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Berlin: Middle Eastern groceries, hummus, tahineh, thin pita

bopuc Feb 15, 2010 11:42 AM

Hellos
Title pretty much says what I am looking for. :)
I'm looking for real hummus, or else a jar of tahineh so I can make it myself.
I also sorely miss having thin, unleven pita (should be thin, 25+cm in diameter)

I live in P-berg which turns out not to be the place for such stuff.
Googling I found http://www.ozgida.de/ which looks like it may answer all my prayers, but it's a bit of a trek at the moment. (Will likely head over after work tomorrow mind you.

)

So I guess what I am asking is: does anyone know of any other such places? Also, less Turkish perhaps, more, say, Lebanese, for example? (Just what I am used to, not against adapting of course. :)

(Moved here from Montreal recently, where there is a huge Lebanaese and Middle Eastern population. Daily fresh pita and just about everything else, always on hand. Sigh. :)

thanks!

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  1. linguafood Feb 15, 2010 01:18 PM

    Not sure where in P'berg you are, but there are a fair number of Turkish groceries (one on Schönhauser Allee) comes to mind where most of the stuff should be available.

    Granted, there's a much higher density of Middle Eastern stores in Xberg (which, if you're near the U8, isn't that much of a haul, tho I understand it's a bit of a pain to go just for shopping). On that note, do check out the outdoor Turkish market on Tue and Fri on Maybachufer, also in Xberg.

    Tahini should actually be available at your regular Kaiser's.

    A GREAT Lebanese resto, btw, is Quadmous near Volkspark Friedrichshain. Lots of small dishes at decent prices -- one of my faves there was chicken livers in pomegranate sauce. Also, if you go, ask the owners where they get their stuff.

    1. p
      polyg Feb 15, 2010 11:36 PM

      First of all, I agree regarding Qademus. Great restaurant, friendly service and they have brunch buffet on Sundays.

      However, I think that I have bad news for you: no way to avoid travelling to Arab neighbourhoods (northern Neukoelln, Eastern Kreuzberg or Wedding/Moabit) for some of the things you're looking for. The Gesundbrunnen area is only a short walk from Prenzlauer Berg (I think I have even written about a weird walk I had to this area once).

      "real hummus" - like a restaurant, to eat? There used to be a great place to eat Hummus on Kastanienallee, and I have recently happened to meet to guy who did it, and he said that he's about to re-open, so stay tuned. Otherwise I know a girl who does hummus parties once a month and she makes kick-ass hummus at a hotel in Kreuzberg. I have found a Facebook intive but no real site to show you, sorry.

      Apart from that, you should be able to find both canned chickpeas and Tahini at both Reichelt and the Turkish stores (try the one at the corner of Kastanienallee and Danziger, near the Prater, if you don't want to travel all the way to Kreuzberg for the real thing). Reichelt also sell ready made fridge hummus, which is as horrible as the American industrial thing. What they sell as Tahini is the Turkish version (I understand from my husband that this is not as good as the Arab one).

      Thin pitas are a "big" problem. This is certainly something that could be only bought at Arab stores - the Turks eat a richer bread, and don't hold Arab stuff unless it is a very big store. The Turkish butchers usually also have better beef and lamb (and for cheaper prices), so if you're in the shop, you might want that.

      There are stores like the one in the link you have provided on every other corner in the Sonnenallee/Kotbusser To/Turmstrasse/Hermannstrasse areas. No need to travel all the way to Schoeneberg.

      4 Replies
      1. re: polyg
        bopuc Feb 16, 2010 11:17 AM

        Thank you so much. Terribly appreciated.
        So, I live in Bötzow Kiez, but work in two offices, one on Shönehauser (near Sennefelder Platz) and the other right near the Nordbahnhof, so near Gesundbrunnen and Wedding.

        I'm less concerned with journey times, since as soon as the snow melts I will be freeee on my bike again! ;D but more concerned with knowing where to look. Your tips help point me in the right direction, certainly, and again many thanks!

        What I meant by "real hummus"... forgive me for the "real" part. I knwo everyone makes it different. The stuff I've found in the high end shops in P-Berg and at Kollwitz on Saturdays was terrible. One was totally dry, the other really heavy/oily.

        Ideally I am hoping for one of the middle easter shops to make their own and sell it in little packages, as I am used to but hey, my food processor will be delivered this week so no problemo I will make it myself.

        The pita problem. I guess I'll just have to go explore Xberg. I moved here in November, and have been working like mad since, and so haven't really poked around at all yet.

        In any case, many thanks for the pointers! If you happen to see fresh flat pita, do let me know! ;)

        1. re: bopuc
          d
          Doggnose Feb 24, 2010 12:36 AM

          If you can make it down to Kreuzberg, you might try the Satici Discount supermarket on Bergmannstraße across from the Marheinikehalle for Pita and Hummus.Or walk down Bergmannstraße to the Knofi store, which is more upscale. If you are near Kottbusser Tor there is a nice turkish/arabic supermarket in the hinterhof of a building across from th Maroush imbiss on Adalbertstraße. While you are there try the food at Marioush. These are both neighborhoods that you will want to explore anyway(when you have time).

