Lucky fish between hotdog wraps and crocodile goulash
Jingmei Fan-Eichmann radiates a meditative serenity. Amidst the hustle and bustle at the street food market of the International Green Week, between pork knuckle burgers, Hungarian langoosh and sandwich raclette, the Potsdam native from China repeats the same activity over and over again: from small frying plates in the shape of fish, which move forward with a clacking sound, she slowly and carefully lifts out one finely modeled lucky fish after the next and gently places it on the counter, where the family of fish made of batter and filled with vanilla pudding awaits hungry fair guests under two heat lamps.
"Jingmei is calmness personified," says her husband Klaus-Dieter Eichmann. "I would have blown up like a HB male by now doing this job." Eichmann has other qualities: six years ago, he organized the automated waffle iron for the lucky fish, of which he says there is only one other in use in Europe: in Chinatown, London. In 2014, he discovered the machine in China, which automatically fills the ramekins with batter and, in a further step, adds the vanilla cream, Eichmann reports. "It then took me almost three years to figure out where to buy it," he says.
Lucky fish for good luck
Taiyaki or bungeoppang are considered lucky charms. The name varies depending on whether you are in Korea or Japan. It goes back to the sea bream (Japanese: tai), a highly prized fish species in Japan that is considered a good luck charm. The Eichmanns use the Japanese name "taiyaki," and the baking mix for their batter comes from Korea. They cook the vanilla pudding for the filling themselves. They don't yet use the classic Japanese filling, anko, a sweet paste made from red beans, at Green Week. The fair visitors have enough questions about the product anyway.
Whether it was soap, or candle wax, the couple were asked when they first attended the Streetfood Market in 2017. "In the meantime, more and more people are coming and placing larger orders," Eichmann reveals. Between hotdog wraps, crocodile goulash or yogurt ice cream with 100 percent insects, the sweet lucky fish seem pretty harmless, after all.
Anyone who has worked up an appetite or wants to watch Jingmei Fan-Eichmann at work will find the Streetfood Market in Hall 1.2a.