Spit takes

In a city saturated with döner, you might think you've seen it all. But a new breed of takeaways are taking inspiration from the classic Berlin brand and coming up with some rather novel variations. We sampled four.

Taste Away
Photo by Veronica Jonsson
Just when you thought that Berlin had OD’ed on everyone’s favourite meat-on-a-stick, here comes the next wave of alternative döners. We braved the caloric onslaught and sampled some of the city’s strangest. Choco Kebab No, this doesn’t involve cocoa powder all over your veal. In lieu of the usual spinning wheel of mystery meat, owner Quynh Trang Le carves shavings from a giant, conical mass of milk and white Ferrero chocolate. The sugary curls are sprinkled onto a warm crêpe, drizzled with up to six sauces and, if you so choose, garnished with fruit. The “choco kebabs” (€2.99) have been selling briskly since February, thanks to some clever early marketing buzz. Of course, that may be just because the customers are too entranced by the whirling block of candy to notice that the whipped cream is canned, the crêpes come from a mix and the whole thing doesn’t bear much resemblance to its namesake. But if you can enjoy a good gimmick, happen to be in the area (on your way to, say, the Amerika-Gedenkbibliothek) and can afford to put some fresh mango on top (€3.49!), it is tasty. DH TasteAway, Mehringplatz 36, Kreuzberg, U-Bhf Hallesches Tor, Mon- Fri 8-20, Sat 11-20, Sun 11-19:30
Kung Fu Kebap This “Asian-influenced” döner (€3) is precisely what you might imagine – think wok-fried bell peppers, cabbage and mushrooms slapped on a bulging, overstuffed bun, with or without chicken. It’s a German take on Chinese food mixed up with a German take on Turkish food. While this borderline-meta bun may be culturally confused, it tastes a whole lot better than its premise implies. It helps that the chicken and mounds of veggies are impeccably fresh, and that the scharf sauce packs an actual punch. It’s not an improvement on the stand’s original kebap, but on a late-night, tipsy wander through Neukölln, it might just hit the spot. Load it up with plenty of sumac and curry and avocado sauces – there’s no such thing as overkill with this one. DH NURGemüsekebap, Hermannstr. 113A, Neukölln, U-Bhf Hermannstr., Mon-Sun 10-2; closed Fri-Sat 13-14
Daeji Döner When Linh Vu and a few friends packed leftover Korean barbecue on a picnic, one of them decided to put it on Turkish bread. “We thought it was an awesome idea,” Vu says. “I grew up in Germany, eating burgers and whatnot, but at home my family always served Asian food.” In March, she and her partner Mark Roh, who is half-Korean, started dishing up these fusion döners (€5.30) at their multikulti Imbiss in Neukölln. All the Korean-fusion might be a few years behind the global trend, but the presentation is cute and clever. Available either with grilled bulgogi-style pork or a vegan soy meat substitute, these buns are packed with fresh herbs, crunchy salad and sesame sauce. They’re on the mild side, so ask for scharf if you’re looking for more of an authentic flavour. Still hungry? Try a side of kimchi fries (€4.90). DH Ban Ban Kitchen, Hermannstr. 205, Neukölln, U-Bhf Boddinstr., Sun-Thu 17-2:20, Fri-Sat 17-3:30
Smox With its kiosk swimming in foodie catchphrases – “slow” and “organic” top the list – Smox, the latest addition to Alexanderplatz’s U-Bahn passageway, is a rather transparent attempt to cash in on current trends, serving barbecued, hand-pulled organic beef with vegetables and homemade sauce on döner-ish bread in vaguely cultural variations (from €2.90). The result is less spectacular than it sounds. While the meat and toppings are mostly fine (especially the guac on the “Smoky Italian”, even if there are no “slices” as advertised and avocados have nothing to do with Italy anyway), the “homemade” sauces lack in either quantity or quality (stay away from the Caesar!) and the vegan version comes with cold, poorly lubricated falafel. Still, a passable between-trains snack provided you go for white bread over whole wheat (extremely dry), wait till they’ve pulled a new piece of beef out of the cooker so you don’t get stuck with the gristly end, and reach for the salt shaker… JS Smox, U-Bhf Alexanderplatz, Mitte, Mon-Sun 9-21 Originally published in issue #127, May 2014.