I did notice a lot of asian places in Kreuzberg (I'm thinking near Gorlitzer Bahnhof/Skalitzer Strasse) and it always smells lovely when walking past! Maybe there are some places that do ramen there? Other than that, I can't help feed your addiction to ramen right now, sorry ;)