I don't know about you, but I remember many a time sitting in a restaurant in good ol' southern New Jersey, and ordering my fries, "extra crispy." It's a diner town I'm from, so I think they know what that means.
Well, now I live in Amsterdam, a city devoid of proper diners. It's a pity. But for what they lack in 24-hour breakfast options, they make up for in the perfect french fry.
Okay, 'french fry' is probably not the best way to describe these things; 'freedom fry' definitely off base. These puppies are vegetarian fried Vlaamse frites. Twice fried to perfection, these potato delights are served in this city all the time. In cute, paper made cups, they come with the most tantalising array of delicious mayo-based sauces.
I know many would balk at the idea of dipping a fry in a mound of fatty mayo sauce (it's usually served with a heavy hand), but I say to them - don't knock it till you try it!
As soon as you hit the city after Centraal Station, you are basically inundated with fry operations. The most significant of which is Manneken Pis on the Damrak. I read elsewhere on the world wide web that someone rated this place as the second best in town. I said " whaaaat?" I disagree and wonder if the author ever went there. They give a nice glob of mayo (I like a lot), but the fries are just crappy. They're you're typical not well done, not unwell done fry. Lackluster to say the least, and I also sensed they arrived frozen. No good.
To actually experience the best fry in Amsterdam, arguably the best fry in the world, you have to dig a bit deeper than the city's main drag. You have to brave the brick labrynth-like side streets of the most notoriously crowded shopping streets to find THE fries of your life.
Located on a cut called Voetboogstraat, this place is easy to miss. Especially if you've experienced the Dampkring, just around the corner, then even mad munchies wouldn't get you there.
This vegetarian frites palace, known by the red awning over a modest sign: Vleminckx Sausmeesters. This, my friends, is the best fry joint in town.
Now, anything anno 1887 in Amsterdam is worth checking out. Remember, this city was basically at it's peak throughout the 19th century, this place is old - and still in operation. If the date isn't enough to convince you of its greatness, just check out the never absent line.
People young and old, fresh and foreign, local and homeless are in line for these Vlaamse frites. And, throwing up the title of sauce master is a pretty bold claim - that they live up to.
I know my favorite is the samauri sauce (think: spicy mayo), but I've just recently been introduced to spicy green pepper (awesome), and the fact that they allegedly have the best satay sauce in town (satay is a kind of pad-thai like peanut sauce, very popular here).
What's great about fries here is that they don't cost you a fortune. They're filling, delicious, and run you less than 3 euors for a klein (that's small in Dutch, and lets face it folks, you don't need a large - called middel here, oddly enough).
At this point, my own mouth is watering and I'm ready to run to their shop and grab a snack. For better or worse this spot is only open during shopping hours - 11.00 to 18.00 during the week, and a few hours on Sundays. Which is a blessing, and a curse. If I wasn't always at work, I have a feeling I'd be much more overweight.
Don't take my word for it - try them yourselves. You will be surprised how amazing a simple fried potato can actually be - with mayo on it! And don't be surprised if once you return home, you fries never taste the same.
Address: Voetboogstraat 31, just off the Spui
Open: Mon-Sat. 11am-6pm, Sun. 12pm-5:30pm
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