In addition to popular attractions like the Anne Frank House and the Rijksmuseum, a rijsttafel is something else I want to experience whenever I make it to the Netherlands. A rijsttafel is a Dutch word that literally translates to “rice table” and is an elaborate meal that was developed during the Dutch colonial era in the Dutch East Indies (what today is modern Indonesia). It consists of a ridiculously large number of side dishes (40 is said to be common) that are prepared in several different ways and accompanied by rice. Some of the more popular side dishes include egg rolls, sambals, satay, fish, fruit, vegetables, pickles, and nuts.
It’s said that the rijsttafel was developed so that Dutch colonialists could not only enjoy a vast array of dishes in a single setting but also as a means of impressing visitors with the multitude of exotic food wares available in their colony. In short, I think this would be the epitome of all gourmand experiences even if I probably wouldn’t want to eat for days. There is no shortage of rijsttafel options in the Dutch capital of Amsterdam, the problem is just choosing one.
Last weekend my parents came to visit but alas no, I was not up to the task of preparing my own rijsttafel. However, I was craving Indonesian fare (I’m not sure exactly why since I’ve never had it before) and found a couple of good and relatively simple recipes to try. Mie Goreng which are Indonesian Fried Noodles and Indonesian-style Grilled Eggplant with Spicy Peanut Sauce (I don’t own a nut grinder so the peanuts had to remain whole).