Monday, May 4, 2015

Eating, Exploring on Wheels | Amsterdam


Stumbling upon De Riekermolen by accident on bike
Strolling through Albert Cuypmarkt, Amsterdam's century-old street market back in late March, one cannot help but feel a sense of renewal as winter gently gives way to spring. Seasonal produce of all colors of the spectrum abound, competing with stall after stall of budding tulips and vibrant blossoms. At roughly 4pm on a Thursday afternoon, under the glowing early-spring sun, chic, modishly dressed locals are already crowding the scores of bars and bistros lining the streets, creating a vibe that is both convivial and remarkably lively. After combing through every fishmonger, Dutch cheese and spice trader, I appeased my fervent craving for broodje haring then picked up some fresh produce for my kitchen back home.

(Clockwise from top right) The historical, lively Albert Cuymarkt street market bustling with locals and hungry visitors, chefs and homecooks; the famous I AMSTERDAM logo on Museumplein; pretty faces of the flower capital of the world!
A city best explored on bike or on foot, Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of my favorite cities in the world. My favorite thing to do? Hopping on a bike, ride along the locals, and head towards the concentric circle that is the city center, exploring one fascinating layer after another just like peeling an onion. Whether day or night, the numerous canals running through the city exude magic - especially when dusk falls, and when the lights light up the rolling banks and charming bridges. When in need for an escape, I'd head south or west, leisurely riding through peaceful parks and along rivers, occasionally stopping to take in views of olden windmills and fields of tulips and daffodils so iconic of Netherlands.

Not only does Amsterdam host some of the most genteel and friendliest locals, it also boasts amazing eats that foodies will go head over heels for. Among the many food finds I have compiled a short list of must haves on my every visit to Amsterdam.

(From left) Broodje haring - freshly deboned raw herring with onions and pickle in a sandwich; Dutch pancake - nuf' said; Dutch apple pie - flaky crust piled high with thinly sliced apples and topped with streusel!




Oh, did I not mention there is that Amsterdam Heineken Experience?

My favorite dessert spots...

De Laatste Kruimel, Langebrugsteeg 4: a cute and welcoming pastry and coffee shop, serving up all kinds of homemade pies and quiches, overlooking a canal
Pannenkoekenhuis "Upstairs", Grimburgwal 2: a quirky, cozy, dainty little pancake house upstairs of possibly the world's steepest steps, serving up traditional pancakes

My favorite street markets...

Noordermarkt, Joordan
Albert Cuymarkt, De Pijp

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