This trip to Den Haag, I had deliberately taken down some photos of my meals. As I’ve told you, I love popping into supermarkets and try to integrate myself with the locals – observe the food that they eat and, with bubbling excitement, dig out something interesting to try. It’s all about getting down to the heart and soul of a place and earning that brag-worthy brownie points, “Look, I’ve got something you can’t find in your travel book!”
First thing first, the Dutch-Indonesian fusion food. It was a forehead-smacking moment when I arrived in Netherlands and strolled past a string of Indonesian eateries. All that years of slow-reading History textbook just to get an A stamp onto the report card in school done in vain… How could I not remember that Indonesia was a treasured colony of the Dutch for hundreds of years??
Ingredients like sambal and ketjap (Malaysian call this “kicap”, which means soy sauce) are not foreign to this outspoken and sometimes brusque nation. Nasi, rendang, satay sauce…a slew of South-East Asian food that made me smile so wide my lips almost touched the corner of my eyes.
Photo from top to bottom: The dishes were cooked and kept warm in stainless steel trays. All of them go well with white rice and all you need to do is point at your choice like how you order in an ice-cream shop ; Packets of kroepoek (prawn crackers Malaysian call “keropok“) are great as snacks but in this case, appetisers. ; Paos and Kuihs, the South-East Asian bread and pastry made with rice flour; And lastly, my rendang chicken rice! I know that this lunch box looked somewhat off-putting but it was unmistakably good. Prepared and cooked by Indonesians living in the Netherlands, the flavours didn’t lie.
Second thing – the sleek-looking glass doors installed at the supermarket chill cabinets. The first time I saw this was in an upscale supermarket in Den Haag and I thought that was just part of its interior. But then I saw the same in Hema, in Albert Heijn.
Found lots of paprike-flavoured snacks that I couldn’t resist buying. Kronkels paprika was an entirely otherworldly crisp.
^ A liverwurst, which can be directly translated into “liver sausage”. A pate like Dutch sausage which is spreadable on bread. I chose the one with pork and didn’t enjoy the taste. It has a pungent porky-liver flavour (not sure if this description is legitimate but I am certain you understand). A small cut of liverwurst also contains high amount of fat so I don’t see this as a recommended part of everyday diet.
But these two! If you remember My Old Dutch pancake post, you’d remember speculoos, the peanut butter-like spread made from caramelised gingerbread cookie. The bottom ones are sprinkles call “hagelslag”, which means hailstorm. This is a regular in Dutch breakfast. It is sprinkled on buttered bread/toast and comes in different shapes, sizes and flavours.
Source of bottom two pictures: http://sweets.seriouseats.com/2011/12/eating-sprinkles-the-dutch-way-hagelslag-on-bread.html
My routine during the one week in Netherlands was go to the gym then grab some healthy quick lunch (and snacks and chocolate as treats) before I went off visiting the city. And my lunch, tea or dinner usually look like this – gouda cheese, slab of ham, hummous…nothing over the top or fancy:
The supermarket had very good selection of beers and tarts that I didn’t ignore. (Why sweat when I can’t indulge in food?!) But I felt a little disappointed that the Dutch generally don’t give much emphasis to their lunch. Sandwich is the popular choice and that’s about it. It was difficult finding a casual lunch spot in Den Haag so bread and gouda, strawberries and fresh orange juice were my best friends.
Dungelmann was a great fast food place to go when I wanted something different. I loved their veal meatballs and pasta wasn’t too bad!
The last great pleasure was my breakfast. I stayed at the NH Hotel in Den Haag and the cereal bar came with goji berries. Do you know any other hotels that do that? I haven’t until I stayed in NH and no prize for guessing I finished most of them in the jar. Oh goody, this with the chocolate sprinkle? Yes please, everyday.
Hope you enjoy a casual post like this. Happy Saturday! (And happy work day for me. Hooray.)
With love x