Berlin's 11 best new restaurants of 2014
Shan-Shan Prenzlauer Berg Shan-Shan combines some of the most authentic Chinese around -- Nanjing specialties from a Shanghainese chef -- with something else insatiable foodies like best: a secret location. Well, not exactly a secret, but rather an unexpected surprise, Shan-Shan is actually the restaurant of a pretty nondescript guesthouse in Prenzlauer Berg, serving up breakfast to weary travelers every morning. Call ahead to order the authentic Chinese feast, then swallow your skepticism as you walk into the City Guesthouse Pension Berlin (if that is its real name) and prepare to be amazed.
I first heard about this Chinese place in a letter I received a couple weeks ago including a long list with reviews of Chinese restaurants in Berlin. I guess I wasn’t the only recipient, and so shouldn’t be surprised this restaurant hidden in an unremarkable Prenzlauer Berg guest house popped up on several hot lists. Anyhow, eating my way through the recommendations of this list is one of my winter-to-dos, so why not start with this one?
Shan Shan, Gleimstraße 24, Prenzlauer Berg
Berlin Tagesspiegel am 02.09.2014 von Jens Mühling
Prenzlauer Berg, Gleimstraße. Das Restaurant „Shan Shan“ versteckt sich in der Lobby eines kleinen Hotels. Auf der Karte stehen Backkartoffeln und Leberkäse, als Nachtisch gibt es „Schwedeneisbecher“. Auch hier muss man sich zu den chinesischen Gerichten erst durchfragen, dann aber bekommt man erstklassige Huai-Yang-Küche serviert – seltene Traditionsgerichte, „Poetenküche“, wie Meyer sagt, aufwendig zu kochen und teils nur auf Vorbestellung zu haben. „Der Koch ist wegen einer Frau in Berlin gelandet“, verrät Meyer flüsternd. „Er ist einer der besten der Stadt.“
Berlin Food Stories 18.12.2013
Shan-Shan – Chinese To The Bones Shan-Shan is a newly opened restaurant dishing up fantastic northern Chinese food off the menu in a hostel restaurant in Northern Prenzlauer Berg. By far one of the most authentic Chinese meals I’ve had in Berlin. On a first glance, Shang-Shang is not really a place you necessarily WANT to visit. It’s the visually unappealing restaurant of a hotel/hostel and a quick look at the menu would make me turn the other way any day. If not the weird mix of Asian and German food, then the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet for the humble price of 5,50€. But there is so much more to this place and under the hood we might just have one one of the best Chinese chefs in Berlin cooking his heart out. Apparently the place just opened up a couple of weeks ago and soon thereafter I received a tip that Chinese owners secretly offer off-the-menu Chinese dinners upon request. Super authentic Chinese dinners was the specific statement. Challenge accepted and soon thereafter we called them up to book a seating. A couple of days later I found myself sitting in an empty restaurant with my crew feeling very skeptical about the whole thing. The whole interior looked like something from Oranienburger Straße, the total absence of a single other customer on a Thursday was far from assuring and the menu gave no hints on the Chinese cooking skills of the chef. On the contrary it actually made me wonder what the hell we had walked into. But as a friendly Chinese lady appeared and started dishing out a variety of cold starters, explaining every dish and the cooking technique behind them, I knew we were off to a good meal. Plates were passed around, everybody tucking in, contemplating silence kicking in, people looking up. And nodding. This was good, very good. Pickled vegetables, cold pork, duck and cabbage. Northern Chinese staples which are hard to get in Berlin cooked the real way with bones and cartilage crunching in your mouth. Oh yeah, this was the real thing. And that was just the start, because while the cold starters were good, the rest of the meal was outstanding. We were served an additional 8-9 hot dishes dishes, ranging from vegetable stir fries, dumplings, tofu patties, lamb stew and braised pork belly, and it was all very good. Basically one home run chasing the next, especially the vegetable dishes, which were all crazy delicious and perfectly executed. Best I’ve had in Berlin. Same thing goes for the dumplings, the fried lamb and fennel variety we got killed it (only the green part btw, amazing). The meats were also very good but not as outstanding as the other dishes. The price for this 10 course Chinese feast? 15€ per head, and I’m not fucking with you. I contemplated for a while if I should write about this place, it’s tempting to keep it a secret as the setup seems fragile and I don’t want to destroy it. I also have no idea if the owners actually want any media attention. But I figured that it’s more important to make chefs like this guy realize that there actually is a market for authentic Chinese food, that there is absolutely no need to serve “westernized” versions. So please, call this guy and book the authentic Chinese dinner. Maybe he will realize that he should just dump his current restaurant concept all together and start one of the best Chinese restaurants in Berlin. He certainly has the required skills in the kitchen. BEST DISH – Dumplings and vegetable dishes GOOD TO KNOW – Call them up, tell them you want to book the authentic, off-menu Chinese dinner. Insist on getting “real” dishes, she will ask about this several times as she won’t believe you truly want that.