Best Typical Surinamese Cuisine in Amsterdam
Get to know the vibrant city of freedom from a beautiful culinary perspective which is beyond Gouda cheese and stroopwafel — Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam.
The Dutch food culture is unique. It encompasses the many diverse and dynamic populations in the Netherlands, a legacy of its colonial times. The rich food culture of the Netherlands is best experienced in Amsterdam, an international city with a highly diverse population of 180 backgrounds. The Suriname community has a high presence in Amsterdam. Its no surprise that Amsterdam is known for its Surinamese cuisine, a relatively unknown Caribbean food that is worth exploring when visiting the Dutch capital. It is hard to define Surinamese cuisine but it is often listed alongside Javanese (Indonesian) cuisine because of its strong influence on Surinamese kitchen.
This guide on Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam aims to give you an overview of Surinamese unique melting-pot cuisine and a suggestion on the best ten must-try Surinamese food to seek out when on a city-break in Amsterdam.
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AN OVERVIEW OF SURINAME’S DIVERSE CUISINE CULTURE
The Surinamese cuisine is extensive and much influenced by the international and cross-cultural food brought by the people from all over the world who settled in Suriname.
Suriname is the smallest independent South American country, once a colony of the Dutch imperialism. It has a coastline along the North Atlantic Ocean and the shortest coastline in South America. Although it is a small country, Suriname is a highly diverse country in biodiversity and is the largest exporter of bauxite in the world.
The population embrace Amerindians, along with settlers from Asia, Africa and Europe. Thus, the Suriname culture is diverse, dynamic and strongly influenced by people from the Netherlands, Portugal, Indonesia, China, India and Africa. Since the population of Suriname are from many countries, this resulted in creating an extensive combination of food.
The Surinamese kitchen is both rich and interesting, quite different to the rest of the South American cuisine. Influenced by the many groups and each group was influenced by each other’s cuisine culture, dishes and spices. Blending the cooking methods, various spices from all over the world with the indigenous fruit and vegetables, creating a unique melting-pot cuisine, spawning many dishes. All of these together became modern Surinamese cuisine. Therefore, when tasting any one of the 10 must-try Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam, you may find that the dish is a combination of Javanese, Chinese, Indian and more — all on one plate!
Suriname’s Traditional Food
Suriname is both coastal and tropical. Fruits and plants along with seafood, especially shrimp are in abundance and feature highly in Surinamese cuisine. While rice and roti are staple, fruits such as coconuts, plantain and plants such as tayer (a tropical flowering plant that produces an edible, starchy corn) and cassava are essential accompaniments in their daily meals. Other basic ingredients include lentils, potatoes and sweet potatoes.
Beef and chicken are a large part of Suriname’s food production and naturally form an important part of their diet. Along with these, salted meat and stockfish (called bakkeljauw, dried unsalted fish) are prominent in Surinamese cooking. Vegetables such as aubergines, okra and yardlong beans are all essential in a Surinamese kitchen. When a little spice is needed, the Surinamese turn to Madame Janette peppers for that extra kick.
While Suriname’s cuisine features colourful recipes, the only true national dish is rice and chicken.
So, what are the best typical Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam to seek out?
SURINAMESE CUISINE IN AMSTERDAM | 10 TYPICAL DISHES TO TRY
The Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam is extensive and here are the must-try 10 best typical Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam.
1 | Roti
Roti, grilled wholemeal flatbread is an Indian contribution to the Surinamese cuisine and this is a staple dish served alongside rice with chicken curry.
The Indonesian version of Roti is grilled flatbread, served with chicken masala, potatoes and vegetables. You place the chicken, potatoes and vegetables on the flatbread, roll them up and enjoy! No cutleries required 🙂
For a simple roti meal, ask for Roti Kippenbout – its roti and chicken curry.
2 | Pom
Pom is a festive tayer root dish. Known as ‘Pomtajet’ in Suriname, Pom was introduced by the Portuguese-Jewish landowners as a potato casserole, from the Portuguese potato based dish, pomme de terre. When potato became expensive, it was replaced with tayer root.
The Pom dish includes chicken and shredded tayer root and citrus baked in the oven.
3 | Mixed rice | Moksi alesi
‘Moksi alesi’ or mixed rice is a popular rice dish made with salted meat, fish or shrimp and vegetables.
4 | Bami
Bami is a typical dish found in Indonesia and introduced to Suriname by the Javanese settlers. Bami or ‘bakmi‘ is a type of spicy Indonesian egg noodles stir-fried with meat and vegetables. It is also known as ‘mie goreng’.
*a popular dish in Malaysia, available all day.
5 | Gado-gado
Brought to Suriname by the Javanese settlers, gado-gado is an Indonesian vegetarian dish made up of blanched or steamed vegetables and hard-boiled eggs, boiled potato, fried tofu, tempeh* and lontong**. This mish-mash of vegetables is then topped with spicy delicious peanut sauce.
*tempeh – a traditional Javanese soy product made from fermented soybeans.
**lontong – compressed rice cake wrapped in banana leaf.
6 | Bakabana
Bakabana is a Surinamese dish that has an Indonesian origin. These delicious little treat are made with ripe plantain, battered and deep-fried, served with a generous amount of spicy peanut sauce on the side. It is popular in restaurants as well as from street vendors.
