Rice, Spice and Everything Nice

LemperWhen you see a lemper it’s rarely love at first sight. This white and sticky Indonesian ‘creature’ is as sexy as a man wearing white suede loafers. But after you’ve passed the rather dull façade of rice and get to savour the stuffing, you’ll fall madly in love. The filling consists of fish or meat – typically shredded chicken or minced beef – and a subtle mix of coconut milk and spices. Think crushed kemiri (candlenut), ketoembar (ground coriander) and djinten (ground cumin seeds). The lemper of Toko Ramee is by far the best in town. The rice of this lemper is steamed to perfection. The tasty chicken filling is slightly sweet. To fully enjoy the taste of a good lemper, I suggest you to eat it warm, but not too warm. ‘Lukewarm-plus’, I would say. The Dutch-Indonesian actor Willem Nijholt is a huge fan of Ramee’s lemper. This fifty-something old shop is also a household name amongst other members of the Dutch-Indonesian community and other rice foodies in the know, such as the kind of world-famous Dutch actor Jeroen Krabbé. Whenever he feels like making a rijsttafel, an explosion of small Indonesian dishes, he buys his ingredients at Ramee.

Toko Ramee
Lemper, one, €1.80
Ferdinand Bolstraat 74, South (De Pijp)
+31 (0) 20 662 20 25
Opening hours: Tuesday to Friday 10am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm

Ice, Ice Baby

Coconnut ice creamDoardi Gelato has plenty of tempting flavours to choose from: grandma’s cake, pistachio, white chocolate. But the moment I walk into this ice-cream parlour I get a tunnel vision. My eyes are set on that one precious flavour: coconut, a tropical dream full of flavour with a touch of sugar and lots of tiny fresh coconut flakes. The father of cute coco is Arnel, a 36 year old Filipino. About twelve years ago he made his first ice cream in the ice-cream parlour of his brother-in-law. He liked it so much that he decided to study at the IJscentrum in Wageningen, the Dutch birthplace of traditionally trained ice-cream professionals. Regular visits to ice-cream producers in Italy were part of his curriculum. In the back of his own shop near the lively Westerpark, he applies the (Italian) tricks he has learned to his own recipes. His ice cream is made of low-fat and whole milk and some whipped cream. Arnel prides himself on always using the best natural ingredients. ‘I won’t settle for less. The ice cream I sell, is the kind I want to eat myself.’ It ‘s obvious that he likes what he’s doing. ‘I am always surrounded by happy people. Ice cream is all about taste, emotion and fun.’

Doardi Gelato
Coconut ice cream, one scoop, €1.-
Van Limburg Stirumstraat 15, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 486 10 10
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday noon-9pm (ice-cream parlour is closed during the winter)