Orontes offers the best meze deal in town. At less than 35 euro the selection of five cold and three hot appetizers is a real bargain. It’s enough to feed two greedy giants and deliciously enough to satisfy the pickiest person on earth. The menu of this lively place – reservations recommended – originates from the southern part of Turkey (Hatay, Antakya). Pomegranate sauce, chickpeas and other ingredients of this region are imported by the Kuridish owner to create authentic tastes. Charcoal grilled fish and meat is an important feature of this cuisine. The cook of Orontes sure knows how to grill. Those grilled chicken cutlets … soooo finger-licking good. MMM. Okay, I will focus and get back to the meze. Some highlights: baba ganoush, a dip of charcoal grilled aubergine, mint and pomegranate sauce, fried cheese-thyme rolls and oruk. Yes, oruk! Baked oval balls of crushed gierst (millet) filled with spiced minced beef. A rather coarse texture, crispy crust and refined taste. A highly addictive bite, no?
Oruk, one portion, €5.50
Hugo de Grootplein 8, West. Other branch: Albert Cuypstraat 40-43, South (De Pijp)
+31 (0) 20 684 77 58
Opening hours: Tuesday-Sunday as of 5.30pm
Have you ever tried to find real Balinese food in Amsterdam? Bebek Bali (Balinese duck) for example. Or a juicy organic chicken ‘bathing’ in Balinese spices. Tricky, no? Well, let me introduce you to Dian Eka Suryani. This lady from Denpasar, Bali, will make your day with her looks – sparkling eyes, colourful sarong – and her exotic food. Her mother, grandma, aunts and the renowned chef Lonny Gerungan taught her how to cook and she picked it up perfectly. I met her on the groovy NeightbourFood Market in the Westerpark and fell for her jaja laklak and jaja pisang rai. She serves these delightful combination of mini coconut pancakes and coconut-banana bites with a brown sugar syrup. To get your own portion of candy, you have to track her down on an Amsterdam food market or book her catering company Enak Sekali. Dian and her Dutch partner dream of a place where they can organize workshops and dinners. Why don’t you have a look at their crowd funding proposition?
Jaja laklak and jaja pisang rai, one portion, €5.00
Food markets in Amsterdam (check FB)
+31 (0) 6 53 60 80 09
Time flies when you’re at the Hugo de Grootplein, especially when the sun is shining. Excellent terraces in abundance. Take it easy at Razmataz or Hugo’s and don’t you dare to rush to the Albert Heijn to collect stuff for tonight’s dinner. Just buy your meal at Kemang, the latest kid on the square. Kemang is the name of a district in Jakarta. It refers to the city where the family of one of the owners was born. The other owner, Khalid, is of Moroccan descent. The result of this multicultural fusion is an inviting takeaway where Khalid serves good food made by his wife’s Indonesian aunt. The smoor, a sweet beef stew, matches wonderfully with the stir-fried pak choi. In the mood for stir-fried greens (kousenband) with tofu and tempeh? Merge it with ajam pedis! Kemang’s spicy chicken thighs are genuinely spicy to some, but ‘friendly spicy’ to me – a Dutch Indonesian. Besides that it’s ultra fresh due to the djeroek poeroet, lemon leaves. Exotic food at a reasonable price served with a huge smile.
Kemang (website/FB under construction)
Ajam pedis, 100 g, €2.10
Hugo de Grootplein 2/A, West
Opening hours: Monday-Sunday 4pm-9pm
Mavis Hofwijk, a former swim instructor, is a local hero. She started Surinaams Buffet Catering in 1985. Now she’s known as the Culi Queen of Amsterdam South-East. Together with her daughter, her nephew and some other employees she made Amsterdam fell in love with authentic food of her country of birth. The Surinamese kitchen is a melting pot of several cuisines: Creole, Javanese, Chinese and Indian. In her cookbook Mavis Kookt she unveils lots of her recipes. For ready to eat food you have to place a catering order or visit one of the markets (Pure Markten) in Beatrixpark, Amstelpark or Park Frankendael. One of my favourites out of her kitchen – once a garage – is her kippasteitje, a pretty mini pie filled with stewed chicken, green peas, tomato and silver onions. Many people use puff pastry to make this pie, but not Mavis: she uses ‘real dough’ – not too thick, not too thin. Combine this tasty kippasteitje with a roti roll, a ball of salted cod and a croquette of tajer leaves and smoked chicken sausage. The tastes of Suriname on a plate.
Surinaams Buffet Catering
Kippasteitje, one, €1.25
Bullewijk 21, South-East, Pure Markten (check FB)
+31 (0) 20 609 09 66