The Next Food Haven: Rotterdam, The Netherlands

After 6 years of not setting foot in Rotterdam, a place I call as my fourth home, I came to the realization that this small city is now becoming a culinary destination. You see, when I moved there in 2008, I shamelessly lost 10 pounds in a span of 12 months - partly because of the hectic MBA schedule but mostly because of the famous Dutch, bland palette. No pun intended. Herring or cheese in a sandwich for lunch is not my cup of tea. My life saving meals consisted of Indonesian food, i.e. rice with flavorful meats, if I can go out to a proper Indo restaurant, Turkish chicken sandwiches, or Vietnamese spring rolls.   

Lo and Behold
The revitalized Rotterdam Central Station, where I used to literally tumble down the staircase carrying huge suitcases but now have escalators on every platform, and the opening of the Market Hall in 2014 have changed the landscape of the town. The grand Markthal showcases not only the best European delicacies, spices and sweets and a residential space but also exquisite Dutch architecture that Rotterdam is known for. It is a stones throw away from where I used to live and the famous yellow cube houses. What's there to not like?

Only in the Netherlands.
You can spend an hour alone just taking photos inside and outside of this building.
Flowers abound on the walls.
Time to go on a food hunt.
The cheese stall is now indoor instead of the outdoor farmer's market.
I'm a sucker for free tasting.
The fruit stall.
A display of mushrooms.
The meat stall.
Didn't know that the Dutch are fond of donuts.

Like the look and feel of this stall.
Having an indoor market is an advantage in this city wherein the rain is not your friend.
The Market Hall.
Could have used many cups of hot chocolate burning the midnight oil.
The cumin cheese is a must buy!
There's gelato too!
My favorite red pepper stuffed with cream cheese.
Everything one needs is inside the Markthal. There is an Albert Heijn grocery and even a Jamie Oliver restaurant.
The innovative cube houses.

A Special Gastronomic Treat
Since I only had limited time in Rotterdam and was not able to visit the highly anticipated FG Food Labs, which also opened its doors in 2014, my main pick in the capital, Amsterdam, is Restaurant De Kas. Situated inside an awe inspiring glasshouse with a mini nursery in the middle of Frankendael Park, De Kas is a must visit for any gastronome. I feasted on their lunch 3-course tapas with the freshest ingredients, most of which came from their own greenhouse and nursery.
This is a popular spot not only for dining but also for pre-nup photos. Saw a couple getting their pictures taken with their wedding attire.
Love the airy, modern theme at De Kas.
Beetroot and huge olives for appetizers
Love it when I'm one of the first customers. I saw it filled up in a matter of minutes!
Light and simple- berch fish with fennel oil, spinach and potato.
Mushrooms with mustard sauce. The old lettuce leaf with its brownish ends should not have been served.
A unique take to a savory pancake with squash.
You can then take a stroll in the park to burn off calories.
More photo ops at this location.
A playground. Can you see the swan on top of that tower?
Clicking on more photos.

Bicycles parked neatly outside of De Kas. That's the Netherlands, for you.
As for Me
I'm still trying to regain those 10 pounds back with no success. One thing I know for sure though is that if someone asks me "How was it living in Rotterdam?," I will no longer complain that the food and weather sucked. During my visit this month, I was greeted with a revitalized foodie scene and abnormal sunny weather.

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