Taste the multicultural food of Amsterdam
Try a food tour next time you visit Amsterdam.
Zosia and Esther-Hanna are two friends with a passion for street food. Their company, Hungry Birds Street Food Tours specializes in food adventures around Amsterdam.
Hungry birds take off
The idea of starting Hungry Birds was born when Zosia travelled to Asia in 2012 with her boyfriend and participated in a street food tour that took place on the back of motorbikes. “It was wonderful and very inspiring, mostly because it didn't feel like a tour, but rather a fun and easygoing day out with friends, tasting their way through the city.” During her trip around Indonesia, Zosia met Esther-Hanna. “We had a dream of creating a delicious, down to earth, local street food experience in Amsterdam. By creating Hungry Birds and following our hearts we became the feeders and storytellers of the city.”
Bringing Amsterdam to the world
The girls at Hungry Birds aim to create fun street food adventures. “We bring Amsterdam to the world through its street food, culture and daily life in a more open, casual and creative way. We believe in the universal language of eating the local food, hearing the stories, experiencing the diverse culture and all in all, having a good time. We like to think of ourselves as your local friends in the city. Your friends with whom you eat and travel locally and share experiences that connect you with the heart of Amsterdam through your stomach.”
The Hungry Birds groups are kept small to make sure their personal and conversational. “Our guests discover a city together with other travelling food lovers from all over the world and experience Dutch “gezelligheid” (coziness). It's more of an interactive food adventure. We ask our guests to be themselves, connect with other travelers, ask questions, share some humor, stories, inspire and hopefully, get inspired.” The food tours can be enjoyed either by foot or by bike. Either way, the experience lasts for about 4 hours and during a typical tour they visit between 10-12 locations, sampling the city's typical Dutch food as well as colonial and ethnic specialties. “We believe that sampling the local food from non-touristy and non-commercial, family run stands and shops, as well as learning the story about the food and its producers, gives our guests a proper insight into how the city ‘breaths.' It stimulates tourists to be more open-minded about a new destination and new tastes. It makes them curious and more active in searching for something different than the main ‘city attractions.'”
Greece or Japan in Amsterdam?
Amsterdam street food is very diverse because of the multicultural character of the city. You can for example visit Waterlooplein street market for a very authentic taste of Greece (visit Vasilis and taste his bougatsa) or Japan (visit Taka for his amazing Ramen soup and okonomiyaki). Dutch street food has been influenced by ethnic foods, mostly Indonesian and Surinamese due to the country's colonial past. “After the Second World War many Indonesian people moved to The Netherlands and they brought along a great Indonesian food culture. Rijsttafel (rice table) which consists of many side dishes accompanied by rice—I call it an ‘Indonesian tapas'—gives you a chance to taste many typical Indonesian dishes during one, big meal.” Traditional Dutch food is quite different though. “Probably the most fun and unique Dutch tradition when it comes to food, is eating a herring. Following the traditional way, you are served a cleaned herring with a tail, garnished with raw onions. You grab the fish by its tail and eat it when holding the herring above your mouth.”
When in Amsterdam…
“Try to discover the local eateries and places situated outside the main center of the city when you're in Amsterdam. Going out into areas like De Pijp, Jordaan, De Baarsjes, Noord and Oost will give you a better idea of what Amsterdam really is. Try to eat in small, family run restaurants, which are not too hipster and fancy but provide you with good, ‘home-made' meals prepared with love, care and attention. Do some online research and ask local people for a piece of advice. Enjoy the city and try not to be too much of a ‘tourist.'”
Check out the Hungry Birds' Food Tours the next time you visit Amsterdam. For more information and booking visit their website at www.hungrybirds.nl
by Fjóla Helgadóttir
Photos: Courtesy of Hungry birds