Gasthaus & Bierhaus, Tashkent, Uzbekistan

Gasthaus outsideLeibspeise was more than pleased to read in their Lonely Planet Guidebook that there is a German Gasthaus in Tashkent. So on their last day in the ‘Stans’ they went on another mission to find German food.

Gasthaus looks like a ‘Fachwerkhaus’ from the outside, quite inviting. Yet, Leibspeise had to pass a bouncer and a “face, bag and dress code control”. That’s something new. Dress code

Once inside, we were surrounded by the stereotypical Bavarian decor and nicknack. Waiters were dressed in fake Lederhosen (velvet instead of leather), waitresses wore “appropriate” dirndls (sorry guys, no cleavage).

Foodwise, Leibspeise was faced with a Russian menu only. Basic translations from one staff member was needed, so assumptions are based on what Leispeise saw on other guest’s plates. Leibspeise thinks that Gasthaus offers the typical German menu: schnitzel, sauerkraut, pork knuckle, sausages, etc. Leibspeise sampled a ‘German soup’ which tasted like an Uzbek schorpa and a Schnitzel, which was o.k, nicely presented but a bit soggy. So foodwise, Gasthaus could do with some authentic German cooking lessons, but Leibspeise really liked Gasthaus’ beer. They offer ‘Helles’, ‘Dunkles’, ‘Weizen’, which was delicious.

Gasthaus Schnitzelbeer mat

BierhausOn their way to their hostel, Leibspeise stumbled across another German labelled restaurant: Bierhaus. Besides the offer of another ‘Helles’ and ‘Dunkles’ which was less tasty than the Gasthaus brew, the menu did have some interesting ideas about German food. Leibspeise found “German Things: toast with tomato and cheese” or ” Stewed Munich cabbage” or “German salad: chicken, mushrooms, pai, cumcumber”.

So what did Leibspeise learn? Even in Uzbekistan, (rich) people go for ‘Bavarian atmosphere’ and German style food. Leibspeise’s verdict is that both venues would benefit from some serious development aid in regards to real German food and cooking though.

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November 10, 2009 at 7:51 am 2 comments

Bakery 88, Dali, Yunnan, China

KarineBakery 88 in Dali in China’s Yunnan province is possibly the biggest jewel Leibspeise encountered so far throughout its travels. Not only because you can get the freshest bakery products with a strong emphasis on organic local ingredients, but mainly because its founder and ‘Mom of all’ Karine has such a passion for her baking hobby and is keen to train young local women both in baking / cooking, but also in English and general life skills. Karine has lived and worked in China since the mid 80s and came to Dali first in 92. She and her husband immediately fell in love with Dali’s relaxed atmosphere and started Bakery 88 in 2007. Since then, the Bakery 88 family grew to 8 people.

First thing you encounter when entering the shop, is a display of really deliciously looking cake. Traditional German cheese cake, chocolate cake, chestnut-pear cake and their ‘Hoernchen’ are bestsellers. Leibspeise’s test of a cheese cake didn’t leave any doubts why. On top of a variety of ‘belegte Broetchen’, the bakery also sells local cheese and organic honey and jam. Surprisingly, 80% of Karine’s clients are Chinese who buy her products because it’s healthy (and obviously tasty).

Bread selectionHomemade Jam

In winter time when the climate allows for some serious baking and cooking sessions, Karine holds baking and cooking workshops for local women in her bakery. Check out Karine’s personal food blog to get a feel of what’s happening there. Leibspeise loved Karine’s passion for her business, her can do attitude and especially her social thrive to improve lifes of local women.

Bakery 88

Bakery 88 can be found on Foreigner Street 52, Bo’ai Lu in Dali’s Old Town. It’s open from 7am to 10pm 7 days a week.


The Bakery 88

Karine’s food blog

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October 7, 2009 at 10:05 am 6 comments

Schnurrbart’s, Hong Kong, China

Schnurrbart's SchnapsIn true Leibspeise spirit, Schnurrbart’s was established 26 years ago by 3 Germans who came to Hong Kong and clearly saw the lack of good German beers and food. Leibspeise wonders what this says about English beer and food?! What better idea could they have had than opening a German beer hall / pub / restaurant /Schnapps bar called Schnurrbart’s. By the way, ‘Schnurrbart’ is something typical German and means ‘moustache’.

