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Culture Archives - foXnoMad

Category: Culture

Where To Find The Best Street Food In Berlin (Vegan Options)

Being a crossroads of creativity and culture, Berlin has quietly been cultivating one of the best street food scenes in the world. For years craving the tastes of nonconformity, Berliners are open to many things, including food from around the world. Spice does not scare locals here, uncharacteristic of many other parts of Germany.

In a city where anything goes, finding an option for your particular preferences or dietary restrictions is easy enough. Starting with some of Turkish street foods that are unintentionally vegetarian and in many cases, vegan.

Breakfast Options – Akin Simit

There are two places in particular I would recommend visiting during the morning hours. During the week, if you’re in the Kruezberg area Akin Simit Fruhstuckshaus serves a variety of Turkish pastries. Straightforward and vegan, you can have a simit (a sort of Turkish bagel) or vegetarian pogaca (baked dough ball of butter and happy thoughts).

akin simit berlin

Sunday Mornings – Klas Backerei

On Sundays though, if you’re looking for Turkish breakfast, it’s better to head to Klas Backerei. They’re open all other days of the week (except Saturdays) which is a shame since Sunday is when they expand their breakfast menu. Before you walk in though if you’re just hungry enough for a quick snack, there’s a window where you can pick up gozleme. Those sell out very quickly and it’s the best place to find these flat hand-rolled flat dough pies stuffed with spinach, cheese… it varies.

klas backerei

Further inside, Klas Backerei has lentil soup, menemen (Turkish omelet), olives, strong tea, Turkish coffee plus a few other morning staples. Meat eaters, it’s worth getting a sucuk omelet, which is a greasy beef sausage that’s slightly so spicy on top of runny eggs. Gozleme on the side and some soft white bread to soak up what’s left is a small secret near Gorlitzer metro station.

Raw Meatball Without Meat. Also Not Raw

Cig kofte literally translates into raw meat ball in Turkish but these days it’s actually cooked bulgur wheat kneaded into spicy bites. Originally the spice was used to eliminate bacteria from raw beef – a version that still exists – although in a place like Berlin, going vegan is a smart business move.

  • Cigkofte Berlin (Herrfurthstraße 32) – you can find several other Turkish foods that have been made vegan, like icli kofte (kibbeh).

There are a lot of good options at Cigköfte Berlin with a vegan or vegetarian plate option – either are a good choice. You’ll get a variation of cig kofte (you can wrap in lettuce leave or flat bread), stuffed grape leaves, and other veg items you can choose from.

Curry 61

Honestly it’s hard to get a bad currywurst in much of Germany although many would argue it’s hard to get a good one. A large pork sausage covered in cheap ketchup with a sprinkle of curry doesn’t leave a lot of room for culinary expression. I’m highlighting the rather popular Curry 61 since they also have a vegan option of the otherwise meaty street food.

currywurst

Markthalle Neun – Thursday Only

If you’re in Berlin on a Thursday night, this is where you need to go. A large street food festival happens in Markthalle Neun every Thursday from around 5pm-10pm. There’s street food from all over the world – momo man is also there! – lots of German beer, and a wonderful atmosphere. It’s impossible not to be happy here as you try snacks from Uruguay, Syria, Japan and more at close to 100 food stalls.

Keep It Going

One of the nice things about Berlin is that many traditionally meat based dishes have their vegan counterparts but the reverse is also true. Meat lovers will love Berlin but if you’re traveling with a mixed crowd of herbi-omnivores, in most cases you can all enjoy a meal at the same place.

A few other restaurants that are a good examples of this are Heimweh in Kreuzberg where you’ll find kumpir – a massive baked potato you can fill with over 30 ingredients. Vegan, vegetarian, regular person – it’s all about the toppings you choose. Finally, across much of town doner kebab stalls like Tekbir Doner will almost always have a hellim (halloumi cheese) option. A native cheese of Cyprus that’s found a home in Berlin for its growing vegetarian population.

The Best Pizza In The Washington D.C. Area Is Arlington’s Pupatella

I’ve written about Pupatella before, back when it was a food cart in 2007 and shared a slice with you a few years later. Since then Pupatella, Arlington’s Verace Pizza Napoletana (VPN) certified pizzeria, has grown but still retains a unique flavor in the D.C. area. Since you’ve already read about Pupatella, let me show you why you should visit in the video above. Enjoy!

