Padang food in Amsterdam?
January 13, 2013 6:47 AM   Subscribe

Are there any restaurants in Amsterdam that specialise in Padang/Minangkabau cuisine?

I'll be visiting Amsterdam for four days in early February and I'd like to track down some Padang food, as close as possible to the real thing. From my research so far, it seems like there's no shortage of great-looking rijsttafels to be found, but I haven't found anywhere that looks like it'll satisfy my craving for bovine offal in chili sauce.

I'm willing to travel a reasonably short distance (say <1hr) out of Amsterdam if there's somewhere outstanding elsewhere, but I'd prefer to get my fix in the city.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (9 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This is the Dutch restaurant review site:

I did a search but neither of your terms came up in Amsterdam.

An advanced search turned up more results: Padang

You'll need to use Chrome or Google translate, but they work well.
posted by humboldt32 at 10:31 AM on January 13, 2013

You can get takeaway from Padang Boelan in the Jordaan, but I don't think you can eat in. Here is their selection.
posted by neushoorn at 11:01 AM on January 13, 2013

Best answer: For the more, er, exotic (as in bovine offal) cravings, I guess that you'd need to make an advance call in any case. Now, one of your better chances to get the other end interested in your hobby might well be at
Tempo Doeloe
in the Untrechtsestraat.

They appear to have expanded since my time (and perhaps it's also the next generation. The owners of that time must be far in their seventies by now), but if I can believe what they write on their website, the basic philosophy seems unchanged: Indonesian home-cooking as opposed to glitzy modernized restaurant food. In my memory they have access to, personal stories about, and a passion for the very kind of recipes that would be required. Talk to them.
posted by Namlit at 1:29 PM on January 13, 2013

The Dutch aren't exactly fantastic with spicy food or chili ... and the local Indonesian offerings tend to offer food which the locals are interested in eating. You may find that everything is adjusted for local palates.
posted by jannw at 5:06 AM on January 14, 2013

Best answer: jannw is right. Most Indonesian restaurants serve food that is too sweet (kecap manis overload) and they leave out the hardcore simple stuff that makes Indonesian food so delicious. I've never seen salted duck eggs, salted dry fish or peteh, which is called stink bean for a reason.
Amsterdam is not the best place to have indonesian food, but the suggestions so far are pretty good. Padang Boelan (it used to be called terang boelan and I always hummed this on my way there) has some great takeout. I can't vouch for Tempo Doeloe, but I once went there to have a kopi luwak (made out of feces from a civet).

When you head over to the Albert Cuyp market there are some interesting options. Toko Ramee has a great selection of take out dishes or snacks. Sara Citra is around the corner and while it's mostly a hit, there are some misses too. But the selection is varied. In between these two shops you'll find Surinam restaurant Spang Makandra, where they serve the best soto ajam, this side of the Merapi. They have a fine selection of really simple foods, served seperately or rames style (one big plate with various dishes). All padang food, but you can get pretty good roti dishes there, too.

Best restaurant for oldskool Indo food is Soeboer in The Hague. It's also the favorite restaurant of our prime minister, which is hardly a recommendation. But it was the only restaurant that didn't upset my Indo grandmother.
posted by ouke at 5:56 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

The we're talking. A few years back, even the sit-in place at the then-there "Babylon center" was having Peteh beans (self link-alert) in some of their stuff.

Here's a list of Indonesian restaurants in The Hague, Soeboer among them. The trains from Amsterdam CS take 50 minutes so that's not a reason not to...
posted by Namlit at 6:18 AM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

I came in to highlight The Hague's choices over Amsterdam's myself. Soeboer is good. But keep in mind that for me it is difficult to evaluate objectively as I split my time between NL and the ASEAN where hawker stalls full of Padang food are accessible within 5 mins.
posted by infini at 6:03 PM on January 16, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Coming back very late to thank you all for the recommendations. I didn't make it to the Hague in the end, but it looks like I have an itinerary for my next trip!

A quick report for anybody reading this down the line: we ate at Tempo Doeloe, Tujuh Maret (both on Utrechtsestraat), and Sari Citra (in De Pijp).

Tujuh Maret was fine for lunch, but not hugely inspired (and a bit bland; definitely tuned for local tastes). Sari Citra was simple and tasty, and of the three served the closest to what you'd find in a Javanese depot (IME). Tempo Doeloe was awesome (and priced accordingly) and packed. We were lucky to get in without a reservation and I wouldn't risk it a second time. Be forewarned that when they say "very hot" they aren't kidding.
posted by Zeinab Badawi's Twenty Hotels at 8:35 AM on June 13, 2013

Thanks for the update, awesome! Yeah, in the days when we lived close to Tempo Doeloe, we once ended up with some chicken in banana leaves, and the accompanying two tablespoons of sauce spiced up our meals for a whole week. I'm so happy that they're doing well. They gave me a ton of great tips back then, very friendly people.
posted by Namlit at 8:42 AM on June 13, 2013

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