In Chinese there is a saying “民以食为天(mín yǐ shí wéi tiān)”, which literally means food is the paramount necessity of people. Food is an important aspect of Chinese culture. Did you know that there are over a thousand Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands? With different styles and unfamiliar dish names, it certainly makes choosing a good one a tricky task. Today we are going to introduce to you a few Chinese restaurants that we think you should try out. Note: if you know any other Chinese restaurant with great food, please share with us below!
Mandarijn Chinees restaurant (福禄 fú lù, Rokin 26, 1012KS. http://www.mandarijnrokin.nl/)
This restaurant is famous for its Sichuan dishes. One thing about Sichuan cuisine is for sure: it is spicy, numbingly spicy. Dutch people like putting sambal in their food to “spicy things up”, but comparing with the real Sichuan pepper and chili, the spiciness
of sambal is negligible. Sichuan, the hometown of pandas, lies in the south west of China, and it is always humid there.
Thus, people like to eat a lot of chili and spicy food to warm up their body. For spice lovers, the spices which make you sweating and tears swelling in your eyes, along with the maximum fragrance of the food inspired by the spices can satisfy one’s appetite to the largest extent. At Mandarijn Chinees restaurant, you can have the experience of real Sichuan food and challenge your “spiciness” limit. Their special dish “spicy sliced beef”水煮牛肉shuǐ zhǔ niú ròu (see the picture) is original and with large portion, and is definitely worth trying. The restaurant is very popular among Chinese people and it can be very busy from time to time. All in all, if you like Sichuan cuisine, this is the ideal restaurant for you.
Wing Kee (荣记饭店 róng jì fàn diàn, Zeedijk 76, 1012BA)
Wing Kee is a well-known Cantonese Chinese restaurant, and already has a history of 32 glorious years. Its “noodle soup with roasted duck and pork” 烧鸭叉烧汤面 shāo yā chā shāo tāng miàn s a typical Can
tonese dish and we highly recommend it. If you are in Amsterdam for one day,
after you walk in the city, do some shopping and sight-seeing, a lovely meal at Wing Kee would be a delightful addition. Do keep in mind that it can be very bu
sy during lunch time. Luckily the serving is very fast here. Normally you do not need to wait too long. Next time when you walk in Amsterdam, don’t forget to stop by Wing Kee and order a noodle soup –it will not let you down.
Ming Dynasty (明朝 míng cháo, also known as “Konotori, Spui 170, 2511BW)
Ming Dynasty is a Chinese restaurant specializing in sea food. Here you can have fish, shells etc. in its original Canton-Hong Kong style, just like this dish shown in the photo: steamed scallop with rice noodles (粉丝蒸扇贝fěn sī zhēng shàn bèi. Has it raised your appetite yet? If you are not a fan of sea food, that’s also no problem.
Here various wok dishes are also served. At Ming Dynasty, you can have lunch or dinner there, order a few small dishes, and slowly taste the rich flavor. However, some may find that the interior decoration is slightly old-fashioned and it is always busy there. Yet once you get used to the Chinese eating style –busy with your own food, talking with the people at your table as if you are at home –then it is very “Gezellig”.
Mandarin Palace (汉宫 hàn gōng, Nicolaistraat 35,2517 SZ. http://www.mandarinpalace.nl)
The cooking style at Mandarin Palace is mainly Cantonese, with a touch of western kitchen. Apart from the quite authentic tastes, the dishes here also have a delicate appearance which is mostly found in western food. The decoration style is also a mix of modern and traditional, Chinese and western. The combined style helps create a romantic feeling for diners. Therefore it is very suitable for a date as it will give you a wonderful experience of taste and sight. As for the price, it is also comparable with other Chinese restaurants. Thus it is definitely a great choice to enjoy a high-quality meal in a romantic setting.
Dim Sum(珍宝酒楼 zhēn bǎo jiǔ lóu, Kruiskade 72-76, 3012EH. http://orientparel.nl/en/)
Dim Sum is another nice restaurant specializing in Cantonese food. Unlike Ming Dynasty which focuses on sea food,
Dim Sum offers real Cantonese “dim sum”,which literally means small dishes. If you ever go to this restaurant, we recommend “shrimp dumpling” 虾饺xiā jiǎo as shown in the picture. This is a very typical Cantonese dish, with fresh shrimp as the filling, and very soft texture and smooth taste. Soup or noodles are also the specialties here. Many Chinese come here to have an “afternoon tea” and spend a lazy afternoon here with some delicious dim sums. Their small dishes also go along well with the cozy atmosphere of the restaurant and it will bring you a relaxing and satisfying feeling.