Washington DC’s Best Chinese Restaurant Has A Spicy Secret Menu

There’s a pleasantly stubborn hole in the wall restaurant in Washington D.C.’s Logan Circle neighborhood that serves Szechuan cuisine, with an ingredient missing on most menus. For the longest time at Great Wall Szechuan House you could only find this mouth numbing taste in Chinese, at the back of the menu.

These days though, the special Ma-La section is on the first page of Great Wall’s menu but as the surrounding shops and restaurants reflect the new money in Logan Circle, it’s still something of a secret to outsiders. You can watch my video above or read on.

Give Me The Ma

Szechuan food originates from the Chinese province of the same name and most distinctly distinguished by it’s brightly colored punch you in the face sort of spice, which is the “la”. A great number of Chinese restaurants around the world are typically based around the Szechuan name but don’t often include the “ma” part of the equation.

great wall szechuan house dc

The “ma” is a mouth numbing effect that comes from a naturally occurring chemical in the Szechuan peppercorn (hydroxy alpha sanshool in case you were wondering). Combined with garlic, fennel, and a few other ingredients mala dishes likely originated as a working class food to add flavors to the bland original ingredients.

Great Wall’s Secret

Mala dishes have evolved since then but remain a mind-body experience of heat, not for timid tongues. In the kitchen of Great Wall Szechuan House’s small dining area (seats around 40 maximum) is a chef who knows Szechuan (also spelled Sichuan) flavors and has the spices to implement them. Locals living around the area are familiar with Great Wall but visitors and newly implanted government-corporate types are likely to pass it by for the larger, more polished hipster-elite restaurants all around.

great wall szechuan house menu

Right on the first page of the menu is where you’ll find the once secret Ma-La Specials at Great Wall. Order your choice and great ready for a hot roller coaster. If “hot roller coaster” sounds frightening to you, go with some of the blander, more traditional international Chinese restaurant choices on the menu. But if the thought of assaulting your senses with mouth fire and sweat as flavorful chilies seep into your skull sounds like fun, Great Wall Szechuan House is the restaurant for you.

great wall washington dc

Doorstop To A Shift

Great Wall Szechuan House reflects the steady movement of investment and gentrification up into the north-central part of Washington D.C. area from downtown. A little over a decade ago, a lot of the places around Logan Circle and Adams Morgan a few blocks up were hole in the walls. New residents with higher rents have lead to a changing face of the eateries here. Amid its polished upscale neighbors, Great Wall Szechuan House stands out where it matters most, on the menu.

You can find Great Wall Szechuan House at 1527 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005, open everyday from late mornings to late evenings.

The Best Travel Memes On The Internet

This post is part of Geek Takeover Week 2019.

Did I say these travel memes are the best on the Internet? Yes. Did I also create all of these memes? Yes. I may be a bit biased but you can let me know in the comments below. If any of these memes are you, feel free to share and tag me (#foxnomad) too!

drinking beer in airport

hotel lamp usb

water at airport meme

travel advice meme

farting on planes meme

wifi wifox meme

baggage fees meme

travel meme

pug meme

travel memes

airbnb meme

thailand meme

trip meme

hotel meme

airline fees meme

airport meme

economy meme

layover meme

economy meme

traveling meme

Enjoy and don’t forget to tag @foxnomad on Instagram if you share!

A Basic Guide To Negombo, Sri Lanka

negombo sunset

You may not have heard about Negombo, Sri Lanka, but if you’re planning a trip to the capital Colombo, you need to read the next few sentences. Colombo is a bustling city, without a lot of obvious tourist attractions. The activity there is functional, in the way some capitals tend to be; meaning for travelers Colombo isn’t the ideal place to base yourself.

Nearby Negombo on the other hand is by the beach, infused with the culture waves and sand typically carry with them, close enough to Colombo, plus plenty to do on its own. Here’s a short guide to Negombo and why you probably should stay there instead of Colombo.

Where To Stay

The family run 8+ Plus Motels name is not confidence-inspiring but don’t let that discourage you. 8+ Plus Motels is a clean, modern, efficiently run motel (the rooms all face outward into a fenced courtyard area). A fairly hearty breakfast is included and the wifi connection is solid. In case food or Internet connectivity aren’t on the top of your list of priorities, they offer airport pickup, which is nice since the airport is in Negombo. International flights tend to leave in the middle of the night so having a ride arranged makes things easier for travelers who don’t like planning much.

