If you eat out only once during a trip to The Netherlands, be sure to prioritize this spicy dish.
Had I not stayed in an Air B&B accomodation when I visited Holland this past week, I never would have known about this gem of Dutch cuisine.
What does it entail?
Saté is a fare of Indonesian origin, and is comprised of skewered meat with peanut sauce poured atop; Indonesia once belonged to The Netherlands, explaining how it nudged its way into the kitchens of most retaurants across the country. Our lovely host, Hans, informed us of this treat when we arrived. It took me a bit of time and a sampling of my friend’s plate the following day, but I finally plucked up the courage to order a meal of my own.
My friend noshed some saté at a restaurant called Luden in the Plein, a lovely plaza five minutes from Centraal Station in The Hague with several restaurants offering expansive outdoor seating. The Dutch understand outdoor café culture: the tents often housed enclosed fires to keep customers warm as the nights drew in and ushered a chill into the city; each table is decorated with a burning candle and, often, vased flowers; and though crowded finding a seat was never a problem.
The saté arrived on a massive platter, a portion fit for an appropriately hungry person, or perhaps Beorn if he ate meat. One long stick poked through perfectly grilled chunks of meat swathed with the fragrant brown sauce, smelling of peanut and garlic but not too strongly. Fresh salad, some kind of crispy bread, and a serving of fries with chipotle-esque mayonnaise rounded off my friend’s supper morsel.
(May I add that I spooned chocolate soufflé into my maw for dinner?)
I plunged into my own course of saté in Amsterdam at a steakhouse called Rembrandt Corner, a happening little bar overlooking a sunny canal on a busy but not overcrowded side street, about 1.5 kilometers from Amsterdam Centraal. I highly recommend pairing the meal with a chilled mug of beer – preferably a darker brew, though my Bavaria washed it down nicely despite being somewhat lighter. The hot platter was perfect after a long day of walking and standing in the Van Gogh Museum – which, by the way, is entirely worth the long queues.
Tangy peanut, soy sauce, and gentle notes of brown sugar are the most prominent flavors. Apparently, an Indonesian variety of soy sauce called ketjap manis is traditionally used in preparation.
Interested in making your own saté for a weekend meal, a potluck, or even to stowe away for the midnight munchies? Below is a few links to saté recipes so you can bring the delicacy into your own kitchen, regardless of your location.
- Satay with Peanut Sauce
- The Best Chicken Saté with Peanut Sauce
- Dutch Peanut Sauce for French Fries (worth noting that the creator of this recipe is also the founder of Peanut Butter & Co)
- Saté Babi with Peanut Sauce
- Are you a fan of peanut butter?
- What is the oddest foreign food you’ve ever tried (and wound up loving!)?
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