Hong Kong cuisine has its singular attractions but the idea of trying to make a living as a restaurateur in the city can leave a bad taste in the mouth. Just ask Ben Chung and Yuki Lam.

The camera-shy Hong Kong couple have been living in Berlin since the late 1980s and have been running the Tak Kee restaurant for more than three years. It is the only restaurant in the German capital offering authentic Hong Kong cuisine: crispy roast pig, claypot rice and steamed fish, all washed down with milk tea.

Forty-something Chung moved to Berlin two years after meeting Lam, a German-born Hongkonger, when she was working a summer job in Hong Kong in 1987. He was then an office worker who dreamed of becoming a firefighter or a policeman.

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After moving to Germany in 1989, just before the Berlin Wall came down, Chung began working in kitchens. Over the years, he mastered culinary skills, even teaching himself how to roast a pig. Then he became ambitious.

"I wanted to create a restaurant that was unique," Chung says. "Many Chinese restaurants here only target German customers, and they all serve food that tastes the same, no matter which ingredients they use or what dishes they serve."

The relatively low rent in Berlin, and the fact that landlords are not allowed to raise it to astronomical levels when a business becomes successful, has made the dream possible.

The couple visited their families in Hong Kong in January and were reminded that this city is not the place for them.

"If you have money, Hong Kong is heaven. But if you have nothing, then Hong Kong is hell," Chung says. "If I had had the money, I'd have just invested in property in Hong Kong. You make money without even making an effort."

But for Chung, life is about more than getting rich.

"I want to change the Chinese restaurant culture in Germany," he says.

"I want to right the wrong."

Berlin Food Stories