WirtshausIt doesn’t take long until you realise that this is a real German authentic place. You certainly won’t see anything that refers to modern Germany (Schnurrbart’s looks like a typical Landgasthof), but a first view at the tab reveals some nice German Pilsners (Jever, Koepi, Warsteiner, Veltins). Furthermore, Schnurrbart’s menu boasts with a plethora of other beers and traditional German dishes. Their pork knuckle, mixed sausage plate, Wiener Schnitzel and the Currywurst are bestsellers, but there’s much more on the menu, eg. Suelze, simple salami and cheese bread (belegte Broetchen), Apfelstrudel, fried egg with potatoes, Frikadelle.

Schnurrbart’s guarantees its German authenticity by getting their chefs trained by Germans, sometimes they even invite guest chefs from Germany to create a special dish. And most importantly, Schnurrbart’s buys some of their produce from a local butcher called “Bayern-Gourmet” in close-by Aberdeen (check out their website; it’s mouthwatering). Although Schnurrbart’s has many Germans as regulars, other expats and a growing number of local Hong Kongers enjoy their culinary trip to Germany at Schnurrbart’s.

pork knuckle Bratwurst the lot

Leibspeise loved tasting a refreshing Jever after all so many weeks of Chinese Tsingtao and also was impressed by the selection of German imported Schnapps (see picture above). Similar to Koelsch beer, at Schnurrbart’s you can buy Schnaps in meters or even in 2 meters. Make use of their Happy Hour from 5-8pm. Na denn, Prost!

Schnurrbart’s has two branches: one in Lang Kwai Fong on Hong Kong island, the other one Tsimshatsui on the Kowloon side of Hong Kong.

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September 27, 2009 at 6:41 pm 2 comments

South German Bakery, Café Konstanz, Bodenseestube, Beijing, China

Beijing is becoming more and more international, so does its offer of international food. Leibspeise visited the South German Bakery/Café Konstanz/Bodenseestube in this ever changing city.

South German BakeryFrom the outside, the South German Bakery looks like a timbered house (Fachwerkhaus), downstairs one can find the bakery and café, upstairs is a restaurant which serves excellent breakfast, but also typical hearty southern German food like Spätzle, Maultaschen, Flammkuchen and Wurstsalat. The bakery employs two German baker masters that is why they have a fantastic variety of  auhentic German bread: walnut, rye, caraway, pumpkin, soy, oat, 3 grain bread and many more.

South German BreakfastLeibspeise sampled the South German Breakfast and was delighted. We were treated to delicious pretzels, bread rolls, homemade apricot jam, honey, boiled eggs, ham, and cheese.

The bakery/café/restaurant is only 4 years old, but is gaining popularity at a rapid pace and plans for expansions are already underway. Not only expats love the good quality products, but also Chinese are interested in German food culture and for them German bread is a ‘healthy choice’. The bakery keeps German traditions alive and offers specialties like Christstollen around Christmas and Easterbunnies and eggs at Easter.

South German Bakery insideLeibspeise was amazed by the variety and quality of bakery products on offer. The breakfast was excellent and the menu comforts homesick south Germans (like us).  The restaurant decor is satisfying German stereotypes with heavy wooden furniture and is more a reminiscence of the old days, rather than of modern Germany.  You certainly can’t miss the massive map of the Bodensee  on the restaurant’s wall.

The South German Bakery can be found on Lucky Sreet in Beijing’s Chaoyang District.


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September 21, 2009 at 6:26 pm Leave a comment

Sachers Café, Conditorei, Bäckerei, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Brigitte CummingsCafé Sachers in Mongolia’s capital Ulaanbaatar is a great example of how much a charismatic owner can add to the whole Café atmosphere. Indeed, if you ever happen to visit this Café, make sure to ask for Brigitte Cummings as she is an extremely nice, well connected and chatty person and certainly will keep you entertained with great stories about her Café and about life as a German in Ulaanbaatar.

Having been a long term resident all over Asia, Brigitte became a co-founder of Café Sachers in 1997 by pure accident. Originally from a totally different trade and also not very fond of confectionery nor bread (apparently she hardly eats bread), she was asked by friends if she was interested in helping opening a bakery. Brigitte found great support in SES, Germany’s Senior Expert Service, an organisation that offers interested retirees the opportunity to pass on their skills and knowledge to others, both within Germany and abroad. Since Sachers foundation, a SES pensioner baker comes to Ulaanbaatar every couple of years and teaches local Mongolians over a 3-6 week period how to make bread.