*Also known as “pisang goreng” in Malaysia and a popular snack for afternoon tea-time.
7 | Goedangan
Goedangan is a refreshing Surinamese salad typically arranged on a platter. The vegetables consists of blanched green cabbage, green beans, bean sprouts, and garnish with hard-boiled eggs, cucumber slices and fresh shredded coconut. The salad dressing is made from a combination of coconut milk, yoghurt, lime juice, brown sugar and chilli peppers.
8 | Surinamese Pie/Pastei
The Surinamese pie is a Creole-style chicken pot pie. Brought to Suriname by the Jewish settlers and is a common meal.
9 | Bojo cake
*You could also try this bojo cake when in Malaysia, usually available as a treat for afternoon tea.
The bojo cake is a delicious slice of heaven! This Surinamese dish is a dessert made with coconut and cassava. Usually served at celebratory events.
10 | Broodje Pom
This is Pom (#2 above) served in a bread roll – best on-the-go dish.
Other dishes commonly on the menu are:
Moksi meti – roasted pork and chicken stewed with kousenband, or green beans served with a choice of white rice, or Indonesian style stir-fried noodles, bami goreng or Indonesian style fried rice, nasi goreng.
Bara – spicy, herby doughnut dipped in sauce or topped with your favourite topping.
Pindasoep – spicy peanut soup.
Her Heri – Stew of cassava, sweet potato, plantain and salted cod.
WHERE TO EAT SURINAMESE CUISINE IN AMSTERDAM
If you are looking for high-end restaurants or fine-dining specifically dedicated to catering for Surinamese cuisine, you will be disappointed. However, you will find a selection of popular Surinamese dishes served as part of an extensive menu at high-end hotels and restaurants. There are many eateries and hole-in-the wall dotted around the city that offer a good selection of Surinamese dishes. One of the best ways to get to know the Surinamese cuisine is to try some of the best-loved typical Surinamese dishes at some of the popular authentic Surinamese eateries in Amsterdam.
Here is our selection of the best places to experience authentic Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam.
1 | Lalla Rookh
Lalla Rookh in Amsterdam comes highly recommended by the locals for the best Roti and accompanying dishes in town. There are both vegetarian and non-vegetarian options available. They also serve the Surinamese soda, Fernandes for an all-round Surinamese experience.
Located near Oosterpark in the east of Amsterdam.
Address: Wijttenbachstraat 290, 1093 JK Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Opening hours: Monday – Sunday: 12 pm to 10 pm
2 | Warung Spang Makandra
Warung Spang Makandra has been serving up quality Surinamese/Javanese food since 1978. They don’t take reservations, so there might be a wait during peak times. Conveniently located near De Pijp’s Albert Cuyp Market.
Address: Gerard Doustraat 39, Amsterdam. Opening hours: Mon-Sat: 11am-10 pm; Sun: 1pm-10pm
3 | Sranang Makmur
Another authentic Surinamese/Javanese eatery is Sranang Makmur near Dappermarkt in Oost.
Address: Wyttenbachstraat 14.
4 | Roopram Roti
Roopram Roti serves authentic roti rolled up in masala chicken and vegetables. This is a popular eatery and often with a long queue. A good selection of Surinamese roti rolls are offered.
Address: Roopram van Woutstraat 37, Amsterdam
5 | Swieti Sranang
Swieti Sranang is a great place to grab food on-the-go. A tiny take-away that specialises in authentic Surinamese sandwiches, snacks, roti and nasi (rice) specialities. The satay is highly recommended.
Address: Brouwersgracht 125, Amsterdam
Opening times: Mon-Fri: 12pm – 9pm; Closed Sat & Sun
6 | Tokoman
Tokoman specialises in traditional Surinamese dishes serving sandwiches, rice and noodles with meat and vegetables.
Address: Waterlooplein 327, Amsterdam
Opening times: Mon-Sun: 11am – 7pm
7 | Albina
This simple restaurant takes its name from a little town in Suriname, serving up a combination of traditional Surinamese dishes and Chinese food. Albina is popular for the thin noodles with meat and vegetables. Try also gado-gado, a vegetable dish with peanut sauce.
Address: Albert Cuypstraat 69, Amsterdam
Opening times: Tue-Sun: 10:30am-10 pm; Closed: Monday
On a final note…
The capital of Netherlands has a long and interesting history such as the Golden Age canals, gabled houses, world renowned museums along with the freedom tag associated with the city. Amsterdam prides itself for its diverse population, rich cuisines and its affluent cultural life as well, that makes it a unique European city to visit at anytime during the year. This capital city offers a multitude of things to do, both on the best-of-the-beaten track or off-the-beaten track and a comprehensive transport system for convenient travel from the airport as well as around the city.
Added to this are the variety of cuisines that reflect the multi-faceted society of the city where the Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam is well worth trying. Sincerely hope that this guide will inspire you to seek out some of the Surinamese dishes for an authentic experience of the Surinamese cuisine in Amsterdam.
Have a great time exploring Amsterdam 🙂
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