Düsseldorf (or how to splurge in asian supermarkets)

Photos : @blvckwyrt and @omniscientbeing


Like some of you guys will know, going on holiday somewhere far away where the food and culture is very different will leave a massive void in your life, when you suddenly find you don’t have access to all those delicious things. Well that definitely happened to me when we got back from our trip to Japan. We tried to patch it up by cooking japanese and asian inspired food ourselves, but it just wasn’t the same.

So get this, through a friend of ours, who was at the time an exchange student from Tokyo, we learnt that apparently Düsseldorf, which is a fairly regular city in western Germany, has the 3rd biggest japanese community in all of Europe, behind London and Paris. And due to that, there’s a japanese district in the city, with supermarkets, restaurants, bookshops, etc. Well, time for a road trip!

We set off for a short weekend break on a Friday morning, arriving there something like 4 hours later, after getting stuck in traffic. Which of course is always fun when it’s like 35°C outside. The city itself is pretty standard. A few nice places, a few less nice places. But all in all, pretty decent. The old town is very quaint, and there’s a few very decent bars there.

The japanese (or asian, for that matter) district is kind of a weird one, as it’s not a little self-contained district, but more shops and restaurants spread over a part of town, alongside local shops. Early on we did spot a Korean bakery, perfect for a little afternoon snack. And holy hell, do they know their way around baked goods. We topped that off with a bubble tea and set off to see what else the city had to offer.

For example chubby cats in shop windows.

We tried out a Korean spot called Chimac Plus for dinner, which was a fairly pleasant discovery, having never tried proper Korean food before. I went for a Cheese Buldak, which was this decadent mountain of spicy fried chicken, cheese and rice cakes. And again, holy hell, do they know their way around fried chicken. If you’re ever in town, I can only recommend the place, and the dish.

We started the second day by going to a park that’s a little outside of town to chill out a bit. It featured a japanese garden, which sounded pretty intriguing but was a bit of a let down. Still, there were a good dozen cosplayers doing photoshoots there who seemed to enjoy it. We spent the better part of the afternoon grocery shopping in the various asian supermarkets. A lot of them have a prepared foods section as well, where we did find some amazing onigiri, on par with those we had in Japan. We did spend way too much time and money in those supermarkets.

In the evening we found this place called Beuys, a bar in the old town which does killer cocktails. The atmosphere was very relaxed and laid back, with dimmed lights and old-school hip hop playing in the background. A good place to chill out and get a good buzz going.

Sunday morning was spent visiting the Kunstsammlung NRW and part of the Ai Weiwei exhibition happening at that moment. Because you kind of have to do something for your culture, and not just buy food all the time. I guess….

Before heading home we spent the afternoon at Schloss Benrath, just outside of Düsseldorf, but that’s another story for another post. As a conclusion, Düsseldorf was a pretty fun experience and we’ll definitely find ourselves heading up there again, when asian-food-depression kicks in. Despite the fact that it’s a pretty standard German city outside of the Japanese district, it seemed like a nice place, very vibrant and alive, so a decent destination for a quick weekend trip.



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