          1. re: bopuc
            l
            lagatta May 5, 2010 07:55 AM

            Have you been able to explore since the thaw - poor you moving over to Berlin the one winter theirs was harsher than ours (in Montréal). I suspect that back here, you'll miss the Turkish food which is not easy to find between the Lebanese and Maghrebi shops abounding here.

            1. re: lagatta
              bopuc May 9, 2010 07:54 AM

              Hi lagata
              I haven't yet found a shop where I can buy the stuff. Plenty of various middle eastern bistros, but no shops.
              To be fair though I haven't gone into a lebanese place and asked for a bag of pita either. So much other stuff to eat and I'm so busy with work I'm not exploring much in any case.
              :)

        2. f
          fudduf Apr 18, 2010 12:01 PM

          the israeli hummus guys from kastanienallee have in fact reopened. the place is called Zula on husemennstr 10. unbeatable if it's the same as before.

          in the meantime i'm happy with the hummus at Oase imbiss on warschauer str in friedrichshain. the owner is palestinian, and his falafel is fantastic and the only real rival to baharat that i've found. everything served on real thin pita wrapped burrito style like its supposed to be.

          there's also an amazing lebanese place on sonnenallee 54 called Azzam. they have very good hummus but the specialties are masabacha and fateh. amazing schawarma as well. with thin pita and a huge plate of garnishings with every order. the bonus is that their attached grocery next door sells the pita you're looking for, along with all the other ingredients you need for quality middle eastern cuisine. azzam is a real gem in this city that is still mostly unnoticed: http://alarabonline.de/restaurants/az...

          lastly, there's a new israeli bistro called Dvash that's inside the Galerie Orange on Wühlischstr. 37. they make their own pita and have all the usual homemade stuff but i haven't been there yet.

          middle eastern can be really great in berlin if you know the right places to go to and know people with taste. fortunately, there's chowhound for that. :)

          9 Replies
          1. re: fudduf
            p
            polyg May 1, 2010 12:42 AM

            OK Dvash update: I *also* wasn't inside. Unlike her former place (the Ima compound in Kreuzberg), this one is in a gallery/wine store - not a place you can take kids to, unless you have sedated them with horse-tranquilliser beforehand. However, my partner brought me pita and hummus in a box to the Boxhagener. The hummus costs EUR6, which is a bit expensive to my taste, and although it was excellent, something was missing (then again, I have eaten it out of a take-away plastic box). It is certainly a place for adults only, and because of the "serious" location (gallery and wine store), also a bit complicated for casual eating. Still, very good eating, and a plus for adults - we parents (and their toddlers) would not be there to bother you.

            1. re: fudduf
              bopuc May 9, 2010 07:58 AM

              Thanks to both of you for the info!
              Azzam is quite far and I rarely make it out to even Kreuzberg, but I'll definitely go visit sometime!

              I've heard of the Israeli on Kastanienallee. I think I'll drop by there this week. Mmmm :)

              1. re: bopuc
                p
                polyg May 9, 2010 11:52 AM

                Kastanienallee Israeli update: I went this week to the Zula Hummus Cafe on Husemannstrasse 10. The place is very good, probably the best hummus I have had in Berlin. They don't serve (almost) anything else, and it was half empty when I was there (a busy time in many other place in the area), so I wish them good, and urge you to go before they will not be able to pay the rent.

                1. re: polyg
                  bopuc May 17, 2010 05:36 AM

                  Just had lunch at Zula.
                  Very very good indeed!

                  Had the "hummus vegi" which was basically a layer of hummus, a layer of tahini, a layer of olive oil and a tomato/cucumber/onion salad on top. Basket of pitas and a glass of OJ and omg I am stuffed. :)

                  Worth adding to our lunch list (work nearby-ish).

                  (Just to say: I must have been quite naïve though to be surprised by the remarkable difference between israeli and lebanese hummus and pita… all things—like um war?—considered.)

                  1. re: bopuc
                    l
                    lagatta May 17, 2010 01:38 PM

                    That entire Levantine region has similar cuisine - Lebanon, Syria, Israel/Palestine. Not odd at all. Obviously Israeli cuisine has input from waves of immigrants, but the hummus and pita are indigenous (whatever the religious or cultural group).

                    1. re: lagatta
                      bopuc May 19, 2010 09:51 AM

                      er, I did say I was surprised how (very remarkably) *different* they were… ;)
                      (considering they are neighbors. despite the fact that they are on and off at war with each other. anyways.)

                      Surprised because I do know a fair bit about the culture/history/etc of the region. ;)

                      In any case, all good. Mmm I think I may go there for dinner now! :D

                      1. re: bopuc
                        l
                        lagatta May 19, 2010 04:15 PM

                        I guess I was confused! Both remarkably different and similar, like the Turks and Greeks!

                  2. re: polyg
                    bopuc May 17, 2010 11:00 AM

                    here's a photo of our lunch :)

                     
                    1. re: bopuc
                      s
                      sarahmilne Jun 2, 2010 03:57 AM

                      God I love these boards. Just had lunch at Zula with a vegetarian friend who usually schlepps me to one of those horrid quasi Californian health cafes that at some point started popping up all over P'Berg. Fantastic. And she liked it enough to promise to make it our standard meeting place, so, like, fantastic cubed.

                      I will be heading to Azzam this weekend after clicking my mouth-watering way through all the pictures. If I can even wait that long.

                      Have I mentioned that I love these boards?

                      Right.

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