shu and joe

Saigon in Berlin

Published on July 6, 2008

Thanks to Yvonne for giving us the information on the “Little Saigon” of Berlin. Located somewhere (take the M8 towards Ahrensfelde and get off at Herzbergstrasse & Industrie-Gebiet) in the town of Lichtenberg, the Dong Xuan Center is composed of three large warehouses with some small Vietnamese businesses scattered nearby. One enters through a large gate covered with signs in Vietnamese and crosses through a large parking lot before arriving at the market halls. Once inside, there are shops neatly radiating from a narrow main hallway. Each of the three warehouses seem nearly identical to one another, featuring a smattering of restaurants, Vietnamese grocery stores, hardware shops and clothing stores. The atmosphere feels like a bazaar in a big Asian city, only much less crowded and bustling. The shops resembled dollar stores back in the US and featured the same range of ceramic sculptures, fake flowers, waterfall 3D wall clocks and athletic socks. We even picked up a couple pairs of authentic Ambervue sunglasses at one place for a Euro a piece!

The entrance to the Dong Xuan Center. Kind of odd that all the Vietnamese businesses are clustered inside of three warehouses, rather than in a physical neighborhood. It makes me wonder whether there’s another part of town that functions more like a Chinatown or Little Saigon.

The view across the street from the Center. Apparently this is a loading area for shipments from Northern Germany.

The parking lot and entrance to one of the main market halls. It feels like the parking lot at a big Asian grocery store in the US, only with more BMWs and Mercedes.’

A community board with listings for all kinds of services. All in Vietnamese, there’s even a poster for a concert by popstar named Roni Trong.

The strangely empty corridor that runs the length of the market hall. Inexpensive tshirts hang tidily on either side, flanked by “1 Euro” dish cloths and children’s toys.

A woman grills meat for each of the restaurants at a little stand outside.

There were a few restaurants to choose from, but we went for this place because a woman waved us in. Unused to getting such an emphatic welcome, we walked in and took a table with 4 Vietnamese businessmen. The menu was in German and Vietnamese, so we had to use our memories from our Walker street days to recall the meanings of Goi Cun and B├ính canh. I ended up getting beef over rice noodles. Not bad…

The wall on the way out. It looks like all the derelict buildings inside the complex might be redeveloped.

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  1. […] couple of months ago we discovered Little Saigon on Herzbergstrasse and yesterday we had the amazing good fortune of stumbling on “Thai […]

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