One of the best ways to discover a country is through its cuisine. I managed to book a last minute spot on the very popular Jordaan Food Tour, one of the offerings by the tour company, Eating Amsterdam. Amsterdam's Jordaan neighborhood is a diverse, working-class community and slightly off-the-beaten-path. As a tourist, I wouldn't have likely found myself in Jordaan, if not for Eating Amsterdam.
Our four-hour walking tour began at 11am, outside of the Cafe Papeneiland, where we would return later in the tour. Eating Amsterdam keeps the tours small and personal. Besides myself, we had a couple from Washington State and a family of three from India. The group from India were real foodies, having taken the "Eating" tours in other cities. Our guide, Jelte, was a college student and Amsterdam local.
The first stop was the Cafe de Prins for poffertjes.
Poffertjes are similar to dollar pancakes, except denser and spongier. They are served with a maple syrup. I'm not a huge fan of pancakes, but I enjoyed these. Also, I started the tour very hungry. This hunger didn't last. Cafe de Prins was the first of eight stops, and my "sample" was this entire plate. Everyone got a full plate. My stomach was nearly defeated with the first sample.
Our second stop was Butcher Louman. Butcher Louman opened in 1890 and it's still run by the original family. Local butchers seem to be a thing of the past in Los Angeles, but this reminded me of Tip-Top Meats, a long-gone neighborhood butcher in Glendale, that we used to shop at when I was a child.
At Butcher Louman, we were each given an aluminum tray with two different types of sausage and a package of mustard. Delicious.
Cheese and Amsterdam are a natural pair, so we knew that cheese would be included on the tour. For our cheese course, we visited the most adorable shop called JWO Lekkernijen.
We were presented with a cheese platter to share that included three different cheese samples. All were excellent ( I mean it's cheese, right?), however, the group seemed to favor the softest, youngest cheese. We had all become wise to the portion vs stomach space, and none of us took more than a little sample.
The Jordaan Food Tour included more than food. Jelte pointed out architectural and historical sites along the walk. We also learned that the island nation of Suriname was a former Dutch colony, and many Surinamese people live in Amsterdam. Living in Los Angeles, I think that I'm lucky to live in such a diverse community, where we seem to have every type of cuisine in the world. This said, I think that this may have been my first time trying Surinamese food.
Swieti Sranang is where we stopped for several treats, all completely unfamiliar to me.
Unfortunately, I've lost my trip notes and the internet has not been helpful for identifying these dishes, so I'm going off of memory. Luckily, taste and smell are senses that make a lasting impression.
This first sample was a type of bread, reminding me a little of cornbread.
The sandwich was the winner, just thinking about it makes me crave it. I looked to see if I could find Surinamese sandwiches in Los Angeles, but no luck. I believe that it was a pork sandwich, but what made it memorable was the sauce, a mix of sweet with a spicy-hot kick. I've never tasted anything quite like it.
For dessert, we ate fried plantains, in a sweet and gooey peanut sauce.
At this point, we were only half way done and my stomach was bursting...Stay tuned for more sightseeing via tastebuds in part two of my Eating Amsterdam's Jordaan Food Tour report.