Meet Rotterdam’s most popular snack, the broodje Suri.
Words: Ellen Scholtens
If you like exotic yet familiar flavours, then a broodje Suri is the ideal snack for you. It is Surinamese bread, which is a bit like a pistolet bread roll, with Surinamese fillings. Or as Surinamers call it: toespijs. Given the former Dutch colony’s African (Creole), Indian (Hindustan), Javanese and Chinese influences, there are lots of different versions of this Surinamese snack, but pickled cucumber and a dollop of hot sambal are standard extras. Chicken curry is the most popular filling, even though the recipe differs from place to place. Some Chinese cooks add peas to their curry, for instance.
Warung Mini and its affiliated Mini53 in the Witte de Withstraat (open till 6am at the weekend) have a great tempé filling (fermented soya beans). Our tip is to order kouseband (a long green vegetable) as an extra filling – it goes great with the tempé. In the stately Scheepvaarkwartier, not that far from the city centre, there’s a little food cabin belonging to the ebullient Dennis, who hails from Cape Verde and sells broodjes Suri and a cross-section of Dutch and other exotic snacks, including Bara, roti, and telo rolls with fried cassava. Come lunchtime, fans line up to grab a bite to eat from his snack bar, Dennis Frietpaleis, located at 1 Parkkade, right next to the Maas. A handy spot for passers-by and also for the water police who regularly pull up in their boats to pick up an order for their colleagues.
It’s also pretty crowded at De Palmboom, a family business operating both from the Vuurplaat in Rotterdam-Zuid and in the Markthal, where it has been busy since opening in 2014. Tourists might need a bit of help with the menu, but Rotterdammers know what they want and are quick to order a delicious chicken curry roll to munch on while wandering around the food stalls at the market.
Chinny, strategically located on the Hoogