More than just Korean fusion street food vendors, Susan Choi and Stefan Endres of Mr. Susan have turned Berlin’s hipster foodie crowd on to locally farmed meat – with a name.
Equally as important as their food, which melds German and Korean flavours with a Los Angeles twist (think kimchi goulasch, Reuben sandwiches with kimchi sauerkraut, German-style red cabbage with Korean spices…) is the couple’s focus on sustainable production. Choi, who is Korean-American, and Endres, who is German, got their start after a one-off evening a year and a half ago at Markthalle IX’s Street Food Thursday event.
Since then, they’ve added pop-ups at events like Berlin Fashion Week and a regular dinner series at Prenzlauer Berg’s Roberta Kocht, all the while remaining loyal to the market hall: they cook with seasonal produce, chickens, bread and bacon from the small-scale producers who sell there.
The beef comes from slightly further afield. Some time ago, Endres (then the manager of Kreuzberg bar Würgeengel) and his friends began buying and sharing single grass-fed cows from a farmer in Bernau, Brandenburg, who only grows cattle to order. As Mr. Susan, he continues to work with the same farmer. “I have to give him a heads up at least a year in advance and he puts a little one out on his fields. I could basically watch them grow every year…”
This approach was the inspiration for Mr. Susan’s December event Schlachtfest: The Cow Edition, in which one 400kg cow named Kevin was slaughtered and turned into a multitude of beefy delicacies by the cooks at Markthalle IX. Ten curious Berliners even ventured out to Brandenburg to view Kevin’s butchering. The ensuing family-style dinner proved popular enough that a second Schlachtfest (this time with a pig) is happening on February 28. Also in the works is a permanent Mr. Susan restaurant – they’re hoping to open in Kreuzberg by the end of the year.
Originally published in issue #135, February 2015