I have never tried Indonesian food, but tonight, in Amsterdam, I had one of the most delicious meals EVER. I would say that the taste is kind of cross between Thai food and heaven. Believe it or not there are tons of Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam because Indonesia until 1945 was occupied by the Netherlands.
We headed to a restaurant called Bojo, one of our guidebooks called this place “delicious and affordable”…say no more. And before we knew it we were hoofing it crosstown via foot and tram to this local spot.
When we arrived the restaurant was so quaint, bamboo slat roofs and paneling and Indonesian table cloths. Kind of a cross between the shacks on Gilligan’s Island, your local Pier One and the tropical island getaway you only see in travel magazines.
There was a coconut drink on the menu, Tjendol, that I had to try. When I am trying the cuisine of another culture, I ALWAYS opt for the traditional drink. Mainly because I am a huge fan of drinks but also I find that you can’t usually go wrong with a drink. Chances are people aren’t putting goat tongues of beetle larvae into a drink. Usually cross culturally we all like our drinks to be refreshing, sweet, juicy and light, who wouldn’t go for that? And this drink was really worth trying. I can’t say that I LOVED it but the flavor was unique, thick, coconut-y and GREEN, go figure.
Tjendol-An Indonesian Coconut Drink
I ordered the Vegetarische Nasi of Bami Rames. My plate had:
gado –gado, sambal goring string beans, tahu-tempeh, friend coconut and atjar tjampur
It was SO delicious. The flavor combinations were amazing, some of the dishes were super spicy, and others like the fried coconut, were sweet and creamy. Together, this plate of food sang to me!
Before a food coma came on, we headed out to the Amsterdam streets to see this famed red light district that everyone speaks of. Believe me when I say, this area will blow your mind!
I have never, ever, seen anything like it! These ladies of the night have little curb side kiosks where they dance and flirt with potential customers through a glass French door. A curtain gives them instant privacy and we were told that each kiosk has a bed, a bidet and an alarm to call the local authorities should anything get out of hand.
Earlier in the day we had the experience of a lifetime actually trying out one of these kiosks as there was one on display at the Amsterdam Historical Museum.
Stepping into it was liberating, in a sense, but horribly objectifying as well. These women have a tough life but I was so happy to hear that the city makes concerted efforts to make sure that these women are safe and well protected.
The Amsterdam Historical Museum is well worth going to. It charts the city from when it was just a few hundred brave folks staking out area in a marshy, inhospitable land, to the bustling city that it is now with all of its’ fabulous man made canals.
The museum had one somewhat creepy but fascinating room that had more than a few large scale paintings about anatomy classes in the 16th and 17th centuries. Rembrandt, one of the MOST famous Dutch painters, has one entitled, The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulup.
The Anatomy Lesson of Dr. Tulup by Rembrandt
Our morbid fascination, and growling stomachs took us to the In De Waag restaurant which is housed in one of Amsterdam’s oldest buildings. This weigh house was originally built in 1488 as one of Amsterdam’s city gates, St Anthony’s Port.
In De Waag Restaurant
By 1617 when it officially became a weigh house it also became a place for the local guilds to meet and each guild had it’s own entrance.
“The surgeon’s guild commissioned an octagonal wooden ceiling for the center of the building which was ornamented with the heraldic arms of its doctors. In the same room they built an amphitheatre for anatomical lectures. In the center stood a dissection table on which the corpse of a recently executed criminal could be cut up. These demonstrations were open to the public and proved immensely popular.”- In De Waag Restaurant
Here was where many of the anatomical paintings that we saw were painted. Now the place has been transformed into a beautiful and charmingly medieval restaurant with delicious lunch sandwiches and soups, all at affordable prices. I suppose that almost 400 years is plenty of time to clean up the place!
Where we went:
Lange Leidsedwarsstraat 49 en 51
Amsterdams Historisch Museum (Amsterdam Historical Museum)
Kalverstraat 92 and Nwz Voorburgwal 357
020-523 18 22
1012 CR Amsterdam, Nederland
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