Friday, November 05, 2004

Food, glorious food!

As you might know by now, I grew up in Norway. At the age of almost twenty I moved to the Netherlands, and a world of exotic food opened up to me. I got to know about herbs and spices I had never smelled, let alone tasted before. To my big surprise, though, much of the stuff I was used to from home was not available in regular supermarkets so I had to go hunting.

The hunt made me enter shops I had never noticed before: little Indonesian stores and Turkish and Moroccan markets tucked away behind little windows and closed doors. Once I entered a new shop, I would be amazed at all the variety of spices. Sometimes I still have to pick up the produce to sniff it to determine what is inside the packaging. It is hard to tell the difference between coriander/cilantro and flat leaf parsley by looking at them. Getting a sniff of the herb is usually enough to make sure you have the right kind.

The Rotterdam Saturday market is one of the biggest I have ever seen. You can get everything from "fresh" fish to tv's. The parts of the market I enjoy the most are the stalls where I buy my spices and my tea. There's nothing like waiting in line at one of these stalls!

The title of my post is "Food, glorious food!", and this is not without reason. I love cooking, and I have learned to appreciate the Asian kitchens (yes, kitchens, not kitchen). The Netherlands had colonies in Asia which has greatly influenced the food in this country. On more or less every corner there is an Indonesian restaurant, and I just love it! On the other corner, you will find the typical Chinese place, and if you're lucky, you'll find a Surinamese take-away hidden away in a dark alley.

OK - Suriname is not part of Asia, but their cooking certainly has very strong Asian elements mixed with hot African dishes (Suriname was another Dutch colony, and many slaves were transported from Western Africa to South America - needless to say they took their cooking with them and this has been mixed with Indonesian, Chinese and Indian traditions).

Back to my original point: glorious food. Here's a website I stumbled upon just a few days ago: Mr. Danzo is definitely Chinese so don't you dare be picky about his English! His recipes are great, and if you visit the forum, you will find that he will add more at your request. How about this one: Shredded Beef Tenderloin In Beijing Style Sauce or Stir Fry Beef With Green Bean Spout And Chive.

I can't stop drooling!

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