Say Cheese

fotofavo-28One of the bestsellers of Patisserie Kuyt is the prizewinning apple pie. Another hit is the sausage roll: puff pastry filled with gently spiced minced veal. But there is so much more in store. If you like chocolate, you’re spoilt for choice. Same same if you want your desserts and pies to be sweet, creamy and drop-dead gorgeous. Love the rice pudding and the cheesecake. With so many competitors around, it’s easy to ignore the not-so-extremely-pretty ones. Have mercy on them! I invite you to try some salty stuff: the kaasvlinders (palmiers of cheese) with nutmeg and ras el hanout, a mix of cinnamon, cloves, pepper and cumin. Take your time to properly taste the palmiers. In the beginning it’s mature cheese all-over. But wait, focus and you’ll discover something more discrete: a touch of sweet, a whiff of pepper. These  guess-what-is-in-it cookies are made to serve with an aperitif. Together with the macadamia mix of Jan Gotjé, King of the Nuts, and potato chips with sea salt of the HEMA.

Patisserie Kuyt
Palmiers of cheese with nutmeg and ras el hanout, 100 gr, €4.45
Utrechtsestraat 109-111, City Centre
+31 (0)20 623 48 33
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5.30pm, Saturday 8am-5pm


Stuff Thai People Like

OOKAANOn the island of Koh Chang I met a couple who had come to Thailand to sell bratwurst, German pork sausages. They had a motorbike that doubled as a means of transportation and a mobile shop. ‘How ‘bout your target group’, I asked them. ‘We will sell to tourists, but we will also conquer the Thai market. Mind you, there are no other bratwurst sellers in Thailand.’ Guess why, I thought, but I didn’t say that. I didn’t want to be a party pooper. To be honest I thought their business proposition was crap. Why Thailand? Maybe some tourists long for a bratwurst, but locals? It’s not that they despise Western food, but they are just very much in love with their own food. Obvious to see why: it contains lots of superb items. A bratwurst has to compete with local sausages such as sai ua, pork sausages seasoned with finely chopped herbs and galangal (a root with a citrus scent). It also has to compete with snacks like tod man pla, fried fish cakes including four flavours: sweet (palm sugar), sour (lime leaves), salty (fish sauce) and spicy (curry paste). Try one and it’s bye bye bratwurst. Friendly restaurant and takeaway Kratiam Thai in Amsterdam serves similar cakes: perfectly balanced flavours, a firm texture. Eat one, remember the German business proposition and render a verdict.

Kratiam Thai
Tod man pla, one portion (3), €5.50
Bos en Lommerweg 199, West (Bos en Lommer)
+31 (0)20 750 81 13
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 3pm-10pm


Sultan of Sweets

FAVOFor the best baklava in town you definitely have to go to Seyidoglu. Eat one of the square pieces and you’ll become fatally addicted to the combination of phyllo dough, a delicious syrup of honey and sugar and chopped pieces of pistachios. These nuts are from Antep, the centre of pistachio cultivation in Turkey. Antep nuts are famous for their refined taste and delightful fragrance. But there’s more that adds to the beauty of this baklava. Seyidoglu’s baklava is not as sweet as other baklava. According to one of the owners his baklava has at least 40 layers of dough – ‘more than standard baklava’. These layers are extremely thin. ‘Put a newspaper underneath one and you’ll still be able to read it.’ In Turkey Seyidoglu is a success story. This firm started making baklava in 1952 and has now about 50 branches all over Turkey, 17 sale points worldwide and 4 tons of daily production capacity. The patisserie in Amsterdam was the first store in Europe and is the first in The Netherlands. Besides the wonderful baklava the collection of Turkish delights contains good items too. Bet your kids will like the ones with pistachio and pomegranate.

Baklava with pistachio, 1 kilo, €16.50
Bos en Lommerweg 285, West (Bos en Lommer)
+31 (0)20 688 22 33
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 7am-11pm, Saturday 8am-11pm, Sunday 9am-11pm


Power Pom

fAVO-29I know these two great Amsterdam kids: Pander (13) and Morris (15). Funky Pander is into fashion and likes to shop. Her favourites: Urban Outfitters in Amsterdam, Kiliwatch in Paris. Cool Morris is more into food and knows exactly where to eat. French fries: Doardi, Van Limburg Stirumstraat 15. Ice cream: Van der Linde, Nieuwendijk 183. When Morris wants roti he goes to Ram’s Roti, but only after he has placed his order by telephone. ‘I don’t want to queue for my food.’ His beloved Surinam takeaway with some tables is a huge name within the Surinam community. And right so. The chicken with bone that comes with flat round bread is incredibly succulent. The roti with lamb is good too. Want something small? Try the bread roll with pom! This extremely rich and creamy ‘sauce’ of tomatoes, chicken and grated roots of the tayer plant is a champion in its own right. But do ask for peper en zuur, especially if you’re as dynamic as a snail today. The spicy paste of Madame Jeanette peppers (‘peper’) and the mix of red onion, cucumber and acid (‘zuur’) will turn your pom into a power pom. Instant energy assured.

Ram’s Roti
Bread roll with pom, one, €3.50
Jan van Galenstraat 107 F, West (De Baarsjes)
+31 (0)20 683 14 99
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 1pm-10pm


From Peking with Love

favoYears ago my aunt from Java came to visit us. We went to a park to feed the ducks. I gave them pieces of bread and watched them eating. Suddenly my aunt looked at me and said: ‘What do you think? Can we take some ducks home, put them on the grill and sell them?’ I was amazed. I was seven years old. I had never thought of these cuties as being potential food, let alone a source of income. 25 years later I planned a trip to Bali. My Dutch-Indonesian mother gave me a tip: ‘Don’t forget to take pictures of the ducks in the rice fields. They are delicious.’ Her brother (80) lived in Amsterdam about six decades ago. He still remembers the Peking duck he used to eat in Chinatown. Before I visit him I always go to restaurant and takeaway New King and buy him half a duck with plain rice. Given my genes, It may not come as a surprise that I like this duck too. But I prefer another duck dish, the one with two sweetened buns. They come with spring onion, a mildly spiced, syrupy sauce (hoisin) and fresh Peking duck cuts including the crispy skin. The perfect lunch buns.

New King
Peking duck with two buns, one portion, €5.25
Zeedijk 115-117, City Centre (Chinatown)
+31 (0) 20 625 21 80
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 11am-10.30pm