I’m afraid I dropped out of the döner race after only my second one in Berlin. A friend had warned me that there’s only so much greasy meat one can take, and I didn’t believe her. Maybe that’s why I failed to move past two döners, maybe it’s because there was so much other food to try, or maybe it’s because I’m just not cut out for döner.
Whatever the case is, the establishment I chose, following several recommendations, was the Max and Moritz (“M&M”) stand underneath the Charlottenburg S-bahn station. I had had a döner at Mustafa’s, but this time, I opted for the durum version—essentially the same thing as a classic döner, but bigger and wrapped in a large flatbread. Service was fast, with an element of trickery. Carrots, onions, and herbs were neatly ordered in rows behind the counter, but when I told the man behind the counter that I wanted vegetables, the “real” stuff they served—cabbage and various chopped vegetables, were hidden behind those rows. It wasn’t major transgression, but it kind of threw me off. But hey, the durum cost something like 3,80 euro —so much food for so few euros!
The guy at the counter piled on the sauces and thin slices of grilled chicken, rolled everything into a hefty package, and I was sent off to enjoy lunch in the sun.
I took a bite, and another. The cucumber, carrots, and cabbage gave it much-appreciated crunch, while the meat was tender with just a bit of crunch along the grilled edges. Each döner place has its secret sauce recipes, and these were explosively good—tangy, creamy, spicy, and garlicky.
I kept on munching until I suddenly noticed just how salty everything was, just how greasy the meat was, just how sated I was. And so, with that, the race to find the best Berlin döner ended. As delicious as this experience was, I knew my stomach was ready to explore other foods.
Compared to Mustafa’s, M&M’s concoction was much saltier and heavier. There were no roasted potatoes and no spritz of lime, two elements I adored in Mustafa’s döner. Obviously, there’s no one way to make a döner, but M&M’s was a little too one-dimensional for my taste. Musafa’s wins this round. I’m going to have to come back and maybe enlist some help to try out the other great döner places!