Vietnamese Hot Pot Winter Special at Nhat Long in Berlin-Mitte

Wednesday, January 25 2023

Opening Times

Daily: 11.30am - 11:00pm


Nhat Long
Torstrasse 210
10115 Berlin Berlin-Mitte
.How to get there

price level

You might not guess that the dragon rising to the sun lives in house number 210. Torstraße is an axis in Berlin Mitte that is mainly characterised by traffic rather than beautiful architecture.

In summer, a pavement terrace is lined with bamboo and other greenery. A pretty section in the uniform grey. But in winter? You tend to walk carelessly past the prefabricated building. A culinary misunderstanding. Because right there, the dragon watches over what is probably the hottest fire pot in town.

"Cocktails & Sake" is emblazoned above the entrance to Nhat Long. Which raises the next question. A Vietnamese restaurant and cocktail bar? Dinh Tuan Nguyen and his wife have used the pandemic to present a chic and loungy counter-design to precisely this prejudice.

Velvet-green club chairs, filigree wood panelling on the walls, light objects like chandeliers surrounded by birdcages and a bar worthy of a metropolis. Both in terms of design and the many in-house and constantly new creations mixed there. Like the Phojito, the "Pho noodle soup in a glass" made of gin, Cointreau cardamom, star anise, coriander and cinnamon.

Nhat Long
Nhat Long (3)
Nhat Long (4)
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Nhat Long (6)

Dinh Tuan Nguyen is one of Berlin's most likeable hosts. Always in a good mood, as a wine connoisseur he always has the right drink recommendation ready. His kitchen concept: Vietnamese cuisine, for which vegetarian and vegan are not foreign words, as well as sushi and grilled dishes. One thing can be said about the cooking: fresh preparation, lots of fresh herbs and spices, and very Insta-worthy plate presentations.

On a previous visit, Mr. Nguyen already announced that he would add a Vietnamese speciality to the winter menu with Hot Pot (on advance order). Now he has followed up with culinary action.

The Hot Pot, which literally translates from English as hot or also spicy (both are true) pot, is Vietnam's answer to the Fondue Chinoise. The host got the Nhat Long fire pot recipe from a Hanoi chef.

The whole thing is based on a broth fondue in which meat, poultry, seafood and vegetables are cooked. The difference is that in Nhat Long, the broth is left to simmer for days. And the Nhat Long chef tops it with fresh coriander at the table. Honestly, if we'd had a jug or thermos with us, we would have bottled the delicious and flavourful broth and taken it home.

This is followed - so that it can be enjoyed in all its glory, best to come in several - by large platters marching through a deli section. Either from the vegetable section with, among others, herb mushrooms, pak choi and enoki (snow mushrooms) for 39.50 euros per person, the meat section (49.50 euros p. p.), then also with corn-fed chicken and fillet of beef, or as a deluxe version ( 69.50 euros p. p.) with vegetables, sea bass, salmon, mussels, prawns, crab claws and, for us, tofu.

Like a flower, the artfully carved onion in the middle may be a bit kitschy, but it is magical to look at. Then comes the unexpectedly unusual part: in addition to chopsticks, the guest is given a small ladle and a small bowl. The former is used for cooking the ingredients in the fire pot, while the latter is filled with rice noodles and broth.

This is followed by the food to be cooked. Everything is then spooned out of the bowl or eaten with chopsticks, braving the spiciness, or rather the great spiciness, until this culinary procedure starts all over again and ends at some point with a pleasant lightness.

Mr Nguyen tells us what the dragon rising to the sun is all about. That's what Nhat Long means in Vietnamese. And the conclusion? This dragon is a friendly and sociable one who likes to share his hot pot with foodies.

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Vietnamese Hot Pot – Winter Special at Nhat Long in Berlin-Mitte
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