Mister Thang Chinese Restaurant, Aachen

It's been a very long time since I have written a blog entry. Just realized that my last post was 2 years ago, phew! Thanks to my new friends who love food as much I do... we recently visited the Mister Thang Chinese restaurant in Aachen. The restaurant is situated on the Pontstr - a famous street for bars and restaurants.

[Atmosphere] This small restaurant offers indoor and outdoor dining. Upon entering the restaurant, you will notice two busy chefs and smell the aromas of dishes being prepared in the open kitchen. The dining area is simple, includes several oriental sculptures, hanging lanterns, wooden tables, and with walls painted in red (i guess you can't except much as it is a casual restaurant anyway).

[Service] During our visit, there was only one person taking orders and serving food. The service was average as the restaurant was a bit crowded. I wish the waitress is a bit friendly and accommodating though!

We tried several dishes as below. There were served with rice.

(1) I call this as "cold cucumber salads" - it consists of shredded cucumbers, carrots served with hot chili oil and red chili flakes. It is a little spicy (tolerable), but not crunchy (2 stars)

(2) My favorite! I am not sure what this is called in Chinese, but it looks like the Sichuan boiled dish. It includes white fish fillets with vegetables in spicy soup! It is a little sweet for my taste, and not as spicy as it looks (3.5 stars)

(3) Deep-fried duck served with beansprouts and sweet sour sauce. I always have a mixed feeling when it comes to duck-based dishes. Duck meat is high in fat and gamy. If you don't cook it properly, it will be a food disaster! I must admit that the cook has done a good job in preparing the dish - the meat was tender and the skin was crispy and not greasy. The dish would have been better without the overcooked bean sprouts! (3 stars)

(4) Mixed vegetables with tofu and chicken pieces. Acceptable, but not outstanding (2.5 stars)

(5) "Ku Lu Yuk" - batter-fried pork, stir-fried together with a delicious sweet and sour sauce. If you haven't eaten pork in a while, you may think it has a similar taste to chicken! (3 stars)

(6) This is one of my favorite Chinese vegetables (Pak Choi). 
The dish is simple, yet tastes good! (3 stars)

(7) Beef stew with vegetables and potatoes. I didn't try it; it was ordered by one of my friends.

  • Above average food with low prices. There were six of us and each person only paid 10 euros for 7 different dishes! 
  • They have two menus; one written in German and limited, and the other is in Chinese and extensive (exciting too)! 
  • A table reservation is recommended, especially if you have a large group.  
  • The restaurant also offers a la carte menu, but I would recommend a family-style dining! Bring  several friends and order various dishes! It is more fun to eat in this way, and you will save a couple of euros!

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Munich

Munich was the last city I visited during my journey. It is an old growing city, with colourful pedestrian malls, beer halls and gardens!

Hofbräuhaus : Well, I guess the name speaks for itself. It is one of Munich's oldest breweries. If you want to experience Bavarian food, oompah music, and one-liter mug of beer, this is the place to go! The hall is very huge, and almost crowded with locals and tourists. There are even several tables for regular guests. I had a "Mushroom pot" - mixed fresh mushrooms in herb cream sauce with two bread dumplings (EUR 7.90). The dumplings were rich. I found that the sauce lacked flavour. In short, excellent service and average food. Even if you don't eat here, it's worth a visit owing to its atmosphere! My Food Score : 3 stars

The second floor of Hofbräuhaus

Prinz Myshkin - This is an upscale vegetarian restaurant, which consists of simple and modern decor, nicely arranged tables, and arched ceilings. It has a tree in the middle and the ambiance is very soothing. The list of food is quite international, like pasta, sushi, French and Indian dishes. I ordered a "Tagliatelle Amanda"(EUR 11.50) - pasta served with a light tomato cream sauce with oyster mushrooms, hazelnuts, red wine and fresh tarragon. It was scrumptious! This was the best vegetarian food I have had in a long time! A friend of mine had the Triangoli (noodle pockets, stuffed with porcini mushrooms and ricotta, sage butter and freshly grated Parmesan). It also tasted great! Great atmosphere; excellent food, but a bit pricey; the service was slow. Vegetarians would definitely love this place ;) My Food Score : 4 1/4 stars

Alois Dallmayr München - This is a luxury food store in Munich. It offers coffee and tea, truffles and chocolate, home-made salads, pastas and many other fine foods. There is a restaurant on the upper floor, an indoor market is on the ground floor.

