Have you ever wondered where the Thai community hangs out when the Thai park is closed over winter? Well, they either cook at home or they go to places like Sammaki Talad Thai, the marvellous Thai kantine in Charlottenburg. Enter through the doors at Sammaki Talad Thai and find a Thai restaurant that literally looks like a kantine or a cafeteria with various food stations lined up next to each other.
The Sammaki Talad Thai concept works like a real kantine in the form that you order from different stations that are operated by different chefs. There are basically four of them lined up next to each other, one for desserts, one for curries and meats, one for Isaan specialities and one for noodles and soups. This might seem complicated, but it’s actually not and in case you run into problems the superbly friendly staff will be more than happy to help you out.
“The Sammaki Talad Thai concept works like a real kantine in the form that you order from different stations that are operated by different chefs.”
As you come to Sammaki Talad Thai you’ll be confronted with the fairly difficult task of ordering the right thing. Do at all times keep in mind that the food matches the interior and cafeteria feel perfectly – it’s ugly and it’s cheap. So don’t expect anything fancy at Sammaki, then you’re at the wrong address. The ridiculously cheap price of the plates (5€) reflects that perfectly, this place is for simple and amazing Thai grub, that’s it.
I’d recommend kicking off the meal with a freshly made “Som Tum” papaya salad from the Isaan counter in the middle, the lady will make it a la minute for you after inquiring about the spice level. Take as much heat you can handle, which hopefully is a lot, and enter the fierce world of Thai spice. All worth it though since this papaya salad is fantastic, hitting that perfect balance between sweet, sour and spice.
“Take as much heat you can handle, which hopefully is a lot, and enter the fierce world of Thai spice.”
Your next stop at Samakki Talad Thai should be a plate from the meat and curry section on the left, for example braised, red pork belly or spicy Thai sausages on rice. The Thai sausage at Papaya is slightly better, but the red pork meat at Sammaki is amazing. So is the “Nam tok neua” grilled beef salad where the roasted rice perfectly balances the acidic components and raw onions of the dish. The section on the far right offers a sweet selection of noodle dishes, including a decent pad thai. If I were you, I’d go for the “Bami Nam” pork noodle soup with its juicy slices of red pork and egg noodles. Or I’d treat myself to a bowl of “kuai-tiao ruea” boat noodles, a mesmerizing beef noodle dish in a “murky broth begging for a lashing of fish sauce, chilli and vinegar from the plastic spice caddy” as Jane Silver from Exberliner so eloquently describes in her great piece about Sammaki.
“Is Sammaki Talad Thai the most fun Thai restaurant in Berlin? Hells yes!”
And last, but really not least, don’t forget to pick up one of the amazing desserts from the far left station before you leave. This hard-to-resist assortment of sweets changes every day so have a chat with the dessert makers what they have to offer that day. If they have a sticky rice with mango, you will be a wise person to quickly grab a box.
Is Sammaki Talad Thai the best Thai restaurant in Berlin? Not really, I’d say both Papaya and Dao serve better food. Is Sammaki Talad Thai the most fun Thai restaurant in Berlin? Hells yes! This place is just kick-ass in every way, from the venue, the concept, the Thai soap operas playing on the tv and the people working there. Yes. Sammaki Talad Thai is pure f-n gold for Thai food lovers and the perfect alternative to the Thai park.