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When Street Food Builds One Community, and Rankles Another

Berlin’s Thaipark has long represented the best of what informal food markets have to offer. So why does the city think it’s a problem?
Customers prepare to eat pork and beef soup in Berlin's Thaipark.
Customers prepare to eat pork and beef soup in Berlin's Thaipark.Adam Berry/Getty

Berlin’s Thaipark is the sort of place that makes people fall in love with cities.

Visit this modest, charming public garden—officially named Preussenpark—on a summer weekend and you’ll find it thronged with people enjoying the best affordable food Berlin has to offer, sold mainly from small, impromptu stalls run by Thai Berliners. Lively but calm enough, the park’s combination of good food, delicious smells, and sunlight in the long grass can be idyllic.