Thursday, November 16, 2017

[Travel/ Food Guide] Itinerary to Amsterdam (阿姆斯特丹), Netherlands (荷蘭) 2017.

Better known as Holland, Netherlands is a European country known for its flat landscape of elaborate canal system and windmills. Its capital Amsterdam, is also one of the most visited places by Malaysian, whether for leisure or business. Amsterdam has plenty of things to offer- Dutch cuisine, breath-taking scenery, vibrant nightlife and exciting happening; it's a busy city blessed with scenic countryside views. On our recent trip, we flew from Edinburgh to Amsterdam (via EasyJet, a low-cost carrier) for a short 3D2N stopover. 


While Dutch is the official language of Netherlands, the people generally understand English well, so communication is not a barrier here. Euro () is the official currency used. The city has good public transport system with Tram being one of the widely used, followed by buses. If you are there for a short period, we recommend to purchase Day passes (GVB Day Passes) if you are exploring the city. But if you are planning to explore further places like Zaanse Schans, their "Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket" works perfectly well. We purchased the latter one (2 Day Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket) for €26 per ticket. The Ticket is valid for all trams and public transport. More information can be found here. It is noteworthy that the Amsterdam & Region Travel Ticket can only be purchased at I Amsterdam Visitor Centers, we bought ours from Schiphol Airport Amsterdam. 

Pancakes Amsterdam
Address: Prins Hendrikkade 48, Berenstraat 38, 1013 GA, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Business Hours: 8 am to 8 pm. Opens Daily.
Website: http://www.pancakes.amsterdam/centraal/
Prices are nett
Tram Station: Amsterdam Centraal 


Almond Apple Pancake (€10.50)


Smoked Chicken Breast with Zucchini Pancake (€13.50)


Lemon Mint Tea (€3) and Orange Juice (€4.50/ large)


Dutch Pancakes are different from the usual American Pancakes we get here and one of the best chains to taste this local delicacy is Pancakes Amsterdam. There are a few branches across Netherlands but this particular one is strategically located right opposite to Amsterdam Centraal Station (short 5 minute-walk). The place is famous and there might be a short wait before you can even enter the restaurant. The menu has an extensive list of both savory and sweet Pancakes as well as some familiar American Pancakes. We had one savory and sweet each, the Smoked Chicken Breast with Zucchini stood out as compared to the classic Almond Apple Cinnamon Pancake. One traditional way of enjoying the Pancakes (whether sweet or savory) is to have them with a generous serving of Maple Syrup. 

Stubbe's Herring
Address: Singel, 1013 GA, Amsterdam.
Business Hours: 12 pm to 7 pm. Closed on Sundays and Mondays.
Prices are nett
Tram Station: Amsterdam Centraal


Herring (€4)


Speaking of exotic local delicacy, Herring is definitely one of the notable ones in Netherlands. The fish is brined raw and served with chopped Onions as well as Pickles after the fish is ripened. The bones would be soft by then and carried a salty seafood essence, it can be served together with a bun or just as it is. A short 10 minute walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station is Stubbe's Haring, a well-received Herring specialist in the heart of Amsterdam. The fish may possess a strong smell but the subtle seafood sweetness is one of the reasons why this delicacy is addictive. The Onions cleanse the palate with a pungent yet refreshing spiciness to counter-balance the tartness of the marinated fish. Herring is definitely one of the must-eat dishes in Netherlands.

Mannneken Pis
Address: Damrak 41, 1013 GA, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Business Hours: 11 am to 11 pm on every Sunday to Thusrday, 11 am to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Website: http://www.mannekenpis.nl/
Prices are nett
Tram Station: Amsterdam Centraal


Fries (€3.95/ Medium) with signature Manneken Pis sauce (€0.75)


Crowned as the best Fries in Holland, Manneken Pis is a brand that bagged multiple awards. Probably named after the famous peeing kid statue (also known as Manneken Pis) at Brussels, the gourmet fries specialist has customers queuing in anticipation everyday, waiting eagerly to have a taste on the fries. The fries are paired with different types of sauces... in which there are more than 24 types of sauces available. We had Medium portion served with the signature Manneken Pis sauce, which was more than sufficient for the 3 of us. The fries were beautifully cooked- thick cut and skillfully fried. They were crisp on the outside and soft-fluffy inside; the sauce on the other hand, was nothing out of the ordinary (probably to Asian). It was a somewhat a mixture between Thousand Island sauce and Mayonnaise... with a touch of spices and sweet note. Try-worthy choices include Truffle Mayonnaise, Curry Ketchup, Pesto Mayonnaise, Green Pepper Sauce and Garlic Sauce.

