Suriname Food Tour in Rotterdam, The Netherlands!

ln this Dutch adventure, we’re exploring a truly diverse cuisine that has influences from all around the world. As I explore the city of Rotterdam in The Netherlands, we’re jumping into a truly underrated food culture that deserves way more attention than it gets. I’m talking about Surinamese food, or Suriname food.

Suriname was a Dutch colony from 1667 to 1975, which is why there’s such a strong Surinamese community in the Netherlands.

Surinamese food is a unique and eclectic mix of flavors and influences. It’s a true melting pot that has incorporated Indian, West African, Javanese, Chinese, Dutch, and Amerindian flavors and ingredients to create vibrant fusion dishes with a Caribbean twist. Rice, cassava, and plantains are common, as are savory stews and spicy chutneys. Let’s explore Surinamese food in Rotterdam, The Netherlands right now!

Joining me on this food adventure are my good friend Melissa and my buddy and cameraman Mike. They’re both of Surinamese descent, so they were the perfect people to explore this amazing food culture with me.

Surinamese-African Food at Afhaal Restaurant

A lavender-colored bowl filled with pinda soup, a West African peanut soup that's a staple in Suriname food | Davidsbeenhere

Afhaal Restaurant has been around since 2017, but the man who owns it has been here since 1973. At this Surinamese-African restaurant, I watched them prepare pinda (a peanut soup with West African roots) containing chicken and salted meat. Peanut butter is one of the main ingredients!

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In fact, he adds four whole jars of peanut butter to a pot of boiling water to create the soup’s base. After an hour, they add the chicken, salted beef, and veal. Then, they make some round balls made from mashed green banana and cassava. The base alone smelled so good and took me back to my time eating Suriname food outside of Paramaribo!

The pinda soup with the fatty meat was mind-blowing. The cured, salted beef was extremely tender, and the entire soup was rich in flavor. I loved the slow-cooked veal as well, and the tasty chicken. The West African influences were very apparent!  

I also loved the banana-cassava fritters and the rice with it. Then, he added some very spicy mini fries. It was very hot! Then, I washed it down with a soursop drink!

For dessert, we had rice pudding with raisins and cinnamon. It was thick, cold, creamy, and full of flavor. I tried another version that was fluffier. I loved the almond taste in it! 

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Then, we also had some Heri Heri, an Afro-Surinamese dish containing cassava, sweet plantains, ripe bananas, green bananas, sweet potatoes, salted fish and a boiled egg. It’s starchy and a little sweet, mixed with the saltiness of the fish. It’s also the top Suriname food you should try!

Suriname Food at Afhaal De Palmboom Restaurant

A spread of Surinamese dishes, including chicken liver, sambal, curry lamb, green beans, and spicy chicken | Davidsbeenhere

Next, I met AJ, whose parents are from Suriname, who took me into his Suriname food restaurant, Afhaal de Palmboom. We watched the cooks in the kitchen roll out fresh roti and cook them on a hot tawa. I also watched them fry rice in a wok and deep-fry some bara.

At our table, we started with a milky drink called dawet before starting on a massive spread containing spicy chicken, chicken liver, vegetables, and more. The liver was soft and tender, and had a strong Indian-like flavor and went well with the yellow hot sauce. 

The roti was the perfect vessel for picking up the curry lamb, which was so tender, it fell apart in my mouth. Next was the curry duck, which is bony but extremely tender. The curry chicken was also excellent. The bara was more similar to an Indian puri than the Trini bara I was used to. It was almost like a sweet bread. 

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There was also an amazing spicy chicken. There was also a dish made from beans that had a meaty texture but also tasted a bit like chicken! I washed it down with a powerful ginger beer that opened up my sinuses!

Indo-Surinamese Food at Warung Mini

David Hoffmann and his cameraman Mike take their first bites of saoto soup, a Suriname food containing chicken, noodles, and bean sprouts | Davidsbeenhere

In the kitchen of this Suriname food and Indonesian food restaurant, I watched the cooks prepare noodle and fried rice dishes, as well as fried plantains, chicken sate, bara, cassava, bami, roasted chicken, pork belly, sambal, and more. I couldn’t wait to have some sate doused in thick, creamy peanut sauce!

At our table, we had saoto soup, fried plantains with peanut sauce, homemade dawet, and fried cassava with fish. 

The saoto soup contained noodles, bean sprouts, egg, and chicken in a delicious broth. They also have a vegan version. You can also add some different sambals, soy sauce, and peanut sauce. Some of the sambals are sweet, while others are very hot!

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I loved the spice of the sambal in the saoto. It was the perfect dish for a cool, rainy day like today. One of the sambals was very hot, but the peanut sauce was amazing. The dawet cuts the heat from the sambal!

The fried plantains were crispy and golden brown and went very well with the peanut sauce. It was so rich and thick! The chicken sate was also drowning in the peanut sauce, and blew me away! It’s the perfect mix of savory, salty, sweet, and creamy!

One of the best things to do is dip the fried cassava into the peanut sauce, and then dip the sauce-covered cassava into the saltfish. We also had some delicious tempeh, some chow mein noodles, bami noodles, and fried rice with shaved coconut on top. Of course, adding some peanut sauce and sambal to it took it to another level! 

What a great way to end my Suriname food tour of Rotterdam!

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