Apparently I can’t get enough of food tours. When I started planning my week in Amsterdam, one of the first things I did was look at the food tours available, and the Eating Amsterdam evening tour in the De Pijp neighborhood sounded perfect. So on a blustery Tuesday, Gigi and I set off to see what kind of cuisines this part of the city had to offer.
We started off in a French bakery. I’m doing my best to avoid gluten and dairy because of my digestive problems, but luckily Eating Amsterdam was able to get me some substitutes. The guide brought me a buckwheat pancake, which actually tasted almost like a normal pancake, while Gigi and the other two women on our tour ate a lovely-looking pastry.
Next up was an Indonesian restaurant. There’s a lot of Indonesian influence in the cuisine in the Netherlands due to the country’s past colonization of Indonesia. We had what was called a rice plate, which involved several plates of food shared with the whole table. There was rice, a few kinds of meat, and lots of different veggies.
My plate might not look so full, but I promise I went back for seconds. I was already losing my willpower to pace myself on the food tour.
This section of Amsterdam had immigrants from other countries as well as Indonesia. Our next stop was a cafe run by a Serbian/Croatian couple. Again I was given a substitute dish since the one everyone else ate had flour and cheese. I wasn’t so crazy about the big pile of capers, but I did enjoy a few along with the carrots, potatoes, and other root vegetables.
Then they brought us dessert. Here’s where my strength to resist things that aren’t good for me really broke down. (Note: I do not have Celiac’s Disease, so I never tell restaurants I have a gluten allergy. Small amounts of gluten, or dairy for that matter, don’t bother me but larger amounts do.) They brought me a few little chocolate things that weren’t very memorable, but everyone else got chocolate cake. It looked too amazing to resist. I tried a bite of Gigi’s and it was even more delicious than it looked.
Next our guide took us to a Turkish store. Not a cafe or restaurant like most of the stops, but almost like a convenience store that also had a few cozy window seats and served up some tasty food. I think this was the first time I ever tried Turkish Delight, and it was as the name describes: delightful. I would’ve eaten a dozen more pieces.
Luckily we were nearing the end because I couldn’t fit much more in my stomach. Our second-to-last stop was a restaurant serving what are supposed to be Amsterdam’s best fries. They were served to us with a peanut sauce, which I thought was strange until I tried it. It turned out to be a really interesting combination, and I quite enjoyed it.
And finally the tour brought us to a local brewery. Again, I decided to have a beer despite its wheat content. I rationalized that it was a rather small beer and wouldn’t be a big deal, although when everyone decided to order a second round (not included in the tour) I ordered a glass of wine. One of the other women in the group actually went for the sampler which included four small glasses of beer.
One of the things I love about food tours, aside from the actual food, is the information about the neighborhood, the city, and how the food ties into the culture. The guide told us little snippets here and there, like how Calvinism still influences people’s decisions to not have curtains on the front windows so everyone can see into their homes. We learned that many of the streets in this neighborhood are named for famous Dutch artists. And we got to explore a part of the city that wasn’t on my radar.
Taking the Amsterdam food tour
Eating Amsterdam has several food tour options. I took the Twilight De Pijp Food Tour, which runs on Tuesdays and Thursdays. It costs 85 euros per person, and considering how much food is included, I think it’s well worth the price. Once you book your tour, they will send you the exact location for where to meet.
If you have food allergies or dietary restrictions, let them know ahead of time so they can make accommodations. I was up front with them about the fact that gluten and dairy bother me, but that I would most likely try a few bites of things that contained those ingredients. On past tours I didn’t say anything up front and just navigated my way around foods I knew would bother me, but this time it was nice to have substitutions.
Note: Sadly they are no longer offering this tour. However, they do have another one in the Jordaan district of Amsterdam, which is a little closer to the center and sounds just as amazing. Book the Amsterdam Jordaan food tour here.
I was provided with a complimentary tour from Eating Europe Food Tours, but I have paid for one of their tours in London in the past, and I would gladly do it again.
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