Foodhallen
Address: Bellamyplein 51, 1053 AT Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Business Hours: 11 am to 11:30 pm on every Sunday to Thursday, 11 am to 1 am on Fridays and Saturdays.
Website: http://foodhallen.nl/
Prices are nett
Tram Station: Ten Katestraat (Tram No. 17 for 7 stops to Ten Katestraat and walk approximately 250 meters)


Miso Chicken Ramen (€13.50/ large) @ The Bao WOWOW


Chicken Burrito (€12) @ Fento


Spare Ribs (€9.50/ half rack) @ The Rough Kitchen


Opened in 2014, Foodhallen is Netherlands' first indoor food market; it is housed in a former train depot and has more than 20 food stalls offering a wide variety of international delights. On weekends, the place is especially crowded; tables are occupied and (alcohol) drinkers are every where. It is a good place for people to gather and enjoy an array of dishes to go together with their alcohol (whether Beer of Wines). Types of food vary from Chinese, Japanese, Spanish, American, Dutch, Dutch or even Vietnamese. We had the Chicken Burrito which was fine, though not cheap, they did not skimp on the ingredients and the serving portion was huge. The Spare Ribs were okay but nothing great to shout about. The Asian in us urged us to get a bowl of the Japanese Miso Ramen but it was disastrous, the soup was bland and it tasted almost similar to instant noodles. Not exactly a cheap meal but this place is a great place to experience the vibrant eating cultures of Amsterdam.

Heineken Experience
Address: Stadhouderskade 78, 1072 AE, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Opening Hours: 10:30 am to 7 pm. Opens Daily.
Entrance Ticket: €16 per adult (includes tasting of Heineken Beer)
Website: https://www.heineken.com/Heineken-Experience/Heineken-Experience
Tram Station: Stadhouderskade (Tram 16, 24, 25 from Amsterdam Centraal)


Free Tasting of Heineken Beers


Complimentary Cheeses 


A proud Dutch creation- Heineken is certainly a big name in the Beer industry and the Heineken Brewery is definitely one of the must-visit places in Amsterdam. Visitors are advised to purchase the tickets online or expect an extremely long queue to go into the premise. There are plenty of interactive activities to do inside; apart from the background and history of Heineken, visitors may partake in the interactive activities such as name your Beer bottle, selfie with friends; at the end of the tour, visitors are also rewarded with a glass of Heineken Beer (most are only keen on this anyway, definitely not the history). They are also very generous with the souvenirs, each of us took home a glass of Heineken glass and a unique Heineken key chain. Expect to spend at least 1.5 hours inside. This tour is recommended, even if you do not drink. 

Canal Experience @ The Blue Boat
Address: Stadhouderskade 30, 1071 ZD, Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Opening Hours: 10 am to 6 pm. Opens Daily.
Entrance Ticket: €17 for adult (75 minutes)
Website: https://www.blueboat.nl/en/tickets.html
Tram Station: Stadhouderskade (Tram 16, 24, 25 from Amsterdam Centraal)


Since the entire city of Amsterdam is surrounded by canal, another way to explore the city is of course to travel by boat. If you are visiting Heineken Brewery, spare some time to join the canal experience right in front of the Heineken Brewery... operated by Blue Boat (purchase bundle tickets online for better rates). The trip takes 75 minutes and will bring you to see the another side of Amsterdam, including those living on waters and a brief trip out to the sea. This is definitely one of the experiences that you would not be able to experience in other countries! 

Zaanse Schans (The Windmill Village)
Address: Zaanse Schans, Zaandam, Netherlands.
Opening Hours: 9 am to 5 pm. Opens Daily.
Admission: Free
Direction: Take Rnet Bus 391 that runs from Amsterdam Centraal Station (every 15 minutes) and straight to Zaanse Schans (the journey takes 40 minutes). Return bus ticket is €10.


Some random shots of Zaanse Schans and the Zaans Museum


Catharina Hoeve Cheesefarms


Wooden Dutch Shoes Gallery


Stroopwafel (€2) @ The Chocolaterie

No trip to Holland is complete without taking a picture with the Windmill. For first time visitors, make your way to Zaanse Schans... also known as the Windmill Village north of Amsterdam. There is only one bus that travels to Zaanse Schans directly. The place is out of town so GVB Passes are not usable here but it is included in the Amsterdam & Region Travel Passes. The journey to Zaanse Schans from Amsterdam Centraal Station is approximately 40 minutes. There are plenty of things to explore in the village. Other than the Windmills, there are museums and shops available. Make sure to spare some time to explore this area, exceptional ones include Catharina Hoeve Cheesefarms (free samples of Dutch Cheeses and a variety of products on sale) and Wooden Dutch Shoes Gallery (for souvenirs and the quintessential photo with the Dutch shoes). Before you leave the place, be sure to grab a piece of freshly baked Stroopwafel, a type of Dutch cookie made with baked dough and caramel-like filling as well as bold Cinnamon flavor. 


Museum Quarter (I AMsterdam)


Street Views of Amsterdam

Have Fun Exploring Amsterdam! 

3 comments:

  1. Climbing up to that 'I AMsterdam' is allowed?

    ReplyDelete
  2. You went to Europe and had ramen? Duh!!!

    ReplyDelete