Nothing can beat the company of fish cookies, papaya salad and sticky rice with mango. That’s why I love Thai food markets so much. Last year I fell in love with a food market in Chiang Mai, North Thailand: Talat Thanin. Tropical fruit in abundance, huge bowls with red, green and yellow curries, stir-fries with mussels and the funky stuff this market is famous for. Such as small pancakes – in Dutch: poffertjes – filled with squid and mayonnaise on top. The highlight of my visit to this market/Chiang Mai was my encounter with sai ua or Chiang Mai sausage. Minced pork meat, garlic, red chilli peppers, lemongrass, galangal (a kind of ginger). Three words: very well seasoned. This grilled sausage is the king of all Asian sausages. Two weeks ago I traced his royal highness at the Thai Food Café in Amsterdam, the relaxed, friendly and affordable enterprise of two Thai street food aficionados: Céderick and Steven. The sausage is less spicy than the original one, but is very, very tasty. It’s made according to the recipe they got from a Chiang Mai butcher. The appetizer is served with tomato chutney and tastes even better with Singha beer on the side.
Thai Food Café
Chiang Mai sausage, one portion, €4.00
Oranje Vrijstaatkade 66, East
+31 (0) 20 233 53 64
Opening hours: Monday-Thursday 11am-1am, Friday-Saturday 11am-3am, Sunday 11am-1am
‘We love cocos. Life is a coconut.’ If this pay-off doesn’t make you smile or at least grin, you need Prozac. These seven words are referring to gluten-free cocos balls: balls including white chocolate, versions with rum and raisins and balls of nothing but pure, slightly ‘wet’, mildly sweet coconut. I found these freshly baked macaroons on the shelves of my best-loved store in the hood: De Avondmarkt (The Evening Market). Formally a supermarket, but to me it’s the Museum of Modern Edible Art. This MOMEA boasts a fabulous selection of cheese – brie with truffles, manchego,tête de moine– vegetal ice of Professor Grunschabel, savoury crêpes made by French chef Jean-Daniel Redon (Manger Maintenant) and lots of booze, including South-African vonkelwijn and other sparkling wines. It’s an excellent place to spot food trends. Long before Lovechock got sort of mainstream, clients of De Avondmarkt were already raving about this raw chocolate of organic Ecuadorian cacao. I tried one of the last versions last week, the one with hemp seed. Highly addictive!
Gluten-free cocos balls, 4, €4.20
De Wittenkade 96, West (Westerpark)
+31 (0) 20 686 49 19
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 4pm-midnight, Saturday 3pm-midnight, Sunday 2pm-midnight
Thank god aunt Evie exists. She’s the one who introduced me to Aries Noodles. Dutch-Indonesian friends from Leiden and The Hague told her the place was excellent. She drove 40 km from her home in Alphen aan den Rijn to check if they were right. Now she’s raving about it. And so am I. This restaurant and takeaway is quite out of the city centre, in a rather grey area near the World Fashion Centre. But the moment you enter, the sun starts to rise. Clients chatting in bahasa Indonesia – enak, enak (tasty, tasty) – glasses of tjendol on the tables and Aries’ smile behind the corner. His claim to fame: the home-made noodles. He serves his bakmi fried or cooked. I prefere them pure and love the ingredients he adds to these cooked noodles: sweet pork and wonton, char siu (grilled pork), chicken and baso (balls of minced beef). I have an obsession for meatballs and these firm ones are very well seasoned. Together with the tender chicken, the noodles with a bite and the ‘sauce’ of refined chicken broth, the bakmi ayam baso is a real winner. Score it for lunch.
Aries Noodles Bakmi ayam baso, €9.00
Koning Wilhelminaplein 58, New West (Overtoomse Veld)
+31 (0) 20 669 98 10
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday noon-8pm, Sunday noon-6pm
If you want to devour this, be prepared to queue. I’m referring to the luxurious hot dog I noticed while checking-out De Foodhallen, a mega cool new food Mecca in West. It was impossible to miss it: the scent of grilled meat, people begging for the last one. The sausages of Bulls and Dogs are in demand and the luxurious one seems to be the most popular kiddo of the bunch. Truffle sauce, crushed hazelnuts and a 100% pork sausage with wild mushrooms. Who could ask for more? Like all other sausages of Bulls and Dogs, the pork sausage is made by the passionate and happy-go-lucky owners Thijs and Marijn. They always use local quality meat, in this case meat of free-range pigs. Every dog is laying in a bed of stewed cabbage on a firm and crusty pretzel. The menu of Bulls and Dogs is work in progress. Thijs and Marijn are constantly inventing new toppings and sausages to take home or to eat on the spot. Can’t wait till the honey-lavender sausage arrives. Would love to let that dog out.
Bulls and Dogs
Luxurious dog, one, €6.00
Bellamyplein 51, De Foodhallen (West)
Opening hours: Monday-Wednesday 11am-8pm, Thursday-Saturday 11am-9pm, Sunday 11am-6pm