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Eating while watching your wallet isn’t the easiest thing to do on vacation. (A stranger I ran into today warned me I’d best brace myself for Paris, lest I think Amsterdam was actually bad.)
So imagine how happy I was to have eaten a three-course meal of sorts on the fly and spending only €8.20.
Amsterdam’s version of street meat
Albert Cuypstraat in the De Pijp district is home to “Amsterdam’s famous street market.” At least that’s how it’s cheerfully announced inside the tram as you pull up to the neighbourhood.
What you find is three long blocks of stalls selling all sorts of stuff — including food. (Check out parallel and cross streets for even more shops, restaurants, bars and cafés.)
I was hungry for a light meal so I headed right to a chip stand selling Flemish fries topped with mayonnaise.
Flemish fries
Perfect, thick cuts of potato, deep fried and lightly seasoned. A small portion is €1.65, plus 35 cents for mayo.
Next, the main course: Chicken balls.
Chicken balls
The meatballs are seasoned with salt, rosemary and thyme, from what I could taste.
These are richer than they look. They’re not very dense but from the taste (and the drippings oozing through the paper container) there is chicken skin mixed in.
I was full after five of them. The sixth one was just greed.
They’re sold in portions of eight chicken balls for £2.50.
How do you top off a meal like that? With little pancakes, of course!
Mini pancakes
They’re called poffertjes. And that dollop of stuff at the bottom? That’s butter. Use as little or as much as you like.
A small portion consists of 10 pancakes about 3 to 5 cm across. It’ll cost you £2. Toppings (including honey, syrup and Nutella) are extra.
Feeling guilty?
After that delicious meal, I felt guilty about not having eaten any fruits or veggies. Not to worry; there are fruit stands here, everywhere.
I bought a glass of fresh-squeezed orange juice (£1) and an apple (70 cents) to try and ease my conscience.
I’m not sure it worked, though. What did I have for dinner that day? A gigantic salad from the café at the Concertgebouw.