Mini snacks from Dallmayr's market - a slice of cheese cake (EUR 2.80) and pasta salad with ricotta (EUR 2.96, 0.14g). The cheese cake was good, but certainly not the best. The salad was SO DELICIOUS - loved it, a lot!!!
My Food Score : Cheese Cake 3 1/2 stars ; Salad 4 1/2 stars

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Füssen

Füssen is usually associated with two things - Neuschwanstein and Hohenschwangau castles. Besides these two, the town itself is a nice place to explore, with narrow streets lined with old buildings, small cafes and shops. After a week of fine-dining, I decided to go with something lighter. Thus, I visited a small market at Kaiser Maximilian Platz, which consists of several stalls, including a stall selling different types of Flammkuchen. I had a Flammkuchen topped with sour cream, mushrooms and onions (EUR 7.50). I wish there were more mushrooms and less onion slices. Other than that, it was crispy and good. If you are looking for a nice light meal, this is the place! My Food Score : 3 1/2 stars

If you want to try international cuisine, then go to Luitpold Passage.
Note : This narrow street is not visible on the Google Map, here is its location as specified by OpenStreetMap.

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Lake Constance

Lake Constance (or Bodensee) is situated between the Austrian, German and Swiss borders. If the weather permits, you will enjoy a spectacular view of the lake. My stay was very short, so I only visited Steg4. This restaurant is located nearby the “Imperia” Harbor Statue. It offers Mediterranean cuisine and regional dishes.

I ordered the Felchenfilets "Konstanzer Art" - Lake Constance whitefish fillets, served with mushrooms, diced tomatoes, Nolly Prat sauce and boiled potatoes (EUR 19.90). The food was acceptable, didn't wow me though. The fillets were tender; I would have loved them to be slightly crisp on the outside. Service was quick and professional, and portions were big as always! My Food Score : 3 1/4 stars

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Titisee

Titisee is a large lake, located within the Black Forest. It is about 30-40 minutes by train from Freiburg. This place is not large. It is a perfect starting point for hiking through pine forests. A hike from Titisee to the nearby village called Hinterzarten is quite easy (~5km) and pleasant.

We needed a coffee fix before the hiking trip, so we went to Restaurant Bergsee. This restaurant overlooks the lake and offers different kinds of Black Forest menu. The service was very dissapointing. The terrace was half-full; we waited for 20 minutes for a waiter to visit our table, and after another 20 minutes, a second waiter came to take our order again. Probably worth a try once (they make a fantastic cup of cappuccino...believe me, it was excellent), but only if you can tolerate such a slow and poor service (a 45-minute wait for a cup of coffee!)

We had our dinner at Seehotel Wiesler. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a waiter, who led us to a table overlooking the lake. The restaurant is quite large; the menu features Chef and local
specialties, almost all dishes available in full or small portions. I ordered a small portion of Black Forest trout (or Schwarzwälder Forelle), prepared according to Müllerin Art. The side dishes were parsley potatoes and spinach. The fillet was fried in butter, served with lemon and almond flakes. It was crispy outside, and juicy inside. Loved the combination of crispy skinned fillet, almonds and lemon. In short, exceptional service and great food at an affordable price (EUR 15.50)! My Food Score : 4 1/4 stars

Note : Don't forget to grab a mini marmorkuchen from the bakery located at the Titisee train station!

