From time to time I have my lunch on Fridays at Markthalle Neun. At first what really impressed me was the fact they have a wide variety of trucks selling food from all over the world and at prices fair for the quality you get.
And last Tuesday I met Kathrin Kuna, the cultural curator of Markthalle Neun, to talk about exactly this: food truck culture.
“Part of our culture here at Markthalle is the Street Food Culture, which originally comes from the United States and there it was actually the Mexicans that introduced this concept, immigrants in California started it with tacos cars.”
Kathrin is organizing next Wednesday’s the Food Truck Book and Film Feast, which celebrates the food truck culture, showing the recently released book Food Trucks and exhibiting the movie Kiss the Cook, narrating the story of a 5-star chef that just gives up working for the gastronomy industry and opens his own food truck.
“In the end, street food means direct connection to the chef. In the film, the story is of somebody that was cooking in a posh restaurant and then had a bad review. He is pissed off and just goes just like “you know what? I’m not a slave of this industry!”. It is a little bit of this American ideal of being free and independent.”
“The book shows around 70 food trucks here in Germany, and when we talk about food trucks it’s not only cars or trucks, but also small interestingly-built trucks that are mainly in the back of a bike! There is also small ones, that are basic trolleys, but it is very interesting to see what people came up with.”
The book was released in March and the documentary will be in German cinemas on the 28th of May.
Plus, at Markthalle Neun, there will be a talk with one of the pioneers of food trucks in Germany, Florian Rohrmoser, founder of Heisser Hobel, together with another famous food truck founder, Cesar, from Zwei Dicke Bären.
“Haisser Hobel is the perfect German Food Truck, they basically turned an old GDR car into a food truck, and then took one of the most simple and tasty dishes, the Spätzel, and turned it into street food basically. This dish is traditional, but we would never think to serve it on a plate to go! And this is the idea of the food truck, to have simple and tasty food on the go. They adapted the concept perfectly for Germany.”
The talk will also be mediated by food blogger, Per Meurling, from Berlin Food Stories.
“People can come here, enjoy the talk and, like in a cinema, have something to eat and watch the movie. We partnered up with Mobile Kino, so we are going to have a huge screen set up in the middle of Markthalle!”
Talking about the space, Kathrin also told me a little bit of its history. The market was actually an achievement from the neighborhood organization, that fought against the selling of the place for a big real estate investor.
Long story short, Markthalle Neun was bought by their three partners, Bernd Maier, Florian Niedermeier and Nicolaus Driessen, with the condition from the government to transform the site into a sustainable urban project.
No sooner said than done, Markthalle Neun was bought in 2011 and supports small and local producers, and now, in the long run, also aims to be a production place, as they have already a brewery in house and smoke meat and fish.
“These three guys (the owners) met the people from Raumlabor, known for their development of sustainable architecture projects. And they worked really well when it comes to creating a marketplace that could actually really function.
Because this is another question, in times of Lidl and Aldi and wochenmarkts that pop ups easily in the streets, how do you revitalize a daily market place? Like this market hall?”
The initiative definitely worked out, and today they host the Farmer’s Market weekly with producers from Spreedwald and the Brandenburg area, the Street Food Thursday, with the food trucks, and some special events, like Stadt Land Food Festival or the Food Truck Book and Film Feast next week.
Do you want to know more about this food truck culture? Show up at Markthalle Neun next Wednesday, taste a spätzel from Heisser Hobel, have an ice cream sandwich from Zwei Dicke Bären as dessert, and enjoy the movie!
Food Truck Book and Film Feast happens on 20th May at Markthalle Neun.