Food & Drink
Swedish Per is an influential food blogger in Berlin
While other students frittered away their student loans, Meurling was stuffing every spare coin into a glass jar. His ultimate goal: To eat at Copenhagen’s Noma, which had just bagged its second Michelin star.
“It took about a year to save up enough, but the experience I had there turned my whole food world upside down,” Meurling says with a smile.
He has always been interested in food and has always loved going out to eat. As a child, he drove his parents crazy by constantly dragging them to different pizza places. As a student, he took charge of the party menus for Lund University’s student association.
“A well-executed dinner is like a symphony that touches you on so many levels,” he says. “Many of my best memories come from restaurants.”
We are in the district of Friedrichshain, in a shabby but charming spot that was once a railway depot. Today, it’s the haunt of artists, clubbers and most recently – foodies. A popular food truck market called Neuer Heimat has been held here every Sunday for the past six months.
“The fact that the market is here in Friedrichshain is a sign that good food has become a status symbol in Berlin. This district has progressed slowly when it comes to food culture, but the boom time has finally arrived,” Meurling says.
He came to Berlin six years ago. Young food enthusiasts from all over the world were becoming attracted to the city, and many exciting restaurants opened as a result. Meurling was always one of the first guests.
“I started the blog, Berlin Food Stories, because I was always tipping off my friends about the best places to go,” Meurling says. “It came at just the right time, when the need for a guide was at its greatest.”
Today, Berlin Food Stories is a full-time job, and Meurling is one of the most influential restaurant critics in the city. A good word from him increases the chances of a place taking off. A good example is the Chinese restaurant, Di Jia Le, in the Schöneberg district, that a reader tipped him about. It was almost empty during his first visit and Meurling discovered it wasn’t doing very well.
“But the food was amazing,” he says. “So I wrote about it and several newspapers followed suit. Today it’s doing just fine.”
Meurling plans to launch Food Stories blogs in other cities. First up is Stockholm, where the blog will be written by local foodie Niki Jennische.
“TripAdvisor is all very well,” Meurling says, “but who can be bothered to wade through hundreds of reviews written by people with a completely different frame of reference than you? I think most people would rather have tips from someone they know they can trust.”
Text: Johanna Paues
Published: November 23, 2015