One of the amazing marvels of exploring the world (or the upsides of the remnants of colonization – you say to-may-to, I say to-mah-to) is that you can go to one foreign country and be surrounded by the new cuisines of nations around the world. A trip to the Amsterdam isn’t just a great opportunity to try Dutch food, but also to try the cuisines of Suriname and Indonesia, which were both colonized by the Dutch (there are therefore a lot of Surinamese and Indonesian immigrants in Amsterdam).
Surinamese cuisine (it’s a tiny country in northern South America) is a fusion of Amerindian, Chinese, Indonesian, East Indian, and African cuisines. I tried the bacalao over fried cassava because I wanted to try something different, and it was so unique that I had to describe it here.
The bacalao was very fishy and a bit salty, and quite savory. It had the perfect firmness and a texture that reminded me a bit of brisket (but a little stringier). The cassava was sweet and salty (think 60% french fries, 30% banana, 10% doughnut). The texture had the softness of a baked potato but the stringy structure of celery.
There are tons of recipes for bacalao online for all you experienced chefs out there. For those of you looking for something new and easy, I would definitely find out if you can find cassava (you could also try searching for yucca root) at a store near you. Slice it up and sauté it with a bit of canola oil – don’t forget the salt!