Thursday 1 March 2012

A Weekend in Amsterdam

Eurostar were kind enough to send me and a friend off on a jolly to Amsterdam for a weekend. Imagine my surprise when we turned up at Citizen M to find the shower open plan to the bed (which we already knew we were sharing...). But we were there for one thing and one thing only - to do some eating.

We headed to Albert Cuypstraat to Albina for some Surinamese food. Suriname had been a former colony of the Dutch Guiana (thanks Wikipedia) and subsequently Amsterdam has a high population of Dutch Surinamese. Fried potatoes turned up first, topped with fish floss which we drenched with caramel soy sauce and a spicy picalilli that was on the table.

Roasted chicken and char siu pork arrived in 'moki meksi' sauce with white rice; this is seemingly the roasting juices of the meat with some soy. Star of the show was the chicken curry - chunks of chicken served on the bone in a light curry sauce with potatoes, an egg and topped with a flaky and piping hot roti. We dug in with gusto. For 10 Euro each with a beer, Albina was a bit of a gem. I know nothing about Surinamese food but even though it was half way around the world from it, it reminded me a lot of Malaysian food.

The next day we took to the streets in search of some interesting food. Raw herring had been recommended to me and are are apparently quite plentiful, mostly on street corners in solid stands, displaying their wares behind a glass case. We sampled two, the best coming from Frens Heringshandel, off the flower market in Koningsplein - unfortunately the picture above is of the inferior version. Still, at around 3 Euro each the soft white bun is split and stuffed with the herring - raw? Cured? - and then topped with diced white onion and sliced pickles. I won't lie; this does make you honk of fishy onions, but it was delicious. The herring flesh is really soft and yielding, while the sharpness of the onions and pickles lifts the richness.

A recommendation from @ediblethings took us down to Voetboogstraat to Vleminckx Sausmeesters, a hole-in-the-wall chip shop. The queue was at least 10 strong (I'll admit, they were rather bleary / glazed of the eyes...) and when we got our chips I found out why. They were amazing. Crunchy on the outside, soft on the inside and well seasoned, we had ours topped with mayonnaise and diced onion. We were going for an oniony day.

We couldn't resist trying the Febo automats. A vending machine dispensing deep fried snacks and burgers? Yes please. We played it safe and went for a veggie cheese and mushroom croquette and it came out piping hot, crunchy on the outside and soft and yielding from the inside. It was filthily addictive.

After a cycle round the city screeching with terror - look, those trams are silent deathtraps - we turned up at the train station two hours late having misread the ticket. My friend and I realised at exactly the same point, and the sight of her horrified face remains etched deeply into my memory. Eurostar switched our seats with ease and thankfully we made it back to London on the last train back.

Eurostar go to Amsterdam from £99 return. It does take 5 hours though.


Kavey said...

Febo is also on our list for our trip, though don't know if we'll make it as the list has about 2 weeks worth of ideas on it for a short trip!

I'd also planned to visit Albert Cuypstraat, though hadn't specifically decided on Surinamese, just read that it's great for a range of cuisines, but nice to have your tip to add!

PDH said...

Good work! Febo really is essential on any trip to Amsterdam :^D

No Reservations said...

Nice post! Febo is one of my favourite things to eat in Amsterdam, the veal filling one is so addictive. It's probably a good thing they're not in London, otherwise I'd be the size of a house!

Su-Lin said...

Brilliant! We've been wanting to go to Amsterdam for a while and I didn't know about Surinamese food. It looks ace.

helen said...

My little horrified face! Glad to see my scarf hogging the limelight. It does that, what with it being so big n all. A hilarious weekend, some of it only afterwards...!

J@Feasttotheworld said... it wrong of me to immediately zoom on on the febo pics? They are amazing, wish we have something like that in my workplace.

Hollow Legs said...

Kavey - Just keep on eating!

Pavel - thanks! Now, bring Febo to london please.

No Res - I wasn't brave enough to try the meaty ones dammit, next time.

Su-Lin - thanks! Do give it a go.

Helen - Attention seeking scarf, that ;) lots of laughs. Almost cries.

J - Absolutely not, I would have done the same...

Shu Han said...

just read helen's post on amsterdam, and then i saw yours! haha eyeing that same shot of the chips.

Richard Elliot said...

I won't lie; this does make you honk of fishy onions

One of the best lines I've read on a blog. EVER.

Hollow Legs said...

Richard - I aim to please :)

Jules said...

Some of my strongest memories of going to Amsterdam a few years back revolve around the food, in particular Febo.Your blog has made me want to return again soon.

Kavey said...

Lizzie, I outdid myself, we ate more in 48 hours than I've usually managed on any weekend trip... in fact we didn't go anywhere that wasn't food or drink related, for the entire weekend.