Travel Guides for Un-tourists


Exploring Amsterdam’s Superb Asian Restaurant Scene

by Sarah Fielding

posted on February 15, 2019

Photo Courtesy: @seapalace

On any trip there are always sites to see, parks to visit and, potentially the most important, local food to eat. Yet, in a city known for its pancakes and stroopwafels, another food narrative has emerged in the past 30 years. Amsterdam has become a hub for truly-delicious Asian food. So ingrained in this city’s culture has it become that, to not experience it, would be like ignoring an entire part of Amsterdam itself. With an overwhelming number of choices and likely only a few days on your itinerary, it can be hard to choose where to go. To make it easier for you, we’ve rounded up some of the best restaurants for you to try.

Photo Courtesy: foufowramen

After traveling to Japan to learn the art of ramen, Fow Pyng Hu, a Chinese filmmaker, opened Fou Fow Ramen on Elandsgracht. After the success of the first shop — ramen is, after all, an ideal antidote to Amsterdam's typically-overcast weather — Hu opened a second location on Van Woustraat in de Pijp. Patrons can customize their ramen with a myriad of broths and toppings, or stick to the traditional tonkotsu pork ramen.

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Fried gyoza, tan tan ramen, sake, fried chicken wings, lemon ginger chicken broth

Photo Courtesy: dejapannerwest

The izakaya-style De Japanner invites patrons to take their time and linger over drinks while indulging in Japanese finger foods. Beer and sake are traditional, but the cocktail list is also worth exploring; consider trying the Gingerbread Man From Japan (vodka, speculaas liqueur, apple juice, ginger beer, spices, and lime). While fundamentally, izakayas are about conviviality and getting tipsy, the food here is nothing to scoff at, with an assortment of shareable dishes on offer.

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Miso-glazed duck, eggplant with mushrooms, herring, chicken katsu, yuzu cheesecake

Photo Courtesy: happyhappyjoyjoyams

If your group can’t choose where to eat, Happy Happy Joy Joy is the solution you need. Bringing together street food from places like Hong Kong and Bangkok, there’s truly something for everyone here. Split some bao and finish it off with pho or go for some curry and dumplings. On top of that, the entire restaurant is designed in a colorful, eclectic design that will bring you even more happiness and joy.

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Shrimp Shao Mai, pad Thai, Goi Bu’o’i salad, fishcakes, meatballs

Photo Courtesy: cityguysnl

Started by two Japanese immigrants following their stint at an Amsterdam-based Michelin star restaurant, EN Japanese Kitchen & Sake Bar changes its menu every month. Pair dishes such as spinach salad with crab or walnuts and tofu with fig-miso alongside one of the 20 sake options for a truly scrumptious Japanese meal.

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Sweet sake martini, tuna sashimi, unagi tempura, pan-fried crocodile, truffle omelette sushi

Photo Courtesy: Restaurant Nam Kee

Open since 1981, the Cantonese-style Nam Kee came to fame following the release of the book and film Oysters at Nam Kee, a nod to its steamed oyster dish. Boasting an extensive menu filled with everything from Chinese goulash noodle soup to stir fried Chinese mushrooms and squid, the biggest challenge here is figuring out what to choose.

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Won ton soup, crispy pork, duck and noodles, spring rolls, mixed roasted meat plate

Photo Courtesy: stephhays

If you go to Japanese Pancake World expecting Dutch pancakes, you'll be in for quite the surprise. Here you'll find okonomiyaki, an eggy dish popular in the Kansai and Hiroshima regions of Japan that's more akin to a frittata than flapjacks. Made with cabbage and mountain yam, these savory pancakes can be topped with anything from mayonnaise to shrimp, our favorite: yakisoba. Pro tip: try to get a seat at the bar to watch the cooks in action.

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Osaka deluxe okonomiyaki, don-don-style okonomiyaki, butatama okonomiyaki, Super Power Okonomiyaki

Photo Courtesy: rongastrobarindonesia

If you feel like venturing a little outside the main drag to Amstelveen, head to Ron Gastrobar Indonesia. You’re in particularly good hands here, as chef Agus Hermawan was appointed the Ambassador of Indonesian Cuisine in the Netherlands. As for the menu, expect classic Indonesian dishes like gado gado (steamed vegetables and tofu in peanut sauce) and nasi goreng (fried rice) as well as Dutch-Indonesian fare like tuna tartare with miso-ginger mayonnaise and foie gras with wild mushrooms.

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Iga baba bakar (spare ribs), satay, or get one of the rijsttafels (translation: rice table; essentially a set menu revolving around rice)

Photo Courtesy: seapalace

Serving Amsterdam since 1984, this 650-seat floating Chinese restaurant will make you feel like you’re entering a whole new world. Located near the Central Station, Sea Palace is the perfect place to get Cantonese cuisine after arriving in the city hungry. Patrons flock to the restaurant for dishes like Beijing duck, hot pots, and traditional dim sum spread across three floors.

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Roasted duck, Taiwanese hot pot, pork dumplings, egg rolls, three cups chicken

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