Amsterdam isn’t known for it’s food, which is a shame because one of Amsterdam’s most famed tourist offerings will make you very hungry. Yes, all those museums, markets and tulips will make you very hungry indeed…
I spent a weekend in he capital of The Netherlands, recently. It had never occurred to me to go there for food, I thought it was all coffee shops, red lights and stag parties. What I soon realised though is that Amsterdam offers much more than that, and it doesn’t deserve it’s ‘lads on tour’ reputation. Evenings can be spent enjoying a drink outside a little cafe, day times occupied with vintage shopping galore and any time in between spent negotiating the canals and cobbles by bike or foot.
I had three nights there so got straight on with my quest to find the best cheap food in the city. My first port of call was the ‘hip’ Jordaan neighbourhood, which is where all the young cool people live, according to one (elderly) resident. Here I made the most of Amsterdam’s legendary appeltaart (apple pie) at a popular with the locals cafe called Cafe Winkel. Winkel is famous for the gargantuan portions of the best pie in town, cinnamony apple filling with a buttery casing and mound of cream, plus a mint tea on the side to make you feel a little more virtuous. For quality control purposes I tried the apple pie at Winkel five times, and each time was as good as the last.
For something a little more ‘street’ put some triple cooked chips on your agenda. These aren’t just a mid-night snack for late night revellers, I spotted locals eating this at all times of the day. The chips are hidden beneath a mound of mayonnaise (the Dutch seem to love mayo) and there’s a range of other sauces you can choose to have generously pumped from a massive vat onto the remaining chips. One of these was the curry sauce, but not like curry sauce in the UK, it’s thin and runny and tastes like a Christmas candle smells. I much preferred the satay sauce – gloopy, salty, unhealthiness. This one below was from Smullers, where you can also buy burgers from a vending machine. I didn’t try those.
From one peanutty dish to another, you’ve got to try some food from Suriname, a former Dutch colony. I was pointed in the direction of Warung Sranang Makmur, a Surinamese and Indonesian restaurant where I feasted on chicken satay with fried noodles. It was one of the best meals of the trip, washed down with a ‘dawet’, a slightly viscous rosewater, lemongrass and coconut drink. Like liquid sweets in a glass.
One food I adore which I feel quite deprived of in the UK is pancakes, so I made it my priority to try some of these during my stay. This was at quite a touristy place called Pannenkoekenhuis Upstairs
. Located up some steep stairs, hence the name, is a little space with four tables and a hot plate for pancake flipping. I went for the bacon and cheese pancake which I doused in a sickening amount of syrup. They are big enough to share but I would recommend getting one each.
If you’re a fan of vintage clothing you’ll be in your element in Amsterdam. As well as numerous vintage shops there’s markets galore, crammed full of 70s cycling jerseys (a bit gross in hindsight) and billowy silky 80s shirts. Can you imagine my glee to come across a vintage Springsteen t-shirt for five euros? Not only that, I also found a rare Billy Idol t-shirt. Billy Idol
is my guilty pleasure.
|I’ll take one cauliflower and one Take That CD please
When all the eating and shopping is making you weary, the best coffee I found was at Lot Sixty One
, good first thing in the morning and for a mid afternoon pick me up.
Of course I had the obligatory burger(s) in Amsterdam, the first of which was at Burgermeester or ‘Burger Mayor’, full write up here.
If I’m honest, all this eating meant I didn’t go to as a many museums in Amsterdam as I perhaps should have. But I did take a stroll through the red light district which felt like a bit of a museum in itself, with the tour group excursions and throngs of gawking tourists. I was warned that the lovely ladies would be tapping on the windows for my attention, but fortunately (or unfortunately?!) I saw more texting than tapping. But, if you are finally beckoned to the window like I was, they aren’t actually getting you over to ask you what the time is, FYI. And when they ask you to tie their shoelace? Yeah that’s a clever little ploy too.
Best to scuttle off and go for more apple pie instead.