As you might know I don’t necessarily prefer writing about fine dining restaurants compared to simple eateries. In fact, I regard the pinnacle of food criticism to be unearthing those little hole-in-the wall joints in obscure parts of Berlin. Dan Thai Food is one of those, the tiny Thai eatery hidden in a very quiet part of Northern Wedding and the empire of the lady Dan.
“Dan Thai food might just be the smallest restaurant I’ve ever written about.”
Guided by a recommendation from my esteemed colleague Sissi Chen I remember the first time I stepped into Dan Thai Food. Once I squeezed myself through the door I found the only proper table in this establishment to be occupied, so I had to resort to the small stool next to the kitchen display. Dan Thai Food seats eight people and once entering it will take you five minutes to actually locate these eight seats. In fact, in terms of size, Dan Thai food might just be the smallest restaurant I’ve ever written about.
But you know what they say; the smaller the restaurant the bigger the heart of the owner and this certainly holds true at Dan Thai Food. Cramped behind a counter-fridge display that reveals the full glory of the mise-en-place for the menu – from fried pork cutlets to duck sausages, you will encounter owner Dan, a Thai lady in her best years who spends her days in this kitchen cooking simple Thai fare. ‘Best years’ does, in the case of Dan, mean steadily approaching the big seven zero, so any inspiration derived from this post should be turned into a meal rather sooner than later; who knows how long good old Dan will be nimble and youthful enough to cook for us in her kitchen.
“Dan Thai Food offers you a glimpse into the comfort cooking of an Isaan Thai grandmother”
Entering the tiny empire of Dan, squeezing yourself on a stool next to the kitchen, ready to get up if somebody needs to pass, is as much about the unique experience as it is about the food. Dan Thai Food offers you a glimpse into the comfort cooking of an Isaan Thai grandmother, with dishes like Khao Man Gai Tord (#9), fried chicken on rice, or Pad Khana Muh Krob, red crispy pork with Thai broccoli (#16), both dishes create that important illusion of a Thai street-food stall – something we all need once in a while. The Pad Thai (#26) at Dan’s place is equally comforting and filling and you won’t even care if you’ve had better versions elsewhere. You are in Wedding and you’re having a great Thai meal at a hole-in-the-wall eatery where two old ladies cook you food brimming with love instead of bio-meat.
“A couple of slurps through this heavenly creation might just be enough to fall in line behind Sissi and myself and understand why we love this eatery so much.”
Dan’s food is very honest and if your mind ever questions the quality of the ingredients, do like me and seek soothing refuge in the sensational comfort of the food at this restaurant. The dish at Dan Thai Food that evokes the most feelings in me is Rad Nah (# 22), stir-fried pork served in gravy and with water spinach on rice noodles. A couple of slurps through this heavenly creation might just be enough to fall in line behind Sissi and myself and understand why we love this eatery so much.
And at a whooping average cost of six euros per dish the insanely good deal make locals line up at lunchtime. Do me a favour and get in that line as well, good old Dan needs you for her pension.