San San(食为天酒家 shí wéi tiān jiǔ jiā, Hang 33, 3011GG. http://www.sansan33.nl/)
This is a Chinese restaurant that serves Sichuan food. The dish “Fish filet in hot chili oil” 水煮鱼 shuǐ zhǔ yú is
widely recommended and adored by Chinese people. It has the inspiring spiciness in combination with the smooth texture of the fish filet, which makes it really satisfying for the appetite. It is served with big portion too. If you go there with two people, just order this dish and another two or three small appetizers, it would be enough or probably even have a bit left for take away. In San San, you can be amazed by the variety of spiciness in different dishes. It is the paradise for the fans of real spicy food. Moreover, the decoration style in the restaurant is also very original and has a natural and quiet atmosphere. So while you are sweating because of the “hotness” you feel through your tongue, the calm environment may help you cool down and focus on the spicy taste.
De Wok Malle Jan (大众美食汇 dà zhòng měi shí huì, Gageldijk 81, 3602AJ Maarssen. http://www.mallejan.nl/)
For those who have little experience with Chinese food, the restaurant in Utrecht/Maarssen Dorp “De Wok Malle Jan” is a good place to get acquainted with Chinese food. First of all, the restaurant is very big, around 10000 square meters, with a large parking lot as well. It is very convenient to go there with a car. Secondly, the decoration style of the restaurant is original and in authentic Chinese style, with red wooden furniture and blue-white porcelains. As soon as you enter the restaurant, you are surrounded by a strong Chinese atmosphere.
Thirdly, the food is real authentic Chinese taste, especially the hot pot 火锅 huǒ guō–apart from the a variety of vegetables, meat and sea food you can choose, there are more than 10 kinds of sauce to go with it as well. Malle Jan is very popular among Chinese people, especially students, because the good Chinese food and the atmosphere can make them feel at home. While in the restaurant you can also see a lot of Dutch people, who are intrigued and surprised by the kind of Chinese food that they are not familiar with. If you are not a fan of hot pot, there are also various Wok dishes, sushi, noodles, etc. to satisfy your appetite.
Tai Soen (大顺酒楼 dà shùn jiǔ lóu, Godebaldkwartier 275, 3511DR)
Tai soen is also a restaurant specialized in dim sum (small dishes). It’s ideal place for a lunch or an afternoon tea. Order a pot of tea and you can sit there for two hours to try out all kinds of small dishes, sweet or salty, cold or warm, soup or dumpling, etc.. The various tastes will not disappoint you. The decoration style is simple but cozy and it is not very busy there. Because it is all small dishes, so the price is also very decent. Location wise, it is close to the station and is quite easy to find. If you go to Utrecht, don’t forget to stop by and give it a try.
Wok restaurant Lotus (莲花酒楼 lián huā jiǔ lóu, Winkelcentrum brusselsepoort 2, 6216 CE. http://www.lotusmaastricht.nl/)
Wok restaurants are very popular. The “all-you-can-eat” style is attractive because of the variety in choices and also the fair price. Lotus is such a restaurant, with traditional Chinese style decorations and also high-quality food. The wok sauce is prepared carefully so that it goes well with all the ingredients. Moreover, the nice service and fair price also earn the restaurant a good reputation and many customers. Lotus is the favorite restaurant particularly among Chinese students in Maastricht.
Speaking of Chinese food, Dutch people would naturally think of “Babi Pangang”, “Sate”, “Nasi Goreng” or “Bami Goreng”. However, they are unfortunately not Chinese food, but Indonesian food. The possible reason of this misunderstanding are: 1) there were many Chinese people emigrated to Indonesia and therefore, the Chinese food was adapted with Indonesian style and brought to the Netherlands. 2) The Chinese restaurants in the Netherlands are always blended with Indonesian food, due to business reasons –Indonesian food is already accepted by Dutch people and it will bring more business chances.
For authentic Chinese dishes, we recommend:
咕咾鸡 gū lǎo jī (Ku lo kai): fried chicken with sweet-sour sauce
罗汉斋 luó hànzhāi (Lo hon chai): vegetables with Chinese mushrooms and tofu
芙蓉蛋 fú róngdàn (Fu yong hai): fried tomatoes with eggs (with no meat in it)
宫保鸡丁gōng bǎo jī ding (Kong pao chicken): chicken in sweet spicy sauce
麻婆豆腐 má pó dòu fu (Mapo tofu): tofu in spicy sauce
What is your favorite Chinese dish? Is there any Chinese restaurant that you’ve been to which deserves to be mentioned here? Leave your comments below! And for those who are not yet skillful in using chopsticks, check out our blog on how to use chopsticks.