Monday, November 28, 2011


My trip to Amsterdam was full of surprises and shocks, including how beautiful the city was! I was expecting the entire city to look seedy like the red light district (oy what an experience) but was pleasantly surprised to discover a picturesque city full of sparkling canals, colorful houseboats, clean streets, and many large museums. The huge number of cyclists also gave the city an almost quaint type of feeling. Some of the foods the Dutch are most known for are waffles, pancakes, and fries with mayo so I thought I'd let you know my take on them al.

1. Waffles: I mean what's not to like? They're waffles? Dutch waffles are typically sold from street vendors or in small walk-up bakeries. Mine was from the latter: a small cafe with about 5 seats and 10 choices for sweets. I settled, with no hesitation, on the waffle with chocolate sauce. The sauce was melted and definitely homemade because you could taste some of the sugar used to make it so sweet. The waffle itself had a nice slight crunch to it around the outside and the rest was airy and great. It tasted like someone folded the egg whites in perfectly to get the airiness of the waffle and tempered the chocolate ideally as well to get a sauce that wasn't too runny or congealed. It was great, but in fairness I'm a waffle kind of girl. And in the mornin', we're makin' waffles!

2. Pancakes: ah pancakes, my second favorite breakfast food (to waffles). Before going to Amsterdam, I'd imagined Dutch pancakes to be extremely thin, like a crepe. However, I was happy to discover the pancakes had a texture slightly thicker than a crepe, albeit thinner than an American pancake. We got our pancakes from a vendor in a Christmas market where they were individually spread over a skillet, like a crepe. They were then filled with our first topping of choice, chocolate for me, before being rolled twice so it resembled a thin pancake log. They were then covered in our second topping choice: powdered sugar or maple syrup. Taking my pancake filled with oozy chocolate and covered in powdered sugar from the woman was the happiest day of my life! Not really, but I was very excited. Sometimes I feel crepe's extreme thinness makes them slightly flavorless so the added thickness really countered this problem. The pancake itself tasted like the ideal hybrid between the fluffiness of an American pancake and the stronger condensed flavors of a French crepe. The chocolate and powdered sugar were great additions too!

3. Fries and Mayo: I know, it sounds gross or in the very least weird. For so many reasons this pairing did not appeal to me, probably because I don't particularly care for mayonnaise and I like foods that are different colors because I like my food to look appealing. The first day, I refused to try the duo and stuck to my security blanket (ketchup) but by the second day I was a little curious after seeing it on the menu nearly everywhere we went. Nervously, I dipped my fry into the mayonnaise and prepared to try it. I was surprised that, as long as I only added a little mayo, I didn't really mind the flavor. The mayo somehow brought out the potatoes hearty flavor and gave the fries a completely different flavor. I finished the rest of the dish with much less trepidation and learned an important lesson.

In these experiences, I learned a crucial lesson: try the famous dishes in a country regardless of whether you think you won't like them or know you'll love them, you may be surprised! Plus, for a foodie's perspective, like my own, what better way is there to learn about a culture than by experiencing it's famous dishes, food service style, and its unique culture surrounding dining.

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