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Brachvogel. Photo by Astrid Warberg
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Dong Xuan Center. Photo by Astrid Warberg
Don Xuan Center
You’re the ultimate urban nomad and a skilled dumpster diver. But just because you’re a non-materialist doesn’t mean you don’t appreciate a bit of no-frills cultural satisfaction. After all, poverty needn’t preclude ethnic food, film, and parties.
If you want to cook (assuming you have a kitchen), go to the TURKISH MARKET on Maybachufer around 6pm and get a giant crate of half mouldy/half good avocados for €1, or for free. Scavenge directly from the source with MUNDRAUB.ORG, a collaborative Berlin-based effort mapping locations of apple trees, walnuts and all other edible things growing wild (or over fences) and free. THE DONG XUAN CENTER in Lichtenberg offers legit cheap Asian grub. In giant concrete market halls, you’ll find everything from chilli sauce to phone covers, model airplanes, and a new wardrobe.
Don’t have a kitchen? Try the €4.50 all-you-can-eat dinner, including tea and dessert at the VEGETRAISCH-IN-BERLIN CLUB, inside Kurukshetra, a Hindu temple in Mitte. If you can’t handle the strict vegetarianism Imbiss-hip hangout hybrid VIVO has €1.95 pizzas and €2.35 pasta with surprisingly good pasta-to-sauce ratios. There are, of course, Voküs (people’s kitchens), where you ‘pay what you can’. At Wednesday night’s Vokü at B-LAGE there’s always simple but tasty pasta or curry and a not too punk crowd filling up the bar space and eating on the pavement outside. If you come on time you’ll probably get cake too.
Budgeting more towards a one-large-meal-in- the-middle-of-the-day plan, there’s the daily breakfast buffet at wirtsHaus HasenHeide. For €3.90 you get unlimited Berlin-style breakfast (warm bread rolls, various cheeses, boiled eggs, cold meats), served atop pool tables until 2pm. BIERBAUM 3 offers a similar, though not unlimited, breakfast for €1 (plus obligatory €1.50 drink) from 6am. For all meal times (and yes, for furniture) there is IKEA. A pasta and fruit box combo is €1, and 50 cents will get you an ice cream or a coffee and cinnamon roll!
Have to entertain your younger cousin for the day? BRACHVOGEL applies the buffet concept to mini-golf: €3 for unlimited games plus tap beer (€2.40 for 40cl) and a sunny beer garden. Or get drunk efficiently (without your cousin) at Kreuzberg’s ALIBI. Happy ‘hour’ begins daily at 6pm and never ends. All cocktails except “power cocktails” are €4. Those are €4.50 and are indeed powerful. Pretzels are free.
Instead of expensive clubbing, join Face- book group berlin open air and be informed about ‘self made’ parties in parks, warehouse courtyards or at the lake. Alternatively just go to SCHLESISCHES TOR on a Saturday night and find the DJ in the U-Bahn station. The music selection is potluck, sometimes techno or if you’re lucky MJ, with dancing to match.
If you can afford the trip to Moabit, FILMRAUSCHPALAST runs a free open-air cinema in their grungy garden on weekends. Saturday nights, films are shown in original version – potentially English; if not, free German lesson!
Also, did you know there’s a library at Kottbusser Tor? Leech the free Wi-Fi at WILHELM-LIEBKNECHT-BIBLIOTHEK without having to buy anything. Berlin also boasts a library of ‘things’: LEILA, the “all-sharing- shop”. Membership involves contributing a ‘thing’ to the collection, from which you can then borrow: shoes, frying pans, board games, unicycles and currently even a blow up boat! Just think about all the kostenlos possibilities!