We are two honkies from Western Australia spending a year in Berlin. Follow our bloggery as we tell you all about our attempts to stay vegetarian, 66% gluten-free, soy-preferring, fair-trade-buying fussbudgets. It may be a little tough in this country of beer and bread, so we are sure hijinx will ensue. Also, we will post up other guff that we find funny and/or baffling, so it won't all be about food. Promise.
Monday, 19 March 2012
I feel a bit guilty for my post slagging off Germany for doing spicy food so poorly. I stand by it, proudly pointing at its impressive accuracy, but I still feel a bit bad. This may be due to the next post I'll write about Asian food in Berlin in general - hoo boy will that be a corker! - and the potential overall impression that food in Germany sucks noodles (which is what they call pasta, but that's another rant).
Please allow me to rectify.
For a country strongly stereotyped as bread-and-sausages, the Germans have a tremendous range of gluten free and vegetarian options on offer, and most of these are marvellously good. I won't bore you with a long list of all the wonderful delights we have sampled but, instead, I will bore you with extensive details of one wonderful place: Vego Foodworld.
yeah, I chuckle at "Pizzen" too.
Don't let the name fool you. This is not so much a 'world of food' as a few people with a kitchen, some furniture and a lot of sauce. It's also not so much 'Vego' Foodworld as it is 'Vegan' Foodworld but that is a minor, immaterial quibble. When such a fabulous array of food is on offer and all of it is sourced entirely from plants and dirt, well, you just better damn well be impressed.
The staff have not let the quantity and quality of their produce go to their heads, neither. They are lovely approachable fellows and ladies. The first time that Vicky and I went into the World, I made a couple of pretty wretched attempts at asking in German if they had anything gluten free. The impressively-bearded chap behind the counter replied in pitch-perfect English, 'I'm sorry; I don't understand' and we were able to complete the whole order easily in English and with only a small amount of shame.
I should also point out that we had pretty blimming high hopes while we waited for the food to arrive that first, virginal time. There was a small child at a nearby table utterly - and I swear I am not exaggerating - nomming his chips. Seriously, the little tacker was muttering 'nomnomnomnomnom' to himself as he popped his food into his mouth. As children are known to be pretty critical about their meals and the little guy was far too young to be familiar with internet memes about eating, I reckon he was just experiencing pure munch bliss.
His dad went to take a few from the plate and the kid nearly screamed at him, too. The kid was right to do so.
These chips are just about the greatest thing anybody has ever nommed. I don't really know why but, according to the menu, the organic potatoes are delivered by 'Happy Farmers' from surrounding areas. This may be a contributing factor.
The vegan burgers are also magnificent, if a bit saucy.
gluten-free Sumatra burger in background
They offer two gluten free burgers: the Sumatra burger and the Tofu burger. Vicky's had both and would say they're both delicious (I just asked her then - verbatim response). I've sampled across the menu and would recommend the fake beef ahead of the fake chicken - but I'd eat them all gladly.
Don't go thinking the menu is just burgers and chips, however. They also offer pizza and currywurst and gyros and salads and all manner of delectable treats. I keep intending to sample the other fare but never quite manage it. The burgers are just too darn good.
They also have a pretty grand soundtrack. We've noshed to Damien Rice and Weezer when they were young, and enjoyed other stuff we'd not heard before, mostly.
I offer only one word of warning for the gluten intolerant. Get in early or get good at German. Once when Vicky and I were there, she received the last glutenfrei bread roll. The staff apologised to me, fearing that we were both intolerant types. Another time (we go there a lot) they were completely out. Fortunately, I was able to ask for the glutenfrei Sumatra patty on its own on a plate with chips and salad on the side. Vicky still thought it was pretty fantastic.
Also, to show off, I am proud to say that I placed this complicated order entirely in German with the same bearded chap who didn't understand me previously. That's just the sort of place Vego Foodworld is. They make dreams come true.