Going Dutch: One Girl's Quest to Find the Food of Her Homeland -- in Phoenix
Diderique Konig Real Dutch licorice is made from extracts from the licorice root.
See also: Russian Memories at Golden Valley
Meet Diderique Konig, Chow Bella's fall intern. She hails from The Netherlands -- and she's hungry. Please share your suggestions in the comments section.
In Arizona, there is a restaurant to please just about every palate. Mexican restaurants are a staple on every corner. Italian, Chinese, and Middle Eastern eateries can be found with ease. You name the country and Phoenix will satisfy your food craving with a restaurant from that region of the world... unless you desire Dutch food.
Growing up in The Netherlands, but having lived in Arizona for the past decade, I find myself craving the food from my home country more and more often, which is where my quest to find the best Dutch foods started.
Although I found Dutch foods in Asian markets such as The House of Rice and Lee Lee's Oriental Supermarket, their selections are of course limited, so I looked further and with a more creative (and abstract) mind.
Many American foods resemble the foods I grew up eating, but beware! They are not the same.
Barbeque chips are much like the bell pepper flavored chips I love, but the American counterpart is sweeter and smokier in flavor.
After several people told me I could buy licorice at the grocery store, my heart skipped a beat. Could it be true?
I scoured the candy aisle, but all I found were Twizzlers. These strawberry and grape flavored rods do not even resemble the European version. Drop, as the Dutch call licorice, does come in variety of flavors and shapes, but it is always made using extracts from the licorice root and thus is often black in color.
(Editor's Note: Try Cost Plus World Market for licorice.)
The Dutch version of a hamburger is on the adventurous side for those used to the greasy well-done burgers popular in the United States, considering the Dutch love to eat these ground filet mignon burgers raw with just a little sprinkling of salt, pepper and some chopped onions. Nothing is better than a "broodje tartaar" after going out to the bars, or just as a snack during the afternoon.
Diderique Konig A "broodje tartaar" is the raw version of a traditional hamburger. Diderique Konig These apple and bacon pancakes are thinner in comparison to the American kind.
Moving right along to the next food comparison is the pancake. Whole American restaurants are dedicated to this breakfast staple (IHOP, anyone?), but the Dutch serve a larger, flatter version of the American kind. I'm not talking crepes here, but something slightly thicker, with a variety of delicious ingredients mixed in. The apple and bacon pancakes are my favorite.
The House of Rice sells the boxed pancake mix from which you can create your own masterpieces.
All this food needs to be washed down with something, and so that brings me to the topic of beer. Heineken is probably the most well known Dutch beer in the world. It is fairly tasty out of the bottle, even better from the tap, but best while enjoying at the Heineken brewery in Amsterdam. My personal favorite beer from The Netherlands, however, is Grolsch. In its characteristically green old-fashioned glass bottle, the taste is just as unique as the container's design. Luckily, I've seen this beer at stores around the Valley.
Now I just need to find the food....