We use cookies to improve your experience on our website. Accept | Find out more


Faraway, So Close

A colonial feast that brings everything to the table

Author Jay Cheshes

A rijsttafel spread at the Indonesian restaurant Puri Mas, in Amsterdam

AMSTERDAM—The rijsttafel, or “rice table,” is this city’s most famous feast, as emblematic as bike-riding grannies. Yet its foods don’t come from the Netherlands at all. The concept is a holdover from the Dutch colonial era, when plantation honchos in Indonesia, eager to impress visiting dignitaries, would introduce the many exotic tastes of their adopted home in one fell swoop. The spread included a mound of rice and up to 40 small dishes to go with it—iconic recipes from across the islands such as gado gado (vegetables with peanut sauce), sates (skewered meats), sambals (chutneys) and rendangs (coconut beef).

These days most of Amsterdam’s many Indonesian restaurants, catering to a Dutch audience, serve some version of the rijsttafel. Puri Mas, one of the more lavish such eateries, offers a royaal rendition with around 20 dishes. Blauw, a sleek, mood-lit spot that counts goat sate and cinnamon-dusted roast lamb among its rotation of dishes, prepares the whole thing to go if you’re hosting a banquet at home. Most rijsttafels are a major commitment—you need a big group, a huge appetite and a few hours to kill—but at Café Kadijk, you can slip in solo for a miniature take that features six or seven items on a single plate. It’s the city’s fastest and cheapest version of the classic feast, worth trying even if your only experience with colonies has been ant-related.

13 Responses to “Faraway, So Close”

  1. Rhonda Cushman Says:
    January 23rd, 2013 at 5:07 pm

    G\Flying West, I saw a recipe in January 2013 Hemispheres issue that featured chicken and rice in an Indonesian style, I think it was in something called “Chef’s Table”. Decided to look for it again on the way back. Flying East the magazine had a completely different food and drink section, and no sign of the recipe I wanted. Couldn’t search for it online either. Why don’t you make your chef’s table recipes available for search?

  2. Free Classifieds Says:
    June 11th, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Thanks very much for this great article ;this is the stuff that keeps me going through out these day.

  3. Design Online Pros Says:
    October 4th, 2013 at 9:52 am

    Thanks for taking the time to discuss this, I feel strongly about it and love learning more on this topic. If possible, as you gain expertise, would you mind updating your blog with more information? It is extremely helpful for me

  4. toughfashion.com Says:
    December 23rd, 2013 at 6:09 am

    I am hoping to be able to lead & help some other users such as it’s aided me.

  5. Etsy Says:
    December 27th, 2013 at 6:05 am

    I am writing a term paper on this topic and came across your post which was very helpful. Hence I’ve taken some points that might apply my work to it greatness.

  6. celebswear.com Says:
    December 31st, 2013 at 6:31 am

    Interesting and Informational. Bravo.

  7. Angeljackets Says:
    January 1st, 2014 at 12:09 am

    I think you are gifted with an amazing natural talent of writing.

  8. Sandra Carol Says:
    January 3rd, 2014 at 8:29 am

    Thanks for making your short post and informative, I am not much of a reader but I really appreciate.

  9. Sandra Carol Says:
    January 3rd, 2014 at 8:32 am

    Thanks for the info, it’s really great that your website has so much interesting stuff to read.

  10. Bill warren Says:
    April 28th, 2014 at 3:29 am

    I love Netherlands Food and this dishes is really feel like to much tasty. I really want to eat them. Yum Yumy.. celebsoutfit.com

  11. try here Says:
    June 15th, 2014 at 7:50 am

    Excellent article. Very interesting to read. I really love to read such a nice article. Thanks! keep rocking.

  12. Superman Smallville Jacket Says:
    August 28th, 2014 at 2:48 am

    This article assisted me very much! I am impressed from the fantastic lucidity in your writing. Stay informed with updates like this.

  13. laurenmiller9 Says:
    August 28th, 2014 at 3:17 am


    I definitely keep this on my mind; I think you are giving knowledge easily replicable for those who are much familiar about this. Great post.

Leave your comments