Saté and Surinamese food

Due to the rich history of the Dutch East Indes, ethnic food in the Netherlands is ubiquitous and authentic.  Many restaurants default to standard International fare but if you find yourself in a good market (or a more traditional Dutch restaurant) you might be lucky enough to experience Indonesian or Surinamese specialities.

Chicken Saté is the most common.  Touristy restaurants tend to serve a sickly sweet, tar-like sauce from a tub but if you find yourself in a real Dutch cafe such as Wildschut or at an Indonesian stall make sure you order kipsaté.  Whilst I haven’t actually been there myself, I have it on good authority that Satebar Charley is amongst the very best in town.  You can find this Indonesian food truck in the Lindengracht food market in the Jordaan on a Saturday offering the real deal and trust me, I’m heading there myself next time to check it out.

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Another way to get your Satay fix is to get your chips (at a stall like Vleminckx rather than a restaurant) with saté-sauce along with mayonnaise.

Surinamese food is arguably even more exciting.  The Dutch brought labourers from Indonesia, India and China to work on the African plantations and naturally the cuisine (and indeed the people) reflect this mix.  If you’re in The Pijp area, why not stop off at Oriental grocer Tjin’s International Foodstore on the Eerste van der Helststraat.  Alongside international groceries and condiments they prepare Surinamese sandwiches to take away.  Try a Pom broodtje – a traditional Surinamese sandwich made from chicken, citrus, relish and a sweet-potato like vegetable called pomtajer.  Given the heritage of Surinamese cuisine you won’t be surprised to hear its sweet, sour and spicy all at the same time, and more importantly absolutely delicious.  Alternatively if you’re lucky enough to visit the market at the Westergasfabriek or are in Amsterdam for the extraordinary annual Kings Day then make sure you stop by a street-food vendor to taste other specialties.

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