Da Jia Le is a a hidden gem in a not so pretty corner of Schöneberg dishing up some superbly authentic Chinese food. Take the trip out here for some of the best Chinese food in Berlin.
Da Jia Le did for a long time fall under the category “hidden gem”, the first time I stood outside this place and took a look at the somewhat shady neighbourhood around Gleisdreieck I was skeptic, to say the least. Actually I was unsure if I should enter at all. Then I reminded myself why I was here, I was urged to visit this place by a reader with unusually good knowledge of Chinese restaurants in Berlin and therefore my curiosity prevailed. The reader had insisted that I visit this place as it was totally off the grid but serving some of the best Chinese food in town.
And boy, was he right about Da Jia Le being off the grid. Fist time I visited Da Jia Le on a Saturday it was literally empty except for one other table. Scary and slightly discouraging, especially since the venue is vast and when it’s empty you get that eerie feeling of desertion. Luckily that feeling very quickly vanished though when the supremely friendly and talkative service lady started entertaining us. We were quickly informed that the second half of the menu was westernized Chinese food that we shouldn’t order. No, no, we should order from the front part with massive pictures because that’s the North-Eastern Chinese food which the chef masters to excellence and which can’t be found anywhere else in Berlin.
Some of the best German beer money can buy and you should not leave this place without drinking it
This lady is Mrs. Wu, she is the owner and host of Da Jia Le and you will find her here every day of the week, steering the ship. And boy does she do it well, her service is impeccable and she takes care of guests in a very caring way. Before we get into the food you should know that Da Jia Le is probably the only Chinese eatery in Berlin that has an excellent selection of German craft beer. Yes, you heard me, they have a special fridge with some of the best German beer money can buy and you should not leave this place without drinking it. When it comes to the menu you should definitely order the right things, you can’t do terribly wrong at Da Jia Le but to have a killer food experience there are a couple of things you shouldn’t miss. Because this Chinese food is OFF THE HOOK! I do really mean that, for me Da Jia Lei is one just notch above all the other places in terms of quality.
Your meal should really start with some classic, cold starters like the cucumber salad, a super fresh dish in a divine chili vinegar sauce. Or the braised, cold beef slices, just perfect. Almost forget: Do NOT miss the tofu skins, a very special dish with a very special texture. Then the main courses, like the crazy tasty fried pork medallions in a sweet and sour sauce. Sounds simple, but just wait until you dig into these massive slices, I could lay on my couch with a huge tray of these little suckers and just keep eating them. They are insane. Another crazy tasty dish are the aubergines in soy sauce and the aubergine hot pot, perfectly cooked and just melting in your mouth. Not to mention the loup de mer in red sauce, this is by far the best Chinese fish in Berlin. The whole fish has been deep fried to perfection and then layered with a ridiculously delicious red soy sauce. While the crispy skin of the fish soaks up the sauce, the flesh of the fish stays perfectly juicy and just slides off the bone. Divine. The pork and cabbage dumplings are also totally decent and should be a part of your meal.
The hunt for the most authentic Chinese food is Berlin is eternal and neverending. Da Jia Le is a massive scalp in this hunt. It is some of my favourite Chinese food in Berlin, even compared to Yami Yami, La Xiang, Good Friends, Aroma, Tian Fu and Shan-Shan. The foremost reason is quality, the chef uses unusually good ingredients and his cooking techniques are very solid. So just bring a big group of friends, get one of the large tables and feast away family style. You will not regret it.