There’s Something About Stroopwafels

If you need to feed your inner cookie monster you should go to Cookie Alley. Walk to the Heisteeg and grab some chocolate cookies deluxe at Van Stapele Koekmakerij, walk towards the canal and stop at Lanskroon around the corner. The name of this splendid family owned bakery, ice-cream parlour and tearoom is a synonym for the most luxurious stroopwafels in town. Stroopwafels consist of two thin waffle-like wafers with a sticky stroop, a molasses-y syrup, spread in the middle. The cookies of Lanskroon have thicker and crunchier wafers than other varieties in town. They come in a coffee-caramel version and – my favourite – in one with lime blossom honey. These delicious cookies are made fresh throughout the day, according to a century old family recipe. Have a cup of coffee or tea, rest the stroopwafel atop the cup for about five minutes and attack! The stroopwafel is the star of this cosy, friendly and homey little spot, but pay attention to the other goodies too, such as the old skool Dutch cookies (koggetjes, weespermoppen) and a highly addictive Sacher pie.

Stroopwafel with lime blossom honey, one, €2.35
Singel 385, City Centre
+31 (0) 20 623 77 43
Opening hours: Monday-Friday 8am-5.30pm, Saturday 9am-5.30pm, Sunday 10am-5.30pm

Cut the Crêpe

Bayu Barnies is the owner of restaurant, takeaway and gallery Bayu, Javanese for paradise wind. He is friendly and ultra sweet, but don’t be fooled by his gentle looks. This man has an adventurous nature. He’s not afraid to add an unusual twist to the usual suspects of the Indonesian cuisine. I bet you have never eaten a fried banana with aged Beemster cheese! You think you know rendang? Bayu has savoury pies with this spicy beef stew on display. His bestseller is lemper, a sticky rice roll with a filling of chicken in an atypical spicy coconut sauce. My favourite snack is not the wildest one, but it sure is a good one: a crêpe filled with a mildly spiced ragout of chicken – even better with the ginger sambal of Toko RameeRisolles like this, filled with chicken or beef, are obligatory at gatherings of my Dutch-Indonesian family, just as rose lemonade mixed with coconut milk a.k.a. stroop soesoe. Bring secretively a crêpe with you when you go to The Movies next to newcomer Bayu. Or have dinner there: spicy chicken, white rice and atjar, vegetables in vinegar.

Chicken risolles, one, €2.50
Haarlemmerdijk 135, City Centre (Haarlemmerbuurt)
+31 (0) 6 54 92 42 41
Opening hours: Tuesday-Saturday noon-8pm, Sunday 2pm-8pm

Pulpo Galore

The beauty – Cíes Islands! – and scent of Gallicia are unforgettable. Everywhere you go, you ‘bathe’ in the fragrance of pulpo (octopus). Traditionally it’s prepared in a simple way: cooked, sprinkled with salt and paprika and drizzled with olive oil. Pure food that excels in its simplicity. Just like the octopus salad I had at newcomer Tijger & De Vis. Juicy octopus, a fresh mix of peppers, onions and potatoes with a bite. If that doesn’t make you shout olé, you are a crybaby. This salad and the other good stuff – fried fish, soups, Thai fish cookies – are made by cook and food consultant Erik Huibers, who was trained in restaurants based in Holland, New York and Koh Samui. I totally recommend his no-nonsense crab burger too: huge chunks of crab, a bit of mayonnaise. From behind the counter friendly Remy advised me to try the fish sticks. ‘Much better than the ones of Iglo.’ I bet they are. The fish comes straight from the fish auction and Erik obviously knows how to handle fish. Next time I’m at this cool fish store/lunch spot I’ll make these sticks mine.

Tijger & De Vis
Octopus salad, 100 g, €2.60
Lindengracht 158, City Centre (Jordaan)
+31 (0) 20 331 13 71
Opening hours: Tuesday-Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 10 am-6pm, Sunday 11am-5pm

Pretty With Pink

Now we’re talking raspberries! This pie has a thick coating of sweet-sour raspberry jam sprinkled with grated coconut. Underneath you’ll find a paste of pure coconut and a bottom of chocolate tart. No wonder, this is the bestseller of Raspberry Maxx, an organic raspberry nursery that can do miracles with raspberries. Raspberries are grown from June till October, but a passionate team makes pink creations the whole year around. Raspberry dressings, raspberry mustard, raspberry granola, raspberry cheesecake. Just name it! You can buy these products in the store in Meijel (a village between Eindhoven and Venlo), online or on food markets all over The Netherlands. Every Saturday Raspberry Maxx has a stall on the organic farmers market at the Nieuwmarkt, in the middle of The Red Light District and Chinatown. A small but lively market selling cheeses, mushrooms, bread and flowers. Have a stroll and start your weekend peacefully.

Raspberry Maxx
Raspberry-coconut pie, one piece, €3.00
Organic farmers market at the Nieuwmarkt (City Centre), Saturday from 9am to 4pm. Same day in Amsterdam: Noordermarkt, Zuidermarkt (other markets: check website)
+31 (0) 6 43 03 70 88