Cafe SachersCafé Sachers is Mongolia’s first genuine German bakery and offers filter coffee, pretzels, pastries and excellent fresh bread. It has a nice outdoor patio and a lovely seating area inside, where you can enjoy reading the local English newspapers or German magazines. Over and above bakery products, the menu includes hot soups, sandwiches and other dishes. Most ingredients have to be imported from Germany, as according to Brigitte Mongolia’s suppliers tend to be a bit unreliable. Everything on the menu is made by the 7 people Sachers team. Only sausages are sourced from Khan holding (see Leibspeise article about Khan).

Cafe Sachers is not to be mistaken for Sacher’s (the one with the Sacher Torte). The Cafe derives its name from  Helmut Sachers Kaffee, an Austrian coffee producer and bakery supplier. Most of Café Sachers clients are diplomats and foreigners, but also Mongolians started to have a great interest in German bread as many Mongolians studied in Germany. Leibspeise loves the cosy atmosphere in this little bakery. Make sure to try the Krapfen as Brigitte is very proud of them and believes they are better than in Germany (the dough is made by hand not by heavy bakery machines and therefore is much fluffier). Also have an eye for Bella’s Hundekuchen, Brigitte’s latest bakery invention for dogs.

Yummy KrapfenCafé Sachers can be found on Baga Toiruu west, opposite the Central Bank of Mongolia, very close to the UB guesthouse.

Sachers Café, Conditorei, Bäckerei, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

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September 15, 2009 at 9:08 am 21 comments

Khan Bräu, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

P1050050Who would have thought that Leibspeise could find German food and beer in such a remote country like Mongolia? In fact, Klaus Bader and his Mongolian business partner were looking for a business idea in Mongolia while studying international marketing in Germany. After doing some research in Mongolia both were really disappointed by the quality and taste of local beers and decided to brew their own. This was the start of Khan Bräu in 1996 which then was the preferred beer of most foreigners, but now is very popular with locals as well.

BrauhausAs quality and taste of their beer was key to the team, they brought in a brewer from Germany who created their brew (pilsner and a dark) and trained the locals how to brew it. Apparently they bought all brewing machinery in Bavaria, put it on a train and send it all the way to Mongolia on the Trans-Siberian Railway. Since then the team has built a Brauhaus in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia’s capital, and distribute their brew to another 10 restaurants and pubs in town.

As German beer goes well with German food, they also make delicious German bread and meat products (see picture). When you are in Ulaanbaatar, make sure to visit the Brauhaus while they do their “Bierboerse” (3 times a week). Like stocks on Wall Street you pay different prices for a Khan beer. It’s always packed, just make sure to order while the beer price is low.

P1050037        P1050041

Leibspeise is impressed by this passion for German beer and also enjoyed the “lecker Wurstplatte und Broetchen”.

Here’s also a funny ad for Khan Bräu that uses a typical Mongolian way of singing called throat singing, actually fairly similar to burping…


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July 16, 2009 at 6:18 am 4 comments

bärlin Deutsches Wirtshaus, Seoul, Korea

baerlin Deutsches WirtshausAfter 1.5 months of traveling, Leibspeise finally found a German restaurant that is different and doesn’t thrive on the Bavaria theme: bärlin Deutsches Wirtshaus in Seoul, Korea. baerlin is a modern German Wirtshaus, featuring a nice and simple interior with large black and white photographs of the Brandenburg Gate and the Oberbaum Bridge. The wide windows make the venue bright and there is also a beer garden.

It truly was a delight to browse through baerlin’s comprehensive German menu. Simply the fact that bärlin distinguishes between Kartoffelsalat from North and South Germany is an indication that baerlin serves food from ALL areas in Germany. By the way, Leibspeise (from Southern Germany, but not Bavaria) is open minded and accepts that people add mayonnaise to potato salad, but clearly Schwaebischer Kartoffelsalat is the best.

Leibspeise sampled a Lunch special at bärlin (Pork Wellington) and was delighted both with taste and presentation. Also the Nuernberger (made at the baerlin) and the potato-cucumber salad were truly nice. The Rote Grueze was the perfect finish for an already great lunch. Not only Leibspeise enjoyed their lunch at bärlin, but also three local Korean ladies indulged in a Schweinshaxe accompanied with real German Weizenbier (see picture below).

Pork Wellington Rote Grueze

Schweinshaxe mit Chefkoch baerlin Tageskarte

baerlin und Brandenburger TorKoreans and German food

You can find bärlin in the Sommerset Palace building, close to the subway station Anguk.

Leibspeise’s verdict: a true gem due to its modern German look as well as the yummy holistic German cuisine.


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July 12, 2009 at 4:46 am 3 comments

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