Friday, November 09, 2007

The Snackshop

One of my favorite things about Amsterdam, and the Netherlands, is the food. Not all of the food, but there are certain foods that you just can't get in the States (or they're certainly not as readily available) that are available all over the place in the Netherlands. I'm not that familiar with the rest of Europe in terms of snacks, but I suspect that other countries have their own variety of artery clogging delights.

This is a photo of a snack shop near us. It's next to a bridge (Parnassusweg for anyone interested) and directly across the street from another snack shop. I can't tell that there's any difference between the two shops, and I don't know who was there first. It sort of feels like when there are Starbucks across the street from one another, but no one asked my opinion.

My favorite of the snacks - besides the standard patat - is something called the "berehap" (Thank you, Wendel, for helping me with that. I couldn't find a good picture.) Anyway, the berehap is a meat ball that's been cut into slices, then slices of onion have been layered between the slices of meat. The whole thing is put on a skewer and deep fried. Finally, (because deep-frying meat and onion wasn't enough) it is served with sate, or peanut sauce. If you don't think that's good, as Bad Barbara would say, think again.

Another of my favorites is the bamibal. It is made of noodles with herbs, chicken and other heart-stopping ingredients all stuffed into a crust and fried. Similarly, the nasibal has a rice base. (It's all about your carb of choice.) Other wonderful treats include: the speciaaltje, which is more meat based and eye-rollingly good; satekroket, which has a saucy-meaty center; and the frikadel, which is sort of a glorified hotdog, but completely different. Notice that everything is deep fried. That's the beauty of the snackshop. They just need a boiling vat of grease and a load of pre-packaged frozen or refridgerated snacks and they are in business. It's not health food.

Observant readers will notice that I have linked almost exclusively to FEBO today. It's not because of any bias towards FEBO (besides that it's "de lekkerste!") it's just that they had the best pictures. Snack shops are all over the place and fairly standard with the exception of some details like their recipe for sate sauce, which really can make all the difference. I think I'll save patat for another day. French fries are readily available here and have sort of been taken to the level of art - and I don't say that lightly.

There are also a load of other culinary treats that feel very Dutch-specific to me. So I'll write about those later as well.


Jeannine said...

Every time I bike to the WTC I wonder why there are TWO snack shops right across the street from each other. How do they both stay in business? Apparently, Amsterdammers desire for deep-friedy snacky goodness is endless...


Anonymous said...

I have fond memories of several of these snacks from a summer I spent on a farm in Blokzijl many years ago. One of my favorite Dutch treats is oliebollen.

Anonymous said...

The official Dutch name is "berehap". Which of the two snack shops do you prefer?

Andy Baker said...

Thank you, Wendel. You know, we've tried both and I think we prefer the one pictured because of where it's situated on the street rather than any difference in the quality of the food.

Mama Mojo said...

As a veggie, I have to skip over most Dutch snack bar delicacies. At the Stedelijk they have a vegetarian croquette with diverse layers of different vegetable mixes. The healthy alternative to the old fashioned greasy stuff. At our snack bar up the street they make vegetarian loempia's fresh, just for us! :-) They use fresh vegetables. It's very nice of them. :-) In Rotterdam, people swear by the Braambladage. They actually do use fresh potatoes, and vegetable oil. Try a paatatje oorlog, if you're ever in the Ranstad area! :-) It's peanut sauce, mayonaise and onions on top of patat (french fries).