The Amsterdam food culture is inevitably accompanied by a broad diversity of exotic kitchens. There are two particular culinary influences that have infiltrated the Amsterdam food scene over the past decades. Let us introduce you to two culinary delights with a long Dutch colonial history.
If you can’t go to Indonesia for its food…. go to Amsterdam! The Netherlands has a long shameful history in colonizing Indonesia until 1945.
Yet the Indonesians in the Netherlands have treated the Dutch with nothing less than kindness by spoiling our taste buds and occasionally burning those with some of their super spicy dishes. The Dutch came up with a method of sampling a lot of small Indonesian dishes, mainly to show off the range of flavors to foreign visitors. This is known as ‘rijsttafel’, which means rice table. Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam differ in price range and fanciness.
Besides the rijsttafel I would recommend to try out:
1. Gado-gado (Salad with boiled vegetables and tofu covered with a peanut sauce dressing and coconut milk)
2. Spekkoek (Cake with a rich amount of different spices such as cinnamon, clove and anise)
3. Sate Ayam (chicken skewers Indonesian style)
Surinam food is what I call Holland’s version of ‘soul food’. Suriname has an interesting cultural history and it has everything to do with how their food culture has been shaped. This small country located north east of South America once belonged to the British colonists and was traded with the Dutch for New York. The Dutch started importing African slaves to Surinam and after these were abolished they started bringing in laborers from Indonesia, India and China to work on their plantations. These laborers brought over their own food traditions to Surinam, et voila, Surinamese dishes became an intriguing mix of different exotic flavors combined as one.
Surinam was granted independence in 1975 and nearly half of the Surinamese population decided to migrate to the Netherlands, bringing along their Asian, African, European influenced food culture to ours.
Some dishes to try out:
1. Roti (Indian pancake with curry chicken and vegetables)
2. Moksi Miti with rice or bami (Meat assort Surinamese style)
3. Telo with bakkeljauw (casave with dried salty fish flakes)
4. Saoto soup (rice soup with chicken and egg)
Don’t expect fancy restaurants but cheap, fluorescent tubes lit dining rooms.
As an integrated Amsterdam citizen I would say to you ‘Selamat Makan’ or ‘Nyan Switi’. Have a nice meal!
- Mio -