Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 32

Indonesian oasis in the heart of Amsterdam TEXT: KOEN GUIKING | PHOTOS: RESTAURANT PURI MAS

Due to its large Indonesian population, food from this South East Asian country is widely available in the Netherlands. A wonderful restaurant to taste this flavoursome cuisine and experience true Indonesian hospitality is Restaurant Puri Mas in Amsterdam. Puri Mas is a hidden gem in the popular restaurant district around Amsterdam’s Leidseplein. It is located on the first floor, with only a small entrance on the busy Lange Leidsedwarsstraat, and is surrounded by dozens of other eateries. Yet, this place has been around for longer than most of its neighbours. That is owed to Puri Mas’ excellent reputation. Many locals frequent this restaurant and tourists who manage to find it are often very impressed too, judging by the high scores and comments they leave on review websites. 32 | Issue 31 | July 2016

“We want to introduce our guests to Indonesian culture. And what better way to get to know a culture than through its food? We serve authentic food from various regions and aim to create an appropriate ambiance with Indonesian music, artworks and Asian hospitality,” says Serena Tjhia, dressed in original Javanese batik. Since her parents, the founders of Puri Mas, have retired, she manages the restaurant with her brother. Inside Puri Mas one can picture being in Indonesia: all the staff are Indonesian and dressed in batik, it smells of rice, herbs and spices and is an oasis of tranquillity in the heart of Amsterdam’s bustling city centre. Indonesia is an enormous country with a large variety of flavoursome dishes, from sweet, tangy or mildly spiced, to medium

and even really hot platters. To give guests the opportunity to try lots of different tastes, Puri Mas serves various rijsttafels consisting of over a dozen small portions of richly flavoured dishes. “This is actually a Dutch invention,” Tjhia explains. “In the time of colonisation, the Dutch planters used to serve their important guests rijsttafel to show off the abundance of their colony, for the Indonesian archipelago offered lots of herbs and spices, like galangal, cloves, cardamom and coriander. These were highly in demand in Europe and everywhere else.” Tjhia and her colleagues are happy to now serve their guests various rijsttafels, available for every budget and for any number of people, “even if you travel alone”.