This Is Not a Fake Bun

Some weeks ago I was in Paris and had lunch at the boutique of restaurant yam T’cha run by Michelin-starred chef Adeline Grattard. Both the restaurant and the boutique are known for serving irresistibly light balls of goodness: steamed buns with amazing fillings, such as stilton and amarena cherries, smoked tofu and king prawns and chives. Back home I kept on raving about these amazing soft buns until my Dutch-Indonesian mother told me to shut-up. ‘The French have ruined our recipe. Our bapao should be filled with minced pork.’ The funny thing is that she/Dutch-Indonesians did not invent these buns. They stole it from the Chinese and changed it. Next time I will bring her the real deal, a char siu bao, bought at Toko Het Oosten. This shop sells dumplings, filled lotus leaves, pig’s ears, chicken feet and bao’s. The bao with barbecued pork will make her complain about the kind of pork used. I will make her stop talking this time. ‘Dear mum, this bao is the original. You’re just a copy cat.’

Toko Het Oosten
Char siu bao, one piece, €1.10
Zeedijk 147, City Centre (Chinatown)
+31 (0) 20 421 70 18
Opening hours: Monday-Saturday 10am-6pm

Smashing Potatoes

favoFor 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.

Toko Makassar
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