A friend and I spent last weekend in Amsterdam. Quite a lot of things went wrong. We arrived to find a rather inappropriate transparent shower cubicle in our shared room, I got sick, we crashed our hired bicycles in the middle of a major junction causing chaos and we missed both our trains home. Through sheer grit and determination however, we did manage to fit in some good grub.
After 5 hours of train and tram travel, we were starving and headed straight to Albina in Albert Cuypstraat for some Surinamese food, a cuisine I’d never even heard of until we started looking into places to eat in the dam. The South American Republic of Suriname was a former colony of The Netherlands and so there are a lot of Dutch Surinamese living (and cooking) in Amsterdam. Completely coincidentally, a reader e-mailed me about Surinamese food almost as soon as we arrived back in London (weird), so I know that our first dish of fried potatoes topped with a kind of fish floss is usually made with cassava. Maybe it even was cassava. She also told me that the floss on top is called teloh, made with cod. Like kids in a sweetshop we excitedly doused it with the various condiments on the table, our favourite being a kind of sweetened soy concoction.
Moksi meti (above) was a dish of roasted chicken, pork, sausage and green beans in a sweet sauce; it was lovely but no match for the flakiest of rotis which came atop a mild chicken curry (below). Underneath the roti nestled boiled potatoes, which had spent their time soaking up all the precious sauce and were to be squished, savoured, treasured and fought over. Despite being full to bursting we managed to pack away most of this. The boiled egg however, was a bridge too far.
The next day we managed to pack in a bit of sandwich action despite my sickness, in the form of herring rolls from a stall called Frens Heringshandel. Two glistening fillets of rich herring were beautifully soft, contrasted by crunchy nuggets of diced onion and sweet/sharp pickles. I would have liked twice as many pickles but then, I always do. An excellent sammich. I warn you though, it makes you stink of fish and onions. This wasn’t a problem for me and my mate; we’d been sharing a bed and a room with a see through shower compartment and a toilet in the middle. Fishy onion breath was nothing.
On the subject of street eats, I’d definitely recommend also grabbing a cone of chips at the awesomely named Vleminckx Sausmeesters on Voetboogstraat. The chips seemed triple fried to me as the exterior was thick and crunchy. Topped with a sweetened mayo and diced onion they were excellent. The service was very fast, which is just as well as the queue was constant; a steady stream of tourists and locals, with more than the odd incredibly stoned person after a cure for the munchies.
On the other end of the street food scale, there’s the Febo automats. That’s deep fried stuff, plus burgers and sausages, from a vending machine. I kid you not. The poor burgers looked incredibly sad and the shrivelled sausages were a sorry sight but we chose a deep fried sausage shaped thing which was labelled ‘vegetarian’. It turned out to be filled with a very salty cheesy mushroomy gloop which was actually rather addictive, and I wasn’t even drunk. Worth a try if you’re game for a laugh.
So there’s a few pointers for you, in case you find yourself in the dam with an appetite. Ahem. We also visited a fancier restaurant which my friend assures me was lovely; I wouldn’t know because it was then I got sick and so ended up sitting there watching her eat it alone. Woe! Still, I pushed on through in the name of research, even grabbing a second herring sandwich for the train home. The one we were a spectacular two hours late for.
Eurostar return to Amsterdam from £99. It takes 5 hours but for someone like me who has a fear of flying, it’s an appealing option.
Albert Cuypstraat 69, 1072 CN Amsterdam
Singel Hoek Koningsplein, 1017 AW Amsterdam
Voetboogstraat 31, Amsterdam