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Freiburg

Freiburg is a mini Muenster. The city is very lively, trams and bikes are almost everywhere! It is a small university town which offers small stores, cafes, and great food. Bächle (miniature streams) that run along almost every street are something particularly noticeable. Surrounded by nature, the city is filled with friendly people. This is one of my favorite cities in Germany. Some things I learned during my trip in southern regions of Germany, you probably already knew these :
  • Order a cappuccino with milk. They usually serve "dry cappuccinos"- without hot milk, and topped with foamed milk.
  • Black forest cake is often prepared with alcohol - Kirschwasser.
  • Food portions are large sized - suitable for sharing..or you may order a kinder meal!
Here are some cafes and restaurants which I found particularly interesting.

Kolben-Kaffee-Akademie, Kaiser-Joseph-Str. 233, Altstadt. This cafe is a small hidden jewel under the St. Martin Tower. A must visit place, especially for cake lovers! Be prepared to stand and enjoy your coffee and pastries - there are several high tables, but no seats! The interior is snug and cozy, and old Hessian sacks are used to decorate the walls. I had a cappuccino and a slice of apple pie with hazelnuts. The coffee was fantastic, the pie tasted SO goooooood! It was not too sweet, the crust was a bit crispy - loved it! A perfect meeting spot for spontaneous conversation, so don't miss it! My Food Score : 4.5 stars

Altstadt-Cafe - This café is located near Kaiser Joseph main street. It is a medium-sized café which offers breakfast buffet, a variety of cakes and coffees. This place is popular among older people. I had a slice of Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte (Black Forest). The price was right. I usually don't like cake and alcohol together, so it was not great, not bad. My Food Score : 3 stars

Café Schmidt - This is one of the famous cafés in town, usually packed with locals and tourists. It consists of two floors. The nice thing is it opens everyday. It offers various cakes, chocolates, cookies, and ice cream. It sells chocolates in souvenir packs. You may also purchase them online. Don't forget to check out a collection of coffee grinders in the ground floor- they are old fashioned but unique!

Sauerrahmkuchen (sour cream cake) with cherries & Schweizer Schümli Kaffee - both were good and the price was reasonable (EUR 5.10).
My Food Score : 3 3/4 stars

Kartoffelhaus - As the name implies, this restaurant offers almost everything that is made of potatoes - baked
potato, potato salad, pancake and soup, mashed potato, french fries, gratin potato and so on. Meat steaks and fish fillets are also available. The menu also includes some seasonal choices. The restaurant is not in the city center, you have to walk a bit to get there.

I chose the "trio" option (EUR 12.50) which includes two fairly large baked potatoes, three types of dips (avocado, tomato-olive dip, and creamy dill sauce with shrimps), and a large plate of mixed salad. The salad was fresh and filling. The avocado and tomato dips were flavorful, but the dill sauce needs some improvement! The baked potatoes were really large. I only managed to eat half of one as I was too consumed by the salad. Overall, decent food at a great price! If you are a potato lover, this would be a good option!
My Food Score: salad - 4 stars; trio dish - 3 stars

Martin's Brau is a brewery that also serves good regional food. This is the first wifi-free brew pub I have ever been in my life. It is located in the basement of the
Freiburger Markthalle. There is an open kitchen on the right side of the brewery. There are also two copper vats at the other corner of the brewery. The menu comprises daily specials and local food, which are heavy on meat and fat - breaded pork steaks, Ox tongue salad, homemade Bratwurst, knöpfle, and roast knuckle of pork with sauerkraut.

I found something that fits my dietary needs- "Black Forest style" knöpfle with creamy mushroom sauce. The food portion was so humongous. I felt sluggish and heavy after eating half of it. Nevertheless, the food tasted very good. It was a nice experience to try out a Swabian food.
My Food Score : 4 stars

Markthalle is a food hall where you can discover a wide options of cuisines from around the world - German, French, Italian, Indian, Japanese, Chinese, Persian and Mexican. It includes several stand-up tables and bar stools. This is an ideal place to find cheap and decent food.

I had a simple but tasty salmon crepe (EUR 5.90). Again, the portion was very generous!
My Food Score : 3 1/2 stars

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Heidelberg

The second city I visited was Heidelberg, it is best known for its castle. It was Sunday; most stores and cafes were closed, except restaurants. I tried a schneeball from a local store and visited one of the highly recommended restaurants, the Weisser Bock.

