Angkor Wat, Cambodian Restaurant, Berlin, Germany
Cambodian Food is different than Vietnamese or Thai. Of course there are many similarities but if you take in consideration how many Vietnamese restaurants there are in Berlin, I think it is important to mention. It is perhaps like Austrians would insists that their cooking is different to the Bavarian way of cooking. For someone coming from Australia or USA it probably is rather difficult to recognize huge differences.
Today Vietnamese food is extremely popular in Berlin. This is related with the big Vietnamese minority in Berlin – a heritage of German Democratic Republic (former East Germany). Almost in all districts of Berlin once can find some Vietnamese restaurants, inns or just “Imbiss” (fast food stations). Quality is extremely different and somehow depends to the location. In areas as Prenzlauer Berg and Mitte for example competition is huge and therefore quality succeeds. Then still majority of Vietnamese places are in the former East part of Berlin; none of these places are older than perhaps 15 years. This said, there was no real Asian food in Eastern Berlin before the wall came down.
Variety of cuisine in Western Berlin was a bit larger obviously twenty-five years ago – but completely incomparable of today. Although there isn’t a big tradition of Chinese or for instance Thai restaurants either there were a few apparently – without any chic and special style. “Angkor Wat” at Paulstrasse at the Berlin district Moabit – isn’t too easy to find. And if my mother wouldn’t have a will to discover interesting location we may would not have experience a very good and exotic restaurant in Berlin. Although I really enjoy Vietnamese cuisine a lot I haven’t found “the” Vietnamese food which tastes like it does in Hanoi of Saigon. Of course there are compromises to be make in the light of eating customs and uses in Europe. Not too spicy, not too exotic etc. Food in “Angkor Wat” reminds me to real Asian flavors and aromas. Angkor Wat by the way is the name of Cambodian biggest and best known temple area.
Inspired by Cambodian (co)-founder Dany Hok “Angkor Wat” is somehow an island among Asian restaurants in Berlin. The old fashioned design is suitable for any film-set. The carpet perhaps is as old as the restaurant (over 25 years!), the same applies for the sitting facilities. Cambodian buddhistical monk and mediation music in the background; traditionally dressed waitresses serve you a hot plumb wine immediately you are set.
Fresh spring rolls, really exotic salads (papaya etc.), delicious soups to startand then more or less three streams of different menus: curry driven dishes, fried meat (only beef or chicken), fish with any fresh vegetables or combination with salads and rise and glass noodles. Always with enough rise!
Aside of this there are two specials: a small BBQ on your desk – marinated thin slights of beef – just wonderful
or Cambodian fondue: hot spot of broth where to put into meat, fish and / or vegetable. Since you are the chef in this case it is up to you which consistence you wish.
Of course you get coriander, lemon grass, galangal and ginger as dominating herbs of Cambodian cuisine. The food is really rich of flavors and aromas. Cocos and curry is an additional basis.
As anyhow probably beer is the best to go with such cuisine – or Riesling from Mosel – you should not expect any big variety of wines. Nevertheless – as just mentioned – there are three open wines of the menu: the one from “Baden” is probably the best pick. Since red really doesn’t fit to this food experience I have no idea what they offer.
When you leave the place, you perhaps will discover at the desk of the bar a little photo. It shows Richard von Weizsäcker one of Germans former presidents. He died one year ago in the age of 95. He was – in my eyes – one of best and inspiring presidents of Germany. Mentioned photo is the proof how long this lovely restaurant exists and probably haven’t even changed, because Richard von Weizsäcker was president from 1984 until 1994. Richard von Weizsäcker moved the presidential seat from Bonn to Berlin’s castle Bellevue in 1994 which is only 300 m away from “Angkor Wat”. If he moved the seat into this castle because of his appreciation of Cambodian food is not known.
Please find further information about the restaurant at its webpage: http://www.angkorwatrestaurant.de/