Traditional Dutch cuisine typically consists of comfort food to warm one's insides in the cold season, which on some years can feel eternal. Favorites like erwtensoep (split pea soup) and stamppot boerenkool, mashed potatoes streaked with curly kale, are eaten year in and year out. Pancakes are treated like pizza, loaded with extras like ham and bacon; wheels of artisanal Gouda stare out at window-shoppers from the best cheese vendors; and French fries are consumed in abundance.
For all this splendor, sometimes it's nice to dip into more exotic fare. This is where two of the Netherlands' former colonies, two vastly distant countries, come in: Indonesia and Suriname. The rijsttafel, a Dutch colonial invention that assembles dishes from all over Indonesia, is a veritable attraction in itself; dozens of tapas-sized portions allow diners to sample a variety of Indonesian recipes. Surinamese, by comparison, is a South American cuisine spiked with Afro-Caribbean, South Asian, Indonesian and Chinese flavors, courtesy of its intensely multicultural population; Surinamese eateries are typically casual affairs that dole out impossible portions for moderate prices. Both cuisines are rare outside their home countries, and the opportunity to experience them is one that shouldn't be missed.
Tastes of Amsterdam