Weisser Bock is a hotel and restaurant located in the city centre. It consists of two floors. The first floor is exquisitely decorated with old furnishing and paintings. There is an internal stair connecting the ground floor to the second floor balcony. The restaurant also includes a large private dining room.

Complimentary assorted breads with scrumptious dip that will put a smile on your face!

My starter@ fish soup with fried bread and rouille sauce. Loved it! The soup was mild-flavoured and well prepared using fresh seafood and meticulously carved vegetables.
My Food Score : 4 stars

The main dish @ homemade Ravioli stuffed with William pear and Brillat-Savarin cheese, accompanied with onion chutney, walnuts and steamed leeks. The food presentation was really great but the taste didn't blow me away. The ravioli was over cooked and the onion chutney was a bit bitter for my taste.
My Food Score : 3 stars

At the end, I consoled myself with a cup of good cappuccino;)

To conclude, it was a great start but less impressive end. The service was top-notch, the ambiance was classy; a pricey restaurant (Aqua+Starter+Main Dish+Cappuccino+Trinkgeld~EUR45)

Schneeball or snowball is a deep-fried pastry. It is made of egg, flour, butter and sugar. The pastry is first cut into random lengths, these are bundled together to make a snowball, and then deep fried. I bought a schneeball coated with chocolate and nuts (EUR 2.90) from Diller Schneeballenträume. This shop is originally from Rothenburg ob der Tauber and has branches in several places in southwestern Germany. It offers schneeballs coated with various toppings such as sugar, chocolate, cinnamon, nuts and caramel. Schneeballs can last up to a few weeks and are suitable as gifts. For me, they are very sweet, but if you have a sweet tooth, you will love them.

Confessions of a Food Explorer @ Saarbrücken

Some people might be surprised to learn about my trip to Saarbrücken. Nothing so special or spectacular here. But, food matters! The city offers an incomparable blend of French and German cuisine. Here are the places I have visited.

Brauereigasthof "Stiefel Bräu" : This is an old brewery (nearly 300 years) that serves local cuisine and different types of beers. The restaurant has two floors and built in an old fashion. There are two giant brewing vessels in the middle of the restaurant. The ground floor includes an open kitchen where you can see the chefs preparing dishes.
  • I had salmon fillets served with beer-mustard sauce, potato dumplings and green salad. The salad itself was a large portion. I felt like eating one kilo of salad, but it was fantabulous. I didn't enjoy the main dish though. The dumplings were quite thick and rich, and the sauce was very creamy...it was almost too much for me to handle...
  • Some good points : nice atmosphere, huge portions at a very affordable price, a good option if you want to try a bit of local cuisine and beers..
  • My Food Score : 3 stars

Street food Italian Style @ Baked Rigatoni : If you wander around the city, you will find several fast-food restaurants serving baked rigatoni and some people just queued in front of these restaurants. I would highly recommend you to give this a shot.
  • It tastes good, a *healthy* alternative for fast-food junkies, cheaper, and filling. Don't forget to add some Tabasco on top of your pasta, just for kicks!
  • My Food Score : 3 3/4 stars

Zum Adler : A must visit restaurant! This restaurant mainly serves French cuisine. On entering the restaurant, I was taken back by its dining area decorated with framed vintage posters and hanging lamps. There is also a small side dining room for private parties.
  • The entrée "scampipfaennchen" - grilled prawns served with olive oil, garlic, and parsley, was a good start! I opted for the daily menu; it includes a salt grilled fish served with white sauce, rice and vegetables. The fish was very fresh and perfectly grilled. I wish there were more vegetables included. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed the food. I also recommend the flammkuchen - you may ask the waiter to exclude meat if you want to.
  • My remarks : a great escape from the busy city, a cozy and inviting atmosphere, delicious food but a little bit pricey (entrée+ grilled fish : ~25 EUR) The restaurant is located on the main street, so you may want to find information about the parking spot before your visit. Dinner reservations are highly recommended!
  • My Food Score : 4 1/4 stars