if there is such a thing as Indo Amsterdam, I'd like to experience it.
July 20, 2011 9:34 AM   Subscribe

I'm spending next weekend in Amsterdam. I'll be doing the usual touristy things, but I'd like to add a twist to it. I speak Indonesian very well but have never been to Indonesia... I would like to experience Amsterdam's Indo/Indonesian side. Any particular areas, restaurants, activities to check out?
posted by Xere to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
I had a great meal recently at Sampurna on Singelgracht.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:44 AM on July 20, 2011

Tempo Doeloe serves some rijstaffel that is off the chain.
posted by mckenney at 9:47 AM on July 20, 2011

De Tropenmuseum has some interesting stuff.

I fear you won't find much more than that and a rijstaffel.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:56 AM on July 20, 2011

I'm excited that someone would mention the old Indonesian Toko from my student days that I was just about to recommend here, Tempo Doeloe. I have very fond memories of both their cooking and their advice on everything Cooking-à-la-Indonesian-Grandmother imaginable.

I have no idea whether this place is still run by the same people (who would be in their eighties by now) or has gone to the next generation, but by all means, give it a try. Maybe they would give you further tips about how to find your way around.
Check out the Albert Cuyp market for inspiration, too.

[I've blogged about them here, here and here]
posted by Namlit at 10:20 AM on July 20, 2011

For heaven's sake, whatever you do, have rijstaffel. It's my fondest memory of my trip to Amsterdam (though, to be fair, it was raining most of the time).
posted by languagehat at 10:29 AM on July 20, 2011

One caveat: Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands usually serve Indonesian food as well, but it's never very good. (And since I got a pretty bad case of food poisoning after eating Indonesian food at a Chinese restaurant I tend to avoid the stuff like the plague. )

Another place you may want to try (though it's ages since I've been there) is Kantjil en de Tijger at Spuistraat 291-293.

(BTW: I actually think The Hague has a larger Indonesian community and more authentic restaurants than Amsterdam, but that's not really useful to you right now.)
posted by rjs at 10:53 AM on July 20, 2011

(BTW: I actually think The Hague has a larger Indonesian community and more authentic restaurants than Amsterdam, but that's not really useful to you right now.)

Indeed it does. After Indonesian independence both the Dutch planter families and Indonesians who had served the Dutch government settled there in large numbers. The Hague is/was also called The Widow of the East.
posted by atrazine at 11:46 AM on July 20, 2011

Although the Hague is something like 30-40 minutes away on the train, and trains going through the Hague (one or the other stations) every 20 minutes or so, so maybe it is worthwhile for an afternoon or for dinner.

Not sure where you're coming from OP, but the trains from Central Station are exceedingly easy to catch and there are ticket kiosks in English (if that's your preferred language).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 11:54 AM on July 20, 2011

I second the rijstaffel thing. Not sure how indo it really is, but I liked it a lot. I went to the place recommended in the 2005 edition of the Rick Steve's book, and I'm sure there are better, but they were super friendly and the food was good and i had a great time....
posted by Tandem Affinity at 1:11 PM on July 20, 2011

If you are visiting museums, look for work by Jan Toorop, the Indo-Dutch art nouveau painter and illustrator. His art is very strange and beautiful.
posted by Scram at 1:57 PM on July 20, 2011

If you'd like more of an exposure to Indonesian culture than a visit to the excellent Tropenmuseum or eating a rijsttafel at a restaurant, I recommend a Pasar Malam. You (will) have already missed some of the biggest (e.g. in April/May in The Hague, and in the north in Groningen this weekend).

But the eastern part of the country also has a sizeable Indonesian and Moluccan population - and there's a Pasar Malam next weekend in Vaassen. Link to the organization holding it, link to a page on it at tjampoer.nl, an overview of Indonesian/Moluccan events around the country.

It'd be approximately an hour by train and then about 30 minutes by bus, timetable here, costs some 25 euros round trip. Entrance fee to the Pasar Malam is 7 Euros, 12.00pm to 10.00pm on Saturday, 12.00 to 7.00pm on Sunday. Music, dancing, food, drink, Indonesian goods/arts/crafts/healing, not to mention great atmosphere thanks to great people... they're a lot of fun!
posted by likeso at 2:39 PM on July 20, 2011

De Pijp is a great place for Indo food. Next to the Duikelman kitchen store is a place called Spang Makandra. A tiny dark place with a big ass tv on the wall. The cooking here is pure nirvana. It's a slight variation on Javanese cooking, as the owner Glenn is Surinam Javanese. But restaurant wise this great place is the closest match to my mother's home style old school Indonesian cooking. The first time I had a Soto soup, I shed a tear, it's really that good. The menu is limited, but if you're here for a month. You need not to worry about lunch, believe me. Forget about dinner, because this place is packed from 5.30 till it closes.

The other Indonesian highlight is about twentyfive steps across from Spang Makandra. It's toko Ramee. In here you will find the best Indonesian takeout, when it comes to original cooking. Gorgeous dishes that use peteh beans, palm sugar desserts and please don't forget the lemper, the chicken filled steamed rice croquettes, they're soft and creamy beyond any description. Haven't found a bad dish here so far, so order away and enjoy at home. Haven't found a restaurant in Amsterdam that is up to par with the cooking here when it comes to original Indonesian comfort food.

In The Hague, I really recommend Soeboer. The only restaurant my grandmother wanted to go voluntarily. And yes, Widow of the East, indeed.

(diclaimer: I posted this on Chowhound under another handle)
posted by ouke at 2:52 PM on July 20, 2011

Sama Sebo is also highly regarded. It didn't knock me out when I went, but I'm probably not nuanced enough in Indonesian food, and I didn't get the rijstaffel. If you're going to be near the museums/Vondelpark around lunchtime, it's probably a very good option.
posted by troywestfield at 7:04 AM on July 21, 2011

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