Welcome to the pleasure dome! That is if you like all things smoked. Be it tofu, organic chicken, wild boar, mussels, wild Alaska Salmon or shrimps. The minute you enter Frank’s Smokehouse you are struck by the scent of smouldering hickory, a North American tree of the walnut family. This fragrance whirls from a room just behind the counter: the smokehouse where Frank – originally from Baltimore, raised in a Jewish family of delicatessen owners – creates almost all his high quality stuff. His big smoked shrimps with a bite are not to be missed if you serve fruity (citrus) white wine: a New Zealand Chardonnay or Frank’s house wine, a Viognier made by Domaine Gayda. These unsealed cooked beauties have been marinated in olive oil before they ‘went up in smoke’. They have a full and slightly salty taste. Once you get started, you’re hooked. Frank’s place comes highly recommended for lunch too. A king crab legg (200 grams) with toast and mayonnaise, a salmon cake with mango chutney, a fish soup with halibut, scallops and shrimps. It’s not your cheapest ticket to heaven, but hey, c’mon you’re worth it!
My uncle Herbert (81) would fit in a fairy tale. This mini man has bright blue-grey eyes, some hair and a high voice. He always has three euro’s in his pocket – just in case he meets someone who needs money. This Dutch-Indonesian man loves to explain in detail how I should prepare a goat, create telor asin (extremely salty duck eggs) or make sambal tomaat, a mix of sambal oelek – ‘home-made, of course’ – and cherry tomatoes. This fresh chilli based paste is made to match with the martabak of Toko Bandung, an Indonesian takeaway (est. 1962) on the outskirts of Amsterdam. Some say the martabak was born in Yemen, others say this stuffed pancake originated in Saudi-Arabia. Anyway, after Arabia this snack conquered India and Southeast Asia, including Malaysia and Indonesia. There are sweet and savoury martabaks. Right now I’m talking about a perfect savoury one: an ultra thin ‘crêpe’ made of eggs filled with minced beef, onion, leak, egg and curry powder. Toko Bandung also sells lovely sweet snacks (banana-coconut pudding) and one of the most challenging dishes I know: a salty, bitter and bloody spicy combination of papaya leaves and tiny fishes.
Toko Bandung Martabak, one, €1.35
Pieter Calandlaan 333-335, New West (Osdorp)
+31 (0) 20 619 91 03
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 9.30am-6.30pm, Saturday 9am-5pm