Amsterdam has commonly been a popular destination for its coffee shops, red-light district, and picturesque canals. However, take a closer look and Amsterdam’s food scene is definitely worth travelling for. From cute canal-side cafes and local dining experiences to trendy food markets and international cuisines, the food in Amsterdam is varied, up-and-coming, and delicious.
New faces in the Eatwith community
In this article, we introduce you to four new Eatwith hosts whose experiences we think should not be missed on your trip to the ‘Dam. From supper clubs and Dutch beer tastings to cocktail workshops and Polish dumpling classes, there is something tasty for everyone.
Amsterdam’s recently launched Jamaican supper clubs (or huiskamerrestaurant) are hosted by Londoner Ash in his home in Leidseplein. Ash is bringing something new and hot to the Amsterdam culinary scene, and it’s not just the scotch bonnet…
We spoke to Ash to find out what really gets him going, and the joys of hosting and bringing people together over Jamaican food.
What is the biggest difference between living in London and Amsterdam?
SIZE. Amsterdam is really a village with international city energy. This means it is easier to make and be active in a community (once you find the right one). It is also less tiring to be outgoing and attend events all days of the week which has a real allure to it for someone who is social and outgoing.
What are the most important ingredients in Jamaican cuisine?
Pimento (allspice berries), scotch bonnet chili peppers, thyme, ginger, spring onions, garlic – in almost every dish.
What brings you the most joy about hosting supper clubs?
Bringing people together and sharing Jamaican cuisine with newbies. I know many people who have struggled to find a group in Amsterdam because the Dutch are quite cold (friendly but cold) and have closed friend groups that you can’t get into, however well you get along with people. I have found that dinners at Ash Plek are really perfect for people to meet other local people whom they can learn about, laugh with and hopefully stay in contact with. After the first dinner, a guest who came along went along to the birthday party of another guest who was there who was previously a stranger. That is so important for me and I love those kinds of stories.
I am a proud British Jamaican and something Jamaicans are so proud of is our cultural impact on a tiny island. For example, whole sections of music culture derive from Jamaica (Hip hop, Reggae, Dancehall, Ska), and our athletes lead the world when it comes to Olympic time. However, many people don’t actually know where Jamaica is or about our food – especially in the Netherlands where they are far more familiar with the Dutch Caribbean. I really enjoy introducing guests to classic Jamaican dishes because it helps them to connect with the culture even more than they can digitally. I talk to guests about my influences for each dish and its connection to my upbringing or Jamaican households in the UK or in Jamaica. I hope it leads to a more rounded understanding of the island, the people, and the culture. I know at least 3 groups of Dutch dinner guests who are planning trips to Jamaica after eating at Ashs Plek. Success!
What ingredient would you take with you to a desert island?
Ginger. Ginger is very prevalent in Jamaican cuisine and day-to-day life because of its flavor and its medicinal properties. I feel like it would serve me well on a desert island.
Where in the world have you tasted the best food?
Jamaica of course haha. It isn’t as famed as Thailand and Vietnam but Jamaica has a very large street food culture so the very best food is purchased from a rickety-looking stall propped up on a street corner or at a beach somewhere. The best thing about these places is how you are directed to them; ‘tek a lef turn down by di big blue barrel and mister jerky is selling good food right deh so’. Classic Jamaican!
Want to discover a new Amsterdam supper club? Check out Ash’s here.
Polish host Gosia ran two successful food and beverage establishments in Shanghai before moving to Amsterdam in 2022. An expert host, mixologist, and author of two e-books, she now brings her talents to Amsterdam. She hosts in her chic and modern Amsterdam apartment with a lovely garden – the perfect setting for a warm autumn evening.
We spoke to Gosia to learn her favorite things about hosting and her workshops.
What are the three biggest differences between living in Shanghai and Amsterdam?
First of all it is how expats in Shanghai are all connected and most of them know each other. Although Amsterdam is much smaller, I don’t feel this unity of expats living here.
Secondly – the urge of being parts of communities. Maybe because China naturally supports the collectivist culture while Europe is more individualistic. Of course there are some communities here, but not on such a scale like in Shanghai.
Finally – the transportation. In Shanghai it is way cheaper and much more efficient. I do love biking, but in Shanghai you can ride the subway for 1 hour and it will cost you maybe 3 rmb (about 40 cents) or you can get a Didi (Chinese uber) and a 1 hour ride will cost you maybe 20 euro…They are always on time and arrive within seconds!
What are your go-to cocktails and mocktails to make?
When it comes to both cocktails and mocktails – I love experimenting and using seasonal fruit as well as jarred vegetables and shrubs to create new innovative flavors. However one of my staples is espresso martini – many variations of it. And of course pickle martini. Regarding mocktails – I love playing with colors, and creating 2 or even 3 color layer mocktails using teas like butterfly pea flower tea or hibiscus tea, herbs and natural juices.
What is your favorite thing about hosting?
I love bringing people of different nationalities, cultures and religions together over food and drinks – there is so much positive energy and inspirations coming from these kinds of gatherings.
What excites you about Eatwith?
I love it that this is a platform to share my passion with people from all over the world. After I had to close my resto in Shanghai due to the pandemic and moved back to Europe, I knew that joining Eatwith would be the best way to introduce myself and my skills here in Europe.
Who inspired your passion for cooking?
My grandma. I come from the family of farmers and I would always help her at the farm, learn how to make pierogi dough, how to make doughnuts, and many other comfort food that years later I served for my customers.
Get to know Gosia further at one of her hands-on workshops here.
Tarik was born to a Palestinian father and German/Indonesian mother and grew up on the multicultural island Curaçao. With food always at the core of his upbringing, he now lives in Amsterdam with his partner Martin and together they invite you into their UNESCO Amsterdam home for a fresh Levantine meal with a beautiful canal view. Tarik is a passionate cook and foodie, so we asked him some questions to get to know him better!