Saturday, 23 March 2013

Adventures in the Low Country, Part 1: FOOD

Dear Netherlands,
Why are you so flat?
Is it because of the tall
giants walking down your streets?

Or maybe, it's just me. Or the weed
I almost choked on. One bad, but
perfectly legal 100-things-to-try-
before-I-die crossed out, thanks to you!

I hied off for a three-day weekend holiday to Holland last friday. This was my first trip outside of Spain after I got my residence card so it felt extra special.

If you're looking for information about museums, Van Gogh or the Anne Frank House, sorry this post is of no help. I did not do most of the touristy stuff. I went to Holland to relax and have a laidback time with close friends. I figured I'll get to the museums and artsy-fartsy stuff on the next visit.

My NL adventures can be summed up in three parts:
1. Good Food
2. The White Widow Experience and Amsterdam
3. Juicy Stories from my GBF

Let's start with part 1, Food:

A refreshing welcome drink: Fresh Mint Tea with Cinnamon and Honey.

View from my friend Liz's house. A canal + pretty row houses = picturesque.

Breakfast made by Liz: Dutch pancakes and fruits

Our first stop for Day 1 was the Rotterdam Market at the City Center.

Offerings from the Rotterdam Weekend Market

A huge selection of spices. These are surprisingly cheap compared to the spices in Spain!

My spice stash from the Rotterdam Market: speculaas spice mix (yes, the spice mix for the famous speculoos biscuits. I plan to make a speculoos cake one of these days!), anise and vanilla pods.

A Poffertjes Stand

Poffertjes are like tiny pancake balls. Comfort food for the freezing weather. Chewy balls with a hint of spice (maybe cinnamon?), drizzled with butter, and a crazy amount of powdered sugar. Tasty, just don't think about the calories.

A Stroopwafel Stand

I am sure nobody goes to Holland without trying a hot off the grill Stroopwafel. Liz brought me a pack of these when she visited me in Spain but nothing, I mean nothing, beats a freshly made Stroopwafel. It is considerably less sweet than the commercial type and the textural play of crisp yet pliable wafel with the subtly sweet syrup in the middle is wonderful.

After hours of walking in freezing cold, nothing soothes like a bowl of warm Split Pea Soup (Erwtensoep). We dropped by Hema, which is like Holland's version of Ikea, to have coffee but I could not resist the soup counter.

It looks a weird kind of green guck but trust me, Split Pea + chunks of rotswurst (dutch sausage)+chunks of vegetables and warm crusty bread, this is comfort food that's good for you.

By noon, we took the train to Delft to visit another weekend market. Delft is a historic town between Rotterdam and The Hague. If you're into the arts, this is where Johanne Vermeer was born.

Cheese from Henri Willig's Cheese Shop in Delft. The pesto cheese is scrumptious! I've munched on half of my cheese round less than a week after I got back from the Netherlands!

It began to drizzle while we were in Delft so off we went to another cafe. I, always on the lookout for new food items to try, ordered bitterballen and a cup of fresh mint tea.

(Picture of bitterballen above is not mine, it's from Sorry, my phone died out when we got to Delft. I just want readers to see what a bitterballen looks like)
Bitterballen are fried balls of deliciousness. They are, in most respects, similar to croquettes, except the insides are made of a thick buttery gravy and meat instead of potato. I like fried food, and I like mustard which is the dip of choice for bitterballen, so I enjoyed every cholesterol laden bite of my bitterballens.

Day 2 was a day spent in Amsterdam where I met up with my college GBF who is based in another city in Holland. Because we met up way past noon, the first order of the day was lunch!

Eat-all -you-can ribs at an Argentinian inspired restaurant. Costs about 25€ per person including drinks and bread. The picture above was the first serving, which I could not even finish. It was tasty but too big a meal for me.

Amsterdam is somewhat touristy, and yes, a visit to the famed red light district and the shops is a must just so one can see what the fuss is all about, but the juicy details will be for part III of my NL entry.

Dinner was traditional dutch food from Hotel Old Quarter, Amsterdam. Menu for the Hotel Restaurant is here:

I ordered Zuurkool which is sauerkraut, mashed potato, gravy and the delicious dutch sausage, rotswurst. Hearty. I like sauerkraut and have longed for it years after I have first tried it courtesy of my father, so I enjoyed this meal immensely.
Picture of Zuurkool not mine but from Sorry, ate the stuff before I even remembered I needed to take a pic for my blog.

And then there are the Speculoos goodies which I hauled off to Spain for clients.

Image above was the first batch I bought. Truth to be told, my baggage back to Spain was 95% Speculoos goodies!

Surprisingly, there's Chocolate Speculoos in Holland. I haven't opened my bottle though. Maybe in a few weeks it'll be my reward after losing some of the weight I gained from my trips haha!

So did I enjoy The Netherlands? Definitely! The food alone was great. I am a sucker for snack foods so I truly love their food culture. It helped a lot that I had the most patient host who knew exactly what would appeal to me: Food first before the schmaltzy stuff. :)


  1. I can't wait for part III!!! Hahaha!

  2. Liz! Ako rin! Di ko pa sinusulat! Ninamamnam ko pa ang mga kwento ni GBF haha! Thanks so much for hosting me ah~ Choz!


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