8+ plus motels negombo

Add to that 8+ Plus Motels is less than a 10 minute walk to the beach as well as many of the restaurants and bars along the sleepy main road through town, it’s accommodation I can thoroughly recommend. I’ll add a few more nice features – air conditioning in the rooms, never a shortage of hot water, and complimentary coffee served throughout the day.

Speaking Of Coffee

When you search for good coffee in Negombo, you’ll inevitably come across one of the simplest places to enjoy it – aptly named Zen Cafe. This is the smile that greets you, the coffee is good, and there are plenty of vegan options too if you happen to be lactose intolerant or otherwise.

zen cafe negombo

I’ve heard since I visited Zen Cafe may be under new management but hopefully not a lot will change to the staff, several seats, and table right outside. What makes Zen Cafe so adorable is how relaxed it is, just away from a lot of the action but close enough to people-watch, read, or simply dose yourself with caffeine.

zen cafe negombo

Keep It Simple

This isn’t a full guide (clearly) to Negomobo but why you should probably stay here, rather than Colombo on your next trip. Getting into Colombo is easy enough with public transportation (around 40 minutes) though getting out is the nice part too. The beach at sunset is particularly beautiful. Families come to watch the sun slip under the horizon, get snacks from the stalls, both of which you should do too. One of the better viewing spots is close to Lords Complex Restaurant, a good place to eat around 90-120 minutes before sundown or after, as the evening air cools slightly.

negombo sunset

Colombo is a busy place without much of the balance that Negombo provides to turn the activity level down. Under the radar almost to a fault, many find out about Negombo after they’ve checked into Colombo for a few days. Hopefully you now have in mind to flip that around a bit, spend the days away in Negombo with Colombo being your day trip destination.

3 Of The Best Places To Drink Whisky In Edinburgh, Scotland

whisky edinburgh

You may not like whisky and many would say it’s because you’ve not had the right whisky – to which I would add, you’ve not had whisky in Edinburgh, Scotland. Experiencing whisky in Edinburgh gives you a flavor of the culture here as well, people who like to talk, often over drinks, and good Scotch whisky gives you the opportunity for both across the city.

Here are 3 of the best places to drink whisky in Edinburgh, a city to visit if you don’t know where to go, for enthusiasts and amateurs alike.

1. The Albanach

the albanach edinburgh

At first glance this pub on the corner of Edinburgh’s downtown might trigger your tourist trap alarm but staff at The Albanach are friendly and very knowledgeable about whiskies. Plop yourself down at the bar or grab a (rather hearty) meal before 8pm; anyone behind the counter will have the right whiskies whether you ask for their recommendations or have some specifics in mind. Based on your tastes, preferences, and combined with some creativity on their part, you may just find a whisky you never knew was perfect for you.

2. Royal Mile Whiskies

royal mile whiskies edinburgh

Again, deceiving from the outside if you tend to avoid places that look too popular to be interesting, Royal Mile Whiskies blend the drinks with the land from which the Scotch is fermented. Royal Mile Whiskies is where to go if you’re shopping for a gift or something to take home, it’s where I discovered my favorite whisky I never knew existed. Chances are high Royal Mile Whiskies is where you’ll find a unique Scotch too. Plenty of complimentary tastings inside as well to help you decide.

3. Arcade – Haggis and Whisky House

edinburgh scotland bagpipes

As the name implies, there are two things Arcade does especially well. Arcade is popular and often crowded but if you can catch a time when it’s a bit quieter, you won’t be disappointed. Since it’s well-known, it can be less inviting if you arrive at peak hours, so plan accordingly.

Notable Mentions

There are a lot of excellent places to drink Scotch whisky, with tastings and knowledgeable bartenders, across Edinburgh. For visitors, these three are in the middle of town, easily accessible, and fun places if you’re with friends or traveling solo. Up the road, Deacon Brodie’s Tavern is also a nice choice, with a few caveats. They’re one of the places open later for food, but avoid eating there on the weekends because there will be a line out the door. During the week however, excellent for an after-8pm meal or a generally anytime dram of whisky at the first floor bar.

Much like Turkish raki, the best accompaniment to whisky is conversation, with no better place than Edinburgh for both.

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About Anil Polat

foxnomad aboutHi, I'm Anil. foXnoMad is where I combine travel and tech to help you travel smarter. I'm on a journey to every country in the world and you're invited to join the adventure! Read More


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