Tag Archives: netherlands

BBITES Mini-Post #11 x Rijsttafel

1Greetings from the Netherlands!

For today’s mini-post, I want to share a special Dutch tradition with you. A Dutch-Indonesian tradition, to be more precise: rijsttafel.

Rijsttafel is pronounced, “rice tafel” and means “rice table” in English. It’s a type of dinner presentation that developed in Indonesia during the time of the Dutch colony. A rijsttafel meal consists of lots of small dishes served in a buffet style, which you choose from to go with a plate of rice.

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After World War II, when Indonesia proclaimed its independence, many Dutch, Indonesian and mixed Dutch-Indonesian families “returned” to Holland and brought the style with them.

As a result, many Dutch people from my father’s generation onwards developed a taste for this incredibly tasty, spicy and delicious type of cuisine. There are many restaurants in Holland serving rijsttafel, and to celebrate mine and my father’s visit, our friends got takeaway from one of the Hague’s very best – and oldest – rijsttafel restaurants: Toko Toet.

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Hope you enjoyed the pics, thanks for reading!

Bakker x

Sig bbites

For the Love of Mayo!

1Happy (belated) New Year! To kick off 2015 is a post I’ve wanted to write for a long time: a short and sweet write-up on my favourite condiment of all time: MAYONNAISE! As a half-Dutch girl, loving mayo is pretty much part of my heritage. The Dutch LOVE the stuff and are famous for french fries with mayo, as immortalised in this great Pulp Fiction scene: To order french fries with mayo in Holland, you simply have to say, “patatjes met”, which literally means, “potatoes with…”. The vendor already knows that you mean, “with mayo,”. Growing up, I watched my Dad eat mayo with: poultry, vegetables, fruit, seafood, and basically anything that’s fried… 2When you’re eating plain mayo with all of the glorious combinations above, the flavour and quality is of utmost importance! Now, you may think that all mayos are created equal, but to paraphrase George Orwell: some mayos are more equal than others. So, without further ado, I hereby present the mayolympics. 3Represented here are mayos from continental Europe, Japan and the United States. These are all regular mayos that can be found in supermarkets and are consumed en masse by regular folks like us! 4FIRST PLACE Coming in at 1st place are the European varieties: Amora’s Mayonnaise de Dijon from France, and Holland’s Calvé mayo. Thrown in for good measure is another Dutch mayo producer, Remia, with a variety especially made for French fries (that gives you an idea how serious they are about mayo + fries). What makes the Euro mayos taste so great is that on top of the regular ingredients used in mayo (egg, vinegar, salt, sugar…) they add mustard. Also, they only use egg yellows in their recipes. There’s more aroma and richness in texture compared to American mayos. Euro mayo is glorious! 6SECOND PLACE Second place belongs to Japan’s Kewpie, with its iconic squishy baby bottle packaging. Kewpie has been around since the 1920s when the Western condiment was adapted to Japanese palates; it’s made with rice vinegar instead of wine vinegar (like in France), or distilled vinegar. Like the Euro mayos, Kewpie also uses egg yolks only. The result is a sweeter taste, despite having no sugar added. Another reason for the irresistible flavour? You may have guessed it: MSG. 7THIRD PLACE Last, and I’m afraid least, comes American mayonnaise. I’m not a big fan of these mayos at all. Actually, I’ll only eat them if there’s no other choice (which sadly, is often the case in non-Japanese restaurants in Hong Kong). American mayos use whole eggs (white and yellow) in their recipes, leading to a blander and lighter taste. I’m sure there are people out there who prefer that, but I’m not one of them. Interestingly, a shared ingredient in Hellmann’s and Kraft mayo is lemon juice.

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At the moment, I have one treasured bottle of Calvé mayo in the fridge. It was a gift brought over to me by a dear friend all the way from Holland. But, I wondered – what if anyone reading this wanted to get their hands on some Dutch mayo here in Hong Kong?

I thought that the best people to ask would be the staff at The Orange Tree (a Dutch resto I’ve blogged about before). So, I gave them a call this morning and they kindly directed me to PrizeMart in Central, where they stock Zaanse mayo, AND stroopwafels.mayonnaise111Zaanse mayo has a stronger vinegar and mustard flavour than Calvé – definitely a mayo with lots of personality! A total steal at only HK$16!!! Happy mayo everyone… Bakker x Sig bbites

That Dutch Place: The Orange Tree

1Last month I went on a homecoming to Holland. It’s been many years since I was last in my birthplace and it was a blast!

