Visitors to Amsterdam are often surprised at the Surinamese presence in the city. After all, the South American country has a population of about 600,000, and its cuisine remains a mystery to most international travelers.
Dozens of Surinamese restaurants dot the city map, thanks to the large Surinamese population who call the Netherlands home. Their cuisine, which is difficult to find in the rest of the world, has become a veritable attraction in Amsterdam, and one that countless visitors relish.
Surinamese cuisine is a complex combination of multiple cultures due to nearly the entire population of Suriname originated from other countries. The cultures typically represented in Surinamese cuisine include African, East Indian, Indonesian, Chinese, Dutch, Jewish, and Portuguese.
Warung Spang Makandra
This Javanese-Surinamese institution has stood just outside the hubbub of the nearby Albert Cuypstraat for more than 30 years. Their typically Surinamese broodjes (sandwiches) reflect a broad culinary spectrum, from Creole pom (a meat-flecked tuber casserole) to Javanese (Indonesian) tempeh (fermented soy cakes). Their main dishes served with rice, roti or noodles, and the near-bottomless soups are some of the best values in town for dinner.
A Surinamese company that's well established in the capital city Paramaribo, Roopram Roti first appeared on Dutch shores via its location in Rotterdam, and soon opened a branch in Amsterdam. With a reputation for the best roti in town -- a soft, unleavened flatbread similar to flour tortillas -- customers don't seem to mind the queues or off-the-beaten-track location. The dishes served are superlatively authentic and deliver such a top-quality meal, you will feel like you traveled all the way to Suriname instead.
This Chinese-Surinamese hybrid is hailed as the best of its breed; even The New York Times has praised Kam Yin's broad menu and excellent dishes. From Indian roti to Chinese chop suey, diners can enjoy all this and more, and all for rock-bottom prices. Located on central Warmoesstraat and open relatively late, it's an ideal place to eat before (or after) you hit the town.
If Amsterdam ever cast their votes for best saoto ajam (and perhaps they should), Eethuis Marlon would certainly come out on top. The traditional Javanese chicken soup brings hoards of diners from Surinamese and Indonesian descent, as well as in-the-know locals.
This corner eatery is located between Albert Cuypstraat and Sarphatipark and has a lovely street-side terrace as well as indoor tables where diners can slurp their soup, no matter the weather.
Surinamese Restaurants Outside Amsterdam
While there's plenty of delicious Surinamese food to be had in Amsterdam, it's The Hague that wins nationwide acclaim for its Surinamese food. It's worth the hourlong drive to from Amsterdam to explore all this lesser-known city has to offer.
One of the city's top Surinamese restaurant is New Meyva, a small, cafeteria-like eatery a few steps from the Grote Markt (Great Market) in the historic center.
Don't miss the opportunity to take a tour of the city's other attractions while you're in town, from world-class museums and cultural attractions to seasonal events and the many excellent non-Surinamese restaurants.