Whenever I travel to a new city I spend as much time researching food-related adventures as I do the usual museum trails, parks and neighborhoods. My latest trip to Amsterdam for the holidays was no exception.
By consulting food bloggers (such as Amsterdam Foodie), travel sites and of course, Google, I learned that Amsterdam is home to a number of Michelin-starred restaurants, boasts a thriving Indonesian food scene, a brand spanking new food hall, and, of course, the usual fast food death traps.
From scouting supermarkets and outdoor markets, I’m here to tell you that wheat and dairy-based foods are incredibly popular. This is not the ideal vacation spot for a gluten-free, vegan. Virtually every bar and coffee house serves about four variants of cheese “tostis” – typically white bread, with Dutch cheese and maybe ham, tomato, etc. Other choices might be open-faced sandwiches on bread, pita-based pizzas, etc. You get the picture.
Being gluten-free, this narrowed my choices considerably, especially for a quick bite between museums, but no matter. Thanks to Your Little Black Book, I learned about FoodHallen, an indoor food market which opened a few months ago and is home to a wonderful array of food purveyors, from bakers to fine patisseries, Vietnamese to Indian food, gluten-free quinoa wraps, artisan tostis, mezze plates, oysters, and much more.
Each “booth”, tends to serve just handful of dishes – think of them as permanent food trucks. Located in a beautiful old glass, brick and steel warehouse, which used to be a tram shed, De Foodhallen is a fine refuge on a sleeting, wintery day. It’s warm and dry inside, filled with tables, large and small, and you can pick and choose your appetizers, main course and dessert from any number of vendors, which is exactly what we did. I started off with a glass of Prosecco – a popular drink in Amsterdam at this time of year.
We then took it in turns to gather our food. Monkey loves his gluten and opted to have an ‘aged’ cheese ham and cheese tosti (5.50 Euros) from Caulil’s Kaas, while I got a quinoa sushi wrap with chicken from Friska (4.25 Euros). These were just appetizers. Next followed a Vietnamese beef rice wrap for me from Viêt View, and a pulled pork slider for Monkey – which actually wasn’t so great.
To wrap things up, the young one got a massive tub of frozen yoghurt with fruit (in winter?!) and I window-shopped some mighty fine-looking chocolate tarts, but managed to resist temptation.
Not only is De Foodhallen a great pit stop, it’s an adventure in and of itself. Check out the web site for other events (although it’s in Dutch) – there are occasional markets and the whole area looks like it’s about to explode with boutiques. There’s also a movie theater and big book store in the same building. A fine place to while away an afternoon.
You can find De FoodHallen at Bellamyplein 51, Amsterdam