My memories of Amsterdam are always grounded by the flavor of an Indonesian rice table, or rijstaffel. It’s not really authentic Indonesian, but rather a dish that emerged during Colonial Dutch times in Indonesia that consists of dishes from throughout the extensive Indonesian islands, all served at once. Rijstaffel allegedly came to Holland post World War Two, along with many Indonesians who fled their country after it gained independence from the Dutch.
Rijstaffel dishes are multi-faceted and almost impossible to categorize. The combination presented depends on the chef; what can be safely said is that each dish contributes to a festival of flavors, colors and textures, from spicy and sweet, to tart and rich. Rijstaffel includes plenty of meat and poultry, yet it can be perfect for the non meat eater because it is rife with tofu and vegetable dishes as well. Rice – either white, or yellow and spicy – anchors the meal. There are condiments –my favorite is the toasted coconut and peanut, or the pickled vegetables and fruit – and to calm the heat, fat, fried bananas and crisp fried cracker-bread called krupuk.
Rijstaffel is a feast and a celebration, simply by virtue of the variety of dishes it includes. There are marinated hard-cooked eggs, which go right along with sate skewers, which sit near impossibly spicy and very fresh green beans. Aromatic eggplant is fried with onions; pork is braised in curry; chicken is teamed with lemon grass; and if the eye-opening spiciness isn’t quite enough, there is Sambel Oeleck – a searing hot sauce – to spread atop it all.
We enjoyed a take-out rijstaffel, which our Dutch friends, Jacqueline and Hayo, insist is the best the city offers. Their neighbors are Indonesian so they get to sample the authentic version of home made rijstaffel and they think Kediri measures up just fine!
I haven’t eaten at Kediri restaurant; but I’ve had their rijstaffel and it is gorgeous. To contact Kediri: Linnaeuskade 2, 1098 BC Amsterdam, Netherlands
+31 20 463 9140