My Berlin: Stella Lee

Every week, we ask an immigrant in Berlin to share their top five favourite things to do in the city. This week: Stella Lee from North Korea.

The next time someone recommends Wannsee, we'll use a picture of the nude section.
The next time someone recommends Wannsee, we'll use a picture of the nude section.Fabian Sommer/dpa

Berlin-Stella Lee, 30, was born in North Korea. She and her family fled the country when she was 19. She has since lived in Seoul and Los Angeles before coming to Berlin three years ago.

Paolo Pinkel – Karl-Marx-Str. 55, Neukölln: What I love the most about Berlin is the freedom and the diversity. It is wild and the freest city I’ve ever been to. Most of all, people are accepted the way they are. Paolo Pinkel is a small version of Berlin, I would say.

Here you’ll find a bar and restaurant with three independent kitchens (Korean, Sicilian and Cypriot) under one roof sharing a seating area. If you and your friends can’t decide what cuisine you want tonight, you can all be satisfied here. It’s a very nice place to hang out, with a cool and hip interior and the people who work here are also very international and diverse. Ami0428, the Korean kitchen here, is owned by two young Korean ladies who make Korean fusion street food. It’s fancy and of course delicious!

Wannsee, Steglitz-Zehlendorf: Berlin may be one of the poorest and least productive global capitals but it is also the most chilled. People don’t live to work here, they live to live. The lake at Wannsee is Europe’s largest outdoor swimming area on an inland body of water. In summer, many people chill there on weekends or after work. Half of the beach is a nude beach so, if you want to feel complete freedom, you can give it a try! I like lakes more than the sea because the water is not salty and sticky, but I love chilling on the sand too. That’s why Wannsee is a perfect place for me.

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Seoul Kwan – Schmiljanstr. 25, Friedenau: As a Korean, sometimes I need some good Korean food. Seoul Kwan is one of the very first and therefore one of the oldest Korean restaurants in Berlin. I’ve tried many other Korean restaurants here too but this one is the best, authentic and generous. They make the best cold noodle soup just like in Korea.

Das Hotel Bar – Oberlandstr. 26–35, Tempelhof: This is a small, unique bar in Kreuzberg. The great decoration with fresh flowers and candlelight and professionally made drinks make this place romantic and cozy. I love all their different gin and tonic flavour combinations. What makes this bar even more special is that downstairs is a club with typical Berlin-style techno music. It has a unique atmosphere that makes you feel you are in a special place, having the time of your life.

Berlin Wall: You can still easily find the remains of the Wall in Berlin. As someone born in North Korea, I immediately get emotional every time I see them. The steel plates on the street where the wall used to stand especially give me a weird feeling. You think about the people who died trying to cross it but now, you don’t even realise there used to be a wall. Sometimes I walk over these spots over and over again, wishing that one day I can do the same thing in my own country between North and South.