Those with the most discriminating taste buds swear that Lyon is the foodie capital of Europe, or that Italian cuisine is the most refined. I am here to tell you that the food in Amsterdam is the bomb diggity, not because I was ripped like something awful, but because I ventured out of my comfort zone to try new things, such as :
1) Croquettesen – Breaded cylinders shaped like egg rolls, these delightful treats are often fried and are filled with either meat or peanut satay sauce. Why peanut, you ask ? Well, Indonesia was a Dutch colony way back in the day, and peanuts are apparently abundant there. The ones I had were savory and peanutastic, and I sincerely hope to find them here in France, if not back in the States this summer.
2) Pancakes – I know what you’re thinking–that’s SO AMERICAN. Yes, pancakes are American– but these were super pancakes. And actually, pancakes originated in medieval Europe, so props to the Old World on this clever creation. I got a Chilean pancake and had to restrain myself from worshipping the table. Although the portion was way too big, the spices were incredible, and I highly suggest you go to the Pancake Bakery if you’re ever in Amsterdam wandering around the 9 streets of Jordaan.
3) Stroopwafel – Effectively the Oreos of the Netherlands. I don’t have much of a sweet tooth, but these round wafers have either honey or caramel in the middle–sometimes both–and are enough to make any salt lover savor the flavor. Dangerously addictive for sugar lovers. Dip them in your coffee for an enhanced experience.
4) Rendang Groeten – The owner of the local Indonesian restaurant suggested this dish to my friend when she asked for something spicy and coconutty. She decided on something else with a thousand year-old egg in it, but I felt bad letting such a brilliant idea go to waste; I ordered the beef Rendang. I won. The fire in my mouth after the fifth bite was priceless. This, ladies and gentlemen, is how taste buds get desensitized.
5) Kip – This chicken sausage was in my going-home salad, and it made me not want to go home. I’ve never been one to rave about meat, but this one’s for the meat lovers : A smoked sausage flavor that still manages to pass for chicken and doesn’t overpower the other flavors on your palate. Substantive and light, kip goes well with a light meal or a traditional German meat and potatoes production. After all, Dutch culture is heavily influenced by the Germans.
It’s been said that food is a great way to immerse oneself in an unknown culture, and I can vouch for that. I may not be a food connoisseur, but I do know what I want out of my culinary and gastronomical experiences, and that is one simple thing : diversity. I don’t like the concept of staying within one cuisine, and that is what I love about Amsterdam. The multiculturalism, the tolerance, and the acceptance of all tastes, no matter if they are savory, sweet, spicy, or smoked (sometimes too much). If you ever make it out there, don’t be afraid to throw caution to the winds and explore the world of food.
“Vrij zijn in Amsterdam” – be free in Amsterdam