I have to admit, my palate for Chinese cuisine is rather undeveloped. I am possibly traumatized from countless years of mediocre ‘all you can eat’ standardized suburbian Chinese buffet deals my family would drag me out to on any given occasion.
Thankfully, Chinese food is much more than fried rice, greasy noodles and fortune cookies. At Da Jia Le, it is a variety of incredibly exciting and absolutely new tastes from the Northern parts of China. It’s a very special mix of spicy, simple, hot and absolutely new to me.
Da Jia Le, located in a strip of no-mans-land between Yorkstraße and Pallasstraße in Schöneberg, looks from the outside like a very forgettable and totally regular experience of a Chinese restaurant. But don’t judge a book by its cover!
One of of those last sunny summer days, we opted to sit outside, discarding the practical Lazy Suzie (a rotating tray that is put on the table to facilitate sharing food) option which is usually served inside. Once we ordered, it took only around 5-10 minutes for all of our orders to arrive.
The most important dish on the cold entrée menu is, by far, the tofu leaf salad. I haven’t quite figured out if its actual tofu or yuba (tofu skin), but whatever it may be – it’s a fantastic, lightly tart and mildly spicy option to begin your session with.
I like to visit Da Jia Le with a group of friends, as the portion sizes are respectable and there’s just too much excellence on the menu for one person only. While I prefer the vegetarian options at any Chinese restaurant (there is something about glibbery and sauced up meat that I can’t do well), Da Jia Le also has a few tasty and hearty stir fries with chicken, beef, pork and a few additional stews with fish as well.
Generally, you shouldn’t miss out on the cold potato strips and definitely not on the fried and spicy aubergine. Additional stars on the menu are the cucumber salad, the marinated tofu and pretty much anything else you can find on the menu that looks enticing to you – I yet have to experience a dish that wasn’t at least superbly interesting (although, truth be told, I am still very picky when it comes to Chinese culinary expeditions).
Although Da Jia Le is definitely something you would categorize as ‘authentic’ Chinese, they’ve really invested towards a wide beverages menu. There are at least 2 or 3 pages exclusively dedicated to German Craft Beers and selected wines – two things that pair really well with seasoned (and a lot of fried!) Chinese food.