Dutch Chocolate

The Dutch are famous for their chocolate, but are often overshadowed by their Belgian neighbors. The Spanish discovered this ancient Aztec & Mayan treat in the 16th century. But the Dutch figured a way to make a milder tasting powder, with a lower fat content, that disolves in water and could be used to make solid chocolate. This Dutch processed cocoa is what we use today for hot chocolate, a delicious treat available in almost every Dutch cafe, restaurant or coffeeshop.

Tip!Don’t miss an opportunity to try Dutch Cocoa, “met slagroom” – with whipped cream!

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Pig Out in Amsterdam!

Indonesian Ricetafel

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So you’ve got the munchies and need to find relief. Luckily, you’re in Amsterdam where a whole world of tempting delights await to satisfy your hunger for something different.

If you’re looking to eat out, your quest should start with our story about Amsterdam’s Restaurant Scene. It’ll give you an overview of the types of food available. If you’re wondering where to find restaurants, our ever expanding Restaurant Reviewswill point you in the right… Continue reading

Where to Find Restaurants in Amsterdam

The largest concentration of restaurants in Amsterdam is around the Leidseplein. In the summer, almost all have outdoor seating. This is most enjoyable since you get to people watch, musicians come around to serenade you, and you can more easily avoid smokers (often a problem as few Dutch restaurants have non-smoking sections). Here there are streets leading away from the square with one restaurant after another. The competition is intense, and after you’ve spent ten minutes trying to decide which one to eat at, they all start looking the same. It’s a good idea to decide what type of food you want which will make choosing somewhat easier. You might want to decide based upon ambiance, but if you’re eating outdoors, they’re all equal.

The Leidseplein area has a number of well known restaurants including ‘t Swarte Schaep (The Black Sheep) with great food in a cozy 300 year old building (expensive). We found several very good, reliable Italian restaurants in the area, and some not so good Indian restaurants. The best clue as to how good the food is, is how long the line is!

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Amsterdam’s Restaurant Scene

Dining in Amsterdam can range from fast food to world class cuisine. Dutch food tends to be very hardy but heavy and unimaginitive, relying upon meats, fish, foul and starches for main courses. Ethnic cuisine is much more varied, and centuries of immigrants have added their flavors to the available palate. Foremost among these is Indonesian Food, with the rice table a most elegant affair (photo).

There are countless Indonesian restaurants in town serving up Gado Gado, satay, spicy sambals, crispy krupek, nasi goreng, etc. This is a real treat since only Indonesia has more authentic restaurants. You’ll find lots of Chinese restaurants in town, but be wary. If you’re used to real Chinese food or even Americanized Chinese, you might be disappointed because this is Chinese food, Indonesian style. Many people of Chinese decent have emigrated from Indonesia to Holland bringing their style of cooking. Fortunately there are a few real Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam. These are clustered in the Red Light District in Amsterdam’s Chinatown. You can spot these restaurants since they have cooked ducks hanging in the windows. Our favorite Chinese/Indonesian restaurant is the Oriental City (see photo), a two story restaurant with good views on the Oudezijdsvoorburgwal.

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Fast Food

Just like the old Horn and Hardart automats in New York, at the Febo, food is placed in little self-serve compartments. Good for fresh patat frites (french fries), but you’re taking your chances with anything else. Another popular fast food chain in Amsterdam is New York City Pizza. With a variety of toppings they’re OK for a fast snack, but be wary in off hours, sometimes the pizza can sit around for hours, and they have to reheat it which hardly adds to the flavor.

If you have the time, it’s far better to get a really good pizza at… Continue reading

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