As a Dutch-Indonesian I take my chicken very seriously. I can talk for hours about tender thighs and the importance of eating chicken skin. I adore all parts of the chicken, but I am kind of addicted to the wings. The chicken wings that Arie van Buuren sells, to be precisely. You’ll find this poulterer close to meat boutique Louman and the Islamic butcher Vette Kalfje (Fat Calf). Meat rules in this street and Van Buuren is the undisputed King of Chicken. Anyone who dares to question his authority should try his chicken wings. Before he puts this wings in the grill, he let them soak in a marinade of soy sauce, sambal (a chili-based sauce) and pepper. Totally unique about this meat is the complete absence of bones. It must take Arie forever to get the meat as ‘clean’ as it is. But boy, oh boy, it sure pays off! The firm meat is as juicy as you want your chicken to be. The skin is deliciously crispy. No need to pimp up this bird! I eat the wings without any side-dish at all or with just one simple dish: slices of cucumber with a dressing of vinegar, pepper and sugar.
A. van Buuren
Chicken wings, one kilo, €17.50
Tweede Goudsbloemdwarsstraat 6, City Centre (Jordaan)
+31 (0) 20 624 75 48
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5pm, Wednesday 8am-1.30pm, Saturday 8am-4pm
Entering Casa Bocage brings back memories. The bottles of Guaraná remind me of drinks on terraces in Ipanema picturing a life as a hot Carioca. The croquetes de bacalhau make me want to enjoy these appetizers on the beach of Tavira again. The pastéis de nata remind me of a visit to a famous bakery in Belém, a suburb of Lissabon, 10 years ago. On that special day I got to know the holy grail of Portugese sweets: pastéis de Belém a.k.a. pastéis de nata. Picture this: a crispy, flaky crust of puff pastry. A soft, luscious and velvety egg yolk custard filling. Served warm with cinnamon and powdered sugar on top. Can life get any better? The custard tarts at Bocage are copy-pastes of the ones I had in Belém. These treats come from several bakeries in Portugal, all selected by the charming owner himself. To my surprise his addresses are not in Belém, the birthplace of this tarts, but ‘in the area across the river, you know?’ Eat your tarts on the spot with a cup of Delta Ruby coffee – preferably an espresso – or take them home. Note that a pastel de nata should be treated like an éclair (a long cream-filled French pastry): close your eyes before you take a bite.
Pastéis de nata, one, €1.75
Haarlemmerstraat 111A, City Centre (Haarlemmerbuurt)
+31 (0) 20 772 34 58
Opening hours: Monday 1pm-7pm, Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10am-6pm, Sunday noon-5pm
To my Dutch-Indonesian father a meal without rice and rawit wasn’t a proper meal. He used to eat a piece of these extremely spicy small peppers after each little bit of rice. By the time I was eight years old, I was able to eat rawit without crying out loud. By the time I was a teenager, I begged my mother for more of these red and green devils. So if I say something is suicidal spicy, it really is. The place to find something this spicy is Lalla Rookh. This restaurant and takeaway is a Mecca for lovers of Surinamese food. To me Lalla’s IT-dish is telo terie: fried pieces of cassava with a sauce of tomato, terie (small dried fishes), garlic and red or yellow peppers. Lalla’s version is mild for four seconds, but then ‘fire hits the fan’. Need help? Scream for rice, chill for three minutes and dare to try again. Notice how crispy the fishes are and how well they mingle with the powerful sauce. Sit back again and order Lalla’s famous dawet. Most Surinamese restaurants serve this coconut drink with ‘flakes’ of cornflour. Here you’ll find pieces of coconut meat instead. And that’s definitely a plus.
Telo terie, one portion, €3.50
Wijttenbachstraat 290, East (Dapperbuurt)
+31 (0) 20 776 40 48
Opening hours: Monday to Sunday noon-10pm