I love markets. More often than not, it’s nothing to do with the stuff that’s on sale and everything to do with two things: the atmosphere and the food. For example, the highlight of visiting the Chatuchak Weekend Market in Bangkok a few years back was stuffing my face with mochi and a choconana (the highly phallic-looking dessert you’ll see in the photos). So imagine my delight when I heard of The Green Market Berlin – a two-day affair totally dedicated to vegan living and food. I couldn’t wait!
For The Love Of Vegan Food
The Green Market Berlin currently only operates four times a year – there’s one event for every season. I was in town for the Spring edition, and I’m so glad that the dates fell during my time in Berlin. I went along on an empty stomach in anticipation of all the goodies that I knew would invariably be on offer. While I’m not vegan (I eat a mainly vegetarian diet, though), I do love to see how creative people get while coming up with meat and dairy substitutes.
First of all, the location of the market is very Berlin; before I arrived at the Raw Tempel I wasn’t aware of the fact that it’s a vast, sprawling development that used to be a national railroad repair works centre, so I spent ages walking around while wondering if I had gone to the wrong place.
Today Raw Tempel is a cultural centre and home to a number of different projects relating to music, social and political activities, underground clubbing, concerts, the arts and, of course, markets like The Green Market. The warehouses and buildings are covered in street art, so I spent a good hour just walking around before even getting close to the market.
Tip: if you’re ever in Berlin, head to Raw Tempel simply to look around. There are great photo opportunities lurking among the warehouses. You can even see the old train tracks still in the tarmac.
Not Just Food
I arrived at the market early as I wanted the chance to walk around and figure out what I wanted to try before the crowds came swarming in; I’m glad I did that, because within two hours the place was heaving. I first wandered around the non-food stalls, which were selling everything from bespoke jewellery to vegan-friendly bags and clothes. There was even a stall that was selling books like this:
There was also a vagina colouring book. Enough said.
Stalls like the one in the following photo made me wish I had my own home – this is so the kind of place I’d buy knick knacks from for my living room. I mean, who doesn’t want cute little round plants hanging near their window like so:
Till Air Plants (seen in the picture) grow without soil, which I think is pretty darn cool.
I spotted so many cute things while on my rounds that intensified my longing for my own place again. I also took the business card of a jewellery designer who does some really funky stuff with crystals – will definitely be dropping her a line in the near future (check out Meo Commeo here).
I found bags and purses made out of cork (very cool – check out Corkain here), animal-friendly accessories and clothes (Dear Goods also have a store – find out more here) and there was even a stall offering shiatsu and Thai massages. While that was very tempting, I’d rather have my massage without being watched by total strangers munching on their vegan doughnuts.
On To The Good Stuff
Soon enough I found myself drifting towards the warehouse that was home to all the food stalls (there’s only so long that you can keep me away from the good stuff). Me being me and slightly obsessed with spicy food, my first stop was the amusingly named Crazy Bastard Sauce stall. The company makes small batches of hot sauces from organic produce that it grows in Berlin.
Sadly, they didn’t have the spiciest version on sale that day, but I did come away with a bottle of their Habanero & Tomatillo sauce – no, it doesn’t blow my head off, but yes it’s yummy (note: I had some with my eggs this morning and it’s DELICIOUS!).
There was a little bit of everything among the food stalls – vegan ice cream, vegan doughnuts, Vietnamese-style omelettes, dosas, vegan döner kebabs, burgers – the lot! The thing I find most upsetting about this type of event is that you can never try everything, no matter how hard you try (and boy did I always do my best at Taste of Dubai…)
First I was extremely happy to find that kombucha was on sale, which isn’t surprising given the audience of the market. I hadn’t had any since I was in Ubud last year, and while it really wasn’t as good as the stuff I tried there, it was an okay enough substitute – although I had to stop myself from choking on the price tag (oh I miss you, Southeast Asia).
I quickly spotted the Vöner stand – vegan döner kebab, that is. Yes, you read right – this is Germany, after all, and döner kebab is one of its famous exports, so it was only inevitable that a vegan one would make an appearance (and that that appearance would be made in Berlin).
As trying one was part of my Berlin Bucket List, I decided that it would be my first dish of the day. In conclusion? Well, I always found döner kebabs to be gross – let’s face it, they’re full of rubbish. So it was nice to try one that was tasty, healthy and not greasy. And it was ridiculously filling.
I then moved onto desserts. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, however, I was keen to check out the vegan doughnuts that were being sold in a corner of the market. I was more intrigued than anything – if I ever decided to become vegan, would the substitutes that are on offer keep me happy?
I munched away happily on a cinnamon sugar doughnut, and while I cannot claim it was as good as the ‘real deal’ it certainly was good enough. I always find that comparing vegan dishes to their ‘normal’ equivalent usually leads to disappointment (at the end of the day if doughnuts were better without dairy products, everyone would be making them that way) so it’s best to just appreciate it for what it is without making comparisons.
After this I met up with some friends and we wandered around for a bit longer, soaking up the atmosphere. A live band came on at one point, and although I left at around 5pm, it felt that the event was really only just getting started.
I will leave you with a few photos that sum up the event:
I really enjoyed The Green Market Berlin. For one, it wasn’t touristy – this was a totally local affair. It was great to be a part of an event like that and to see how Berliners spend their spare time. Even if I wasn’t interested in vegetarian and vegan food, I think I’d still have enjoyed the atmosphere and eating all the dishes.
My only complaint was that it was a little bit on the small size, which is to be expected for a relatively new event. There was still enough to see (and eat) for a good few hours, though. If I happen to be in Berlin for the summer edition, you can guarantee I’ll be there!
The Green Market Berlin – Essential Info
- The Green Market Berlin is a two-day event that takes place over a weekend, four times a year. Like their Facebook page to stay up to date on when the next event will take place.
- Cost of entrance is €2.
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Have you ever been to a local market while on your travels? If so, which one and what did you enjoy about it?