I tell everyone about this kielbasa sausage, Vahala – top product of Czech origin. The Czech name is klobása. Some people laugh at me and wonder how I can get so excited about a sausage. Fair enough, laugh all you want, but trust me, you must try this sausage. I’ve convinced a few people to try it out, and every time I have my 35 minute stopover at Prague airport on my way back to Amsterdam, I grab the sausages and run to my gate.
We spent our second night in Frýdek-Místek at Staročeská bašta, a Czech cuisine restaurant. It also had pizza, burgers and buffalo wings, but for the most part, authentic Czech food. Czech cuisine is very meat-based, and in particular pork is abundant. Do not order fish in this country! The meals are the kind that will sustain you through a long winter, so heavy and with lots of carbs. A staple is the dumpling (knedlíky), which is wheat or potato based. The wheat ones are steamed and then sliced like bread, and have a strong resemblance to the Chinese mantau (steamed bun). So perusing the menu I was looking for something with pork and dumplings… (more…)
This is my fourth and final work visit to Frýdek-Místek in the past six months. Wondering where that is? It is a tiny town in the Czech Republic, population 60,000, and perhaps 30 minutes from Ostrava. It used to be two independent towns, Frýdek and Místek, divided by the Ostravice River. But then the prince of Frýdek fell in love with the princess of Místek and they united the two towns. That is obviously a blatant lie, but it makes for a better story than the truth, which is that the Nazis forced the towns to merge during the occupation in WWII. Enough of the history lesson, because this is where it gets weird. There are a lot of Koreans in this town. In a big city this would, of course, not be weird. But this is Frýdek-Místek! The very first time I travelled here I immediately noticed the large amount of Korean men on the flight. What are they doing here, I wondered. Turns out the answer was simple, there’s a Hyundai factory nearby. And then came the gem: where there are Koreans, there are Korean restaurants. So I go to Restaurant Benu every time I’m here. Last night my predictability in food choice was proven when a colleague that lives here decided to try to find us without calling and here was his reasoning process: they’re out for dinner. There’s two likely places, the Irish pub or the Korean. Selma is with them. They are at the Korean. (more…)
Where do 7 people go out to dinner on a Monday night? You may have noticed that a lot of restaurants are closed on Mondays, making it difficult to find a place to go. We went to Red Pepper: a Szechuan (or Sichuan) and hotpot restaurant. We’ve been to the hotpot part once, and it’s pretty good but we prefer the restaurant section. This was our third visit to the restaurant and when we’re feeling too lazy to leave the house we get delivery from here. They’ve recently expanded their delivery menu to include their more special dishes, and if you call and ask, they’ll usually let you take away (or deliver to your doorstep) most anything from their regular menu.
It was unseasonably warm last week, so on a whim, my friend D and I decided to enjoy the last summer rays by having lunch on the terrace of Brasserie Stadhuis. Three courses and two and a half hours later we stumbled home for a nap before continuing the evening at cocktail bar Level.
There are several places where you can have a good brunch in Rotterdam. We frequently visit Picknick. This place, with its distinct hipster yet unpretentious vibe, is always busy, especially in the weekends, so get there early. During peak lunch hours you’ll probably have to wait for a table or get squished between several people at their long picnic tables. There’s more room in the summer because they open up the terrace in the back, but that just means more people will come. (more…)
On the Pannekoekstraat sits a tiny Chinese restaurant called Beijing Bao (formerly Eethuis Bij Bao). We’ve been there every week for the past four weeks, and it is hands down, my favorite Chinese restaurant in Rotterdam. It’s Beijing style Chinese with a heavy Szechuan influence, so if you can’t handle heat, be careful what you order! They indicate heat level with peppers (zero to three). (more…)
A year ago, I was sitting in Xiamen International Airport, gate 8, when a friendly-looking guy walked up to me and said “Hi, my name is Jimmy and I’m doing some research for university and was wondering if I could ask you some questions. It’ll only take about 10 to 15 minutes.” My usual answer to these kinds of inquiries? No thanks. But my flight was delayed, I was bored, and like I said, he looked friendly! Thirty minutes later we were still talking, interview notes cast away. And an hour later I was in the airplane on my way to Jakarta, inspired to change my life. What happened in that waiting room? (more…)