Back in Hong Kong, it inspired me to finally visit The Orange Tree restaurant in mid-levels, and you’ll the review a bit further down.UntitledAmsterdam and the Hague are lined with beautiful classical buildings. Most are hundreds of years old, yet they are still lived and worked in, and have been for generations. It’s incredibly beautiful, and history is pouring out from every corner!
Untitled 2Here are some of the Dutch foods I had on my hit list for the week…

Stroopwafel: This was a fresh stroopwafel I ate at the market in Hilversum. This delicious Dutch snack is filled with a distinctive tasting caramel, and you can get them fresh (like mine in the photo) or prepackaged at a store. Recipes for the sauce vary from bakery to bakery, but cinnamon and brown sugar are commonly used.

Bitterballen: The quintessential Dutch bar snack. These are deep-fried croquettes with shredded beef and butter/flour filling. Added to that are spices and vegetables – depending on the recipe. Always served with mustard.

Herring: Raw herring with chopped onion. Warning: lots of very thin, short bones. Without less bones, I would have enjoyed it more; the flavour was quite good!

Fries: In my opinion, “Belgian” Fries (thin, long and crispy) are the only way to eat fries. Served in Amsterdam to us with delicious Dutch mayonnaise (sweeter, eggier and richer than US or UK mayonnaises). Mayo is always served with fries in Holland. To say, “patatjes met” (potatoes with) means you want it with mayonnaise. Except you don’t have to finish the sentence because it’s expected.

Poffertjes: Tiny, cute pancakes are basically what these little sweet pieces of heaven are. The place I went to below has been in business since 1837, and they had a beautiful antique oven to prepare with, too. These were incredibly soft, spongy and melty at the same time. Topped with obscene amounts of melting butter and mountains of powdered sugar – I ate the whole plate like there was no tomorrow.3

*THE ORANGE TREE REVIEW*

4Orange Tree has been around forever, it seems, I’ve walked past it many times but never felt motivated to try. After all, Dutch food isn’t what jumps to mind when you think of dinner out – right?5To begin, we ordered the two most Dutch starters we could find. The menu is mostly Continental with a sprinkling of Dutchness around…

The first starter, garnaaltjes, is cocktail sauce baby shrimp. There wasn’t enough crisp and life in the shrimp, perhaps they were frozen before (?!), and it really let this dish down.

The second, bitterballenwere quite nice and enjoyable. However, having tasted phenomenal bitterballen in Holland less than three weeks ago, my standards have been raised and Orange Tree’s weren’t as good. The best ones I tried, had a sumptuous creamy filling speckled with small tears of salty beef.

The main courses, though were great – a perfect lamb shank, and an original beef tartare…7The lamb shank was excellent! Nothing innovative here, it’s all about tradition. Classic reduced wine and thyme sauce with a traditional Dutch hutspot (mashed potato+carrot+onion). Each bite of the ultra-tender, flavourful lamb was a treat!8After asking what exactly “Orange Tree Style” meant on the menu for its beef tartare, I was intrigued. Instead of the regular fries combo, this tartare was served with salad, pickles, diced onion to add to taste – as well as crispy toasties.

For flavouring, the tartare had tabasco, capers, salt/pepper, and sambal. Sambal is a spicy sauce commonly used in South East Asia, including Indonesia. Holland formerly colonised Indonesia, and the country’s delicious spices and foods eventually made their way back to the Netherlands. The resulting flavour was exciting: spicy,and with a hint of dried seafood (thanks to the sambal). This played into the capers quite nicely.9Then, couldn’t resist the poffertjes for dessert, served here with a raspberry sorbet and chocolate mousse. These were a bit “healthier” than the ones I ate in Holland (think less butter / less sugar) – but there’s always butter you add on the side, am I right???!! 😀10And now for some gratuitous close-ups.11Just above the entrance to the kitchen are some Dutch products for sale…

The overall atmosphere at The Orange Tree is like a neighbourhood restaurant in Europe: cosy and conservative. On our visit, it was fully-booked – and I’m sure the other main dishes on the menu (beef, chicken, duck, pork) are worth trying too. 6

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THE END!

Bakker x
Sig bbites