In the first Chinese Tea House in Amsterdam, I got acquainted with Amanda Yiu. She is the owner of Formocha and shows that serving tea is a true art. While making the tea Amanda Yiu takes her time and lets you enjoy each step of the process. You simply can’t rush in to get a cup and down it disrepectfully. No, tea is equivalent to a moment of peace and calm. While I was calming down, a conversation started.
In this post I shall share with you Amanda Yiu’s favourite food places in Amsterdam.
First about the miraclous mountain tea: Ali Shan
Ali Shan is a high mountain oolong tea, it grows above 1200m altitude and is picked twice a year. The unique climate of hot days and cold nights, makes this tea of the Champagne of teas. The tea is indeed as interesting as a wine: the aroma is light but you can faintly smell the freshness of the mountain. It still still soft like silk in the mouth yet amazingly, the finish is stronger almost creamy. The tea reminded me of a Rully or other light red wine. What’s more, the finish lasts for ages! And when you take out the tea from the pot you can see whole unbroken leaves. How beautiful! And all the way from Taiwan!
Ali Shan from Formocha (tea lingo for ‘Taiwan’)
50g is E12.50. Allow Amanda to explain you how to make the tea and enjoy pots on end with only 2grams of leaves. Formocha, Binnen Dommersstraat 24HS, Amsterdam. T. 020-6255233. Opening times like shops: Tuesday - Saturday from 11:00 till 18:00.
Sizzling Hot HongKong Dumplings
Upon finding out that she is from Hongkong and has been living here for over 20 years, I desperately hoped that she could answer my burning question: where can you get that ‘HongKong dumpling filled with chili sauce’? Amanda’s answer was short: ‘No, can’t get it here. Better go to New King and have Shui Kau Soup’.
Restaurant New King: Shui Kau Soep (Chinese noodle soup with shrimp dumplings)
At this Chinese restaurant they make all of their dumplings themselves. More about New King in best of China Town, Amsterdam. New King, Zeedijk 115-117, Amsterdam. At peak hours: reserve. T. 020.6252180
Restaurant Taste of Culture: Seafood Hot Clay Pot (Stew)
Authentic Chinese food. Also the Pien Pee App, the roasted Peking duck with crepes, are also properly prepared. The skin is very crispy. Taste of Culture, Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 139-141, Amsterdam. T 020.4271136
Restaurant Hoi Tin: Pork Chop Carbonade with Hoi Tin.
Very good Hoi Tin sauce. More restaurants in China Town, Amsterdam. Hoi Tin, Zeedijk 122, Amsterdam.
Akitsu: Sushi & Japanese.
The chef is really Japanese and the price-quality is very good. Check out other sushi restaurants in Amsterdam. Akitsu Restaurant. Rozengracht 228 (Jordaan), Amsterdam. T. 020 6253254
Japanese Pancake World: Japanese pancakes (photo left)
Very good but als prices are also high. Japanse Pancake World, Tweede Egelantiersdwarsstraat 24a (Jordaan), Amsterdam. T. 020 320 4447.
Restaurant Khan: Korean cuisine
There are many Korean restaurants in Buitenveldert. This one is the best, on Nederhoven street, it’s between 2 other Korean restaurants. Restaurant Khan, Nederhoven 9 (Buitenveldert), Amsterdam. Do reserve. T.020.646 37 22
Other quality places:
Greenwood: High Tea
Everything is made fresh and home-made. I like that. More high tea in Amsterdam and best bars in Jordaan, Amsterdam. Greenwoods, Singel 103, Amsterdam.
Smallworld Cafe: Sandwiches
Also here is everything fresh and home-made. Smallworld is also part of bars in Jordaan, Amsterdam, and best deli's in Amsterdam. Small World Cafe, Binnen Oranjestraat 14, Amsterdam.
Two for Joy
Great coffee. They just opened a branch here at Haarlemmerdijk, around the corner from my Chinese Tea Shop. Two for Joy is also mentioned in the post best coffee in Amsterdam. Two for Joy, Haarlemmerdijk 182 and Frederiksplein 29, Amsterdam.
Kira: But where can I get my dumplings then??
Amanda Yiu: Not here. In Den Haag and Rotterdam, yes. Not in Amsterdam.
Kira: Where in Den Haag then?
Amanda Yiu: Everywhere is good.
And on a personal note: while biking back home, through the rain, but with the beautiful Ali Shan taste on my pallet, my Korean friend living in The Hague called me: ‘Kira, when are you coming over for some Dim Sum? My answer: ‘how about tomorrow!’
Restaurant of the Week: Blauw
As a daughter of an Indonesian mother, it’s hard to be impressed by Indonesian restaurants. Restaurant Blauw did not succeed in it in the years 2009-2010. However last month, neighbouring wine bar SoVine urged me to try the place again ‘there's a new chef, you should really check it out!’
That the restaurant has conquered the hearts of the neighbours became quickly apparent: it was hard to get a table and making a reservation is recommended! And that’s surprising, as they have many, many tables inside.
Despite the many tables and popularity, the waiters were very welcoming upon arrival. A lady lead us to our table, which meant an interesting walk through the restaurant: one staircase down, turn right, one staircase up, turn right again.
We chose the meat-and-fish rijsttafel - a meal that introduces you to the many different Indonesian dishes. When after 20-30 minutes no rijsttafel had appeared, the waitress concluded in shock ‘something must have happened to your order - I’ll immediately go and find out’. To make an uninteresting story short: 5 minutes later, our table was filled with dishes and were promised a ‘coffee/tea on the house’.
A kind (and marketing savvy) gesture was being offered to be taken on a photo which we can download from the website at the end of the evening. However, my dining partner and I had just come from a wine tasting and had little faith in our looks at that time...
The rijsttafel is enjoyable for Indonesians. And if you’re not raised in an Indonesian household, I trust you’ll absolutely adore dining at Blauw (as do many international friends of mine).
What’s also worth mentioning is that not that many dishes are sweet. Often Indonesian restaurant “Dutchify” their food by making them sweeter with Ketjap or Gulah - yet Blauw is easy with these sugars.
What stands out more than anything else is, however, the service. The waitresses were very kind , patient, helpful and attentive. When she saw her favourite dish was still untouched after 15 minutes she advice ‘please, do taste the Ajam Singgang (chicken skewer with spice coconut sauce and koenjit leaf) . It is really good and I’d hate it if you don’t taste it before you’re full!’. Another sign of her attentiveness: when we decided to skip coffee after the meal, the lady told us she had deducted a glass of wine from the bill by way of compensation of our 30-minute wait.
What I also enjoyed is the modern, ‘clean design’ interior that still feels warm and has Indonesian elements. So no batik clothes and wajang dolls.
Why visit restaurant Blauw:
> to get introduced to and enjoy Indonesian cuisine.
> to have a pleasant dining experience with kind waitresses
> to have an uncomplicated meal; order the rijsttafel of your liking (vegetarian / fish/ meat) and be treated to a line of dishes.
Tested & Tasted:
2x Selera Blauw, the rijsttafel with meat, fish and vegetable dishes E29.50 pp.
Restaurant Blauw, Amstelveensweg 158-160, Amsterdam Oud-Zuid. T. 020.67 55 000
Sunday free parking. Open daily till 22h/23h.