Dutch it!

by Evans Yonson

Eating is another vice that I love the most after travelling. But I only indulge when I am with company whenever I travel abroad because of my stomach problems. I want someone with me while I am devouring a Turkish kebab in cold Copenhagen when I am supposed to be eating something else. You see, after my gall bladder removal operation, eating out by myself has become a constant fear just like flying Cebu Pacific in the Philippines.

My trip to Amsterdam with dear travel buddies and superfriends, Aaron and Ben, is an example of true indulgence.  Arriving earlier than them in Amsterdam Central, eating a burger at an international fastfood chain is a mortal sin for me. Amsterdam is best appreciated by walking the cobbled stone streets and for long distances within the city, you can always take the GVB transport system. I suggest that you buy the I AMsterdam card which is very convenient for any short-stay tourist. The card gives you access to almost all famous museums in Amsterdam including the Rijksmuseum (which houses Rembrandt’s Nightwatch), the world famous Foam Photography Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum among other interesting sites and places to visit.

One such delight was our afternoon break after our tour of the Anne Frank House/Museum. The house is still under renovation and so it was not as riveting as I had imagined it before. But still the elements of shock, awe and pity are still there. The cappuccino was served hot and frothy with a dash of vanilla on top. The blue berry cupcake was fresh, tasty and great to the last crumb. The cafe is only accessible to visitors of Anne Frank House and it has wonderful of  the Prinsengracht and the Westertoren.

Another restaurant serves a great attention is the Satellite Sports Cafe in Leiseplein Street.  Food is served in big portions but after visiting several museums in one very cold winter morning, an order of their famous eat-all-you can baby back ribs is a must. The staff are very warm and friendly. They never seem to get tired of asking us how was our food and everything else that spells T-I-P! But overall this Cafe deserves a 9 for food and service. They just need to check their toilets once in awhile especially during lunch when some tourists get drank way too early and knowing that they are in Amsterdam and free to do whatever they can what they couldn’t do at home. Better come early if you don’t have reservation because the Cafe gets too crowded because of their baby back ribs thing.

While we are at it now, in Amsterdam everyone can smoke pot in designated places only. You need to get into a bar or a cafe that serves this stuff and take it there. Smoke to your heart’s delight. Drink till you drop. The sex shops are to die for, especially for men’s hungry eyes. Prostitution is legal and the women are not caged there. They look like any window display of a department store. Women of all shapes, sizes, and colors. Name it and they have it there.

In between sex shops and canals, there is an interesting place where the Dutch people have taken eating to really an eat-and-go stuff. The company is called Febo. They look like the women on display but this time, all you see are snacks in a very big vendo machine. You choose from a wide variety of snacks that are freshly baked and with clean food area. The stores become crowded during late nights when tourists and locals come out and take something to eat before tossing their Heineken bottles in the air. The company, owned by a Dutch businessman, started in 1941 from a very humble beginning. But today, it has so many stores/branches spread all over Amsterdam that it looks like London’s Marks & Spencer or New York’s Duane Reade Pharmacy or Manila’s 7-11 24/H stores. And because this is a food service company, don’t be surprised that some of its staff are South Asian looking people. Others call it globalization. I call it, migration.

And as any traveller would have noticed by now, the Chinese are simply everywhere. Not only are they opening beauty parlors and grocery stores, their restaurants are a big hit for the European taste buds. One famous chain of Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam is the chic Wok to Walk. You choose your food by combining/choosing the ingredients yourself and even the seasoning. You can have it sweet and spicy. Or really hot and spicy. Creativity is the name of the game. But such creativity has its own price too. The more stuff you put in, the lighter your coin purse will be. But hey, when you’re travelling and discovering new places and stuff, money no longer becomes a problem.

With superfriends Aaron and Benjamin. Travelling and eating with great buddies are always fun.