Van der Linde is an oasis in a hard-to-handle street. It may take some time to get in – there’s always a queue – but once you’re in you’ll forget about all the Amsterdam-Hash-It stuff outside. This confectionery shelters you from harm by feeding you with whipped cream that’s as soft as velvet. You’ll find it in the famous ice cream, truffles, cakes – the one with meringue comes highly recommended – and mergpijpen (literally: marrowbones). Van der Linde’s dirt cheap versions of these filled marzipan rolls are smaller than the ones other confectioneries sell. Eating these treats is like eating a box of chocolates: you can go on forever. It’s like: one extra, why not? Something this size can’t be too bad! There’s some marzipan and a little bit of chocolate. True, the marzipan is filled with whipped cream and whipped cream only, but that’s just a dairy product. Mmm, well, how fattening can dairy be? This whipped cream tastes light as a feather, all frothy, with a touch of vanilla. It is simply irresistible.
Banketbakkerij Van der Linde
Mergpijpen, one, €0.95
Nieuwendijk 183, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 624 82 13
Opening hours: Monday 1pm-5pm, Tuesday-Thursday 11am-5.45pm, Friday 9am-5.45pm, Saturday 9am-5pm, Sunday noon-5pm
Amsterdam has many Moroccan fish shops. Eager to discover the best of the bunch I asked a Moroccan cab driver to help me out. Without any hesitation he said: ‘Tresor de mer! If my family has something to celebrate, we go to that place. Tresor’s plates of calamari, prawns, sole and other seafood are famous. The fish soup is great too.’ The next day I visited the shop. The giant pieces of fish tortilla instantly caught my eye. The scent of fresh fried filled sardines made my stomach rumble – at 10 am, god, I’m a pig. Suddenly I spotted a black bowl filled with the legendary fish soup, the one made by the father of the house. And that his kids sell with pride. The soup is made from tomatoes, pepper, parsley, paprika and lots of salmon and cod. All these ingredients create a pure and rich taste. The slice of lemon that comes with it is a bonus. A dash of lemon juice adds some freshness to the soup; it softens the salty taste and makes the soup even more powerful. Take a portion home or eat it on the table behind the window.
Tresor de mer
Moroccan fish soup, one portion, €3.00
Postjesweg 81, West (De Baarsjes)
+31 (0) 20 489 01 50
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 9am-7pm
For most Amsterdam people going to Geuzenveld is like going abroad. Okay, it’s not exactly close to the action, but it’s not that far. Most certainly not considering the jackpot you’ll find at your destination: Toko Makassar, a takeaway established by the Chinese family Tjong in the beginning of the seventies. Take tram 13, enjoy the ride and get out at the last stop: Lambertus Zijlplein. Walk for 5 minutes and … attack. Get yourself some ‘brown sugar babes’ such as kue dadar, crêpes with a filling of grated coconut and gula djawa (brown palm sugar). Score a noodle dish for today’s diner and spicy mackerel for tomorrow’s lunch. Stock up on snacks: high quality, low prizes. Super special to me are the Dutch-Indonesian croquettes. They resemble the ones my Dutch-Indonesian father used to make. It took this former soldier quite some time to make these fried rolls of mashed potatoes with a minced meat-nutmeg-garlic-sellery filling. But they were definitely worth the wait. Makassar’s croquettes are worthwhile too: friendly spiced and made of a very smooth cream of fresh potatoes. Copy my father and eat them with the hottest chilli-based sauce you can handle.
Dutch-Indonesian croquettes, one, €1.20
Sam van Houtenstraat 35, New West (Geuzenveld)
+31 (0)20 613 06 34
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9am-6pm, Thursday 1pm-6pm, Saturday 9am-5pm
At Traiterie Chef I usually end up doubting whether I should buy the date tart or the chocolate one. It takes half an hour before I get to the point that I have reduced all my options to only two. There is just too much good stuff at this takeaway with a couple of tables. The Chef makes a great lemon meringue pie and a lovely red fruit soufflé. His red velvet cake is a real stunner. I was addicted to his mini banana pies. Ever since the Chef told me they might make a comeback, I look out for them. The ‘candy section’ is so overwhelming that I always forget to check out the savoury department. But I bet this is great too. Back to my dilemma: date or chocolate? The first tart is made of sweet and fleshy dates from Saudi Arabia. The coconut on top is ‘the icing on the cake’. The pure chocolate of the second pie is extremely intense and refined. ‘Valrhona chocolate? The chocolate I use is much better’, boasts the Chef. Today it is 0-1 for the chocolate tart but it was a close call, based on nothing rational. Guess I was in a chocolate kind of mood.
Chocolate tart, one piece, €2.50
Raamsteeg 5, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 671 55 00
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday 10am-6.30pm (October-May), Tuesday-Sunday 10am-6.30pm (May-October)