The Netherlands has far more to its cultural food heritage than stamppot and bitterballen. This extends to Surinamese food, which is widespread here in the Netherlands.
Suriname and the Kingdom of the Netherlands
The Dutch had acquired Suriname from the English under the Treaty of Breda, in exchange for New Amsterdam (now known as New York). In the 17th century, the area was used as a plantation colony that used slavery for sugar cultivation.
Then, between 1954-1975, Suriname was a constituent country belonging to the Kingdom of the Netherlands, and in 1975, it gained independence.
Nonetheless, the country still has strong, social, cultural and economic ties with its former coloniser. For instance, the official language of the country is Dutch.
A cultural melting pot
But apart from the links between the Netherlands and Suriname, the country is truly a cultural melting pot. It is influenced by Asian, African, European styles, making for a unique blend of cuisine, and it is this cuisine that has become so popular here in the Netherlands.
So, we’ve spoken about the historical bit long enough. Now, let’s take a look at what you’re really here for — the food. Here are a list of four classic Surinamese dishes, covering all the parts of your meal, from the appetiser, main course, side and dessert.
So let’s start with the snacks. Bakabana (try saying that 10 times in a row) is a type of fritter using plantains, the larger, slightly more savoury sister of the famous banana.
And of course, it’s famous here in the Netherlands because the Dutch like their fried snack foods. It can be eaten as something sweet, but also as a savoury snack along with some peanut sauce.
View this post on Instagram
I know a lot of you love Surinamese food, so here is recipe no 1: Baka Bana. Yep more is comin 🇸🇷 • These babies are actually known in multiple countries as banana fritters. They are similar to the Indonesian pisang goreng with a slight difference in how we eat it. The batter is what makes it key: made with sparkling water that’s ice cold. Another trick is the doubly fry! The recipe is available on culinessa.com. • Are you team baka bana with peanut sauce or pisang goreng with a little dust of icing sugar? . . . #chaudfontaine #haalhetbestenaarboven #bakabana #surinaamseten #sranang #culinessaxsuriname #bananafritters #pisanggoreng #smullen #eetsmakelijk #genieten #lekker #lekkerensimpel *culinessapartner
The dish comprises of chicken, citrus juice (i.e. orange) and lufo pomtayer also known as “arrowleaf elephant ear,” a tropical plant.
In both, the Netherlands and in Suriname, Pom is pretty popular. The dish has a creole and Jewish origin and was actually introduced to Suriname by Portugese-Jewish plantation owners who initially used potatoes.
But Potatoes weren’t available in Suriname. So instead, they used the root of the tayer plant.
Many places in the Netherlands take this to the next level by serving up a broodje pom. Talk about fusion.
And here’s how you can make it at home.
If you’re a fan of Indian food, chances are you’ve had a roti before, a type of flatbread that is served alongside curries.
And Surinamese cuisine has its own variation, which differs slightly. Roti accompanies various Surinamese curries and meat dishes and is available at virtually all Surinamese restaurants.
And finally, we’re talking sweet stuff (a.k.a. dessert). A flourless, confection, bojo cake contains a fusion of raisins, rum, cassava, coconut, sugar coconut milk and almond extract, baked to perfection.
Served warm or cold with a dollop of whipped cream, you’ll be in heaven.
View this post on Instagram
Surinamese Bojo cake with yuca, coconut and soaked raisins. #bojocake #yuca #cookiesanddoughemporium #delicious #partycatering #foodemporium #patisserie #partyfood #instabake #foodtrend #surinamfood #baker #bake #dessertmasters #ilovebaking #pastryporn #pastrylife #pastrychef #pastries #homebaking #cakestagram #anniversarycake #cakejakarta #kuejakarta #cakedecorator #pastryshop #sweettreats #chefsofinstagram #cakelover #desserttablejakarta
Surinamese food is prevalent across the country, so you won’t have any trouble finding a nice place to grab a bite.
And in times of coronavirus (and generally when you’re feeling a little lazy), you can always order in your food. Just make sure to contact your local restaurant (and support small businesses) before looking at food delivery sites such as Thuisbezorgd, Uber Eats or Deliveroo.
What’s your favourite Surinamese dish, and what’s your favourite Surinamese restaurant here in the Netherlands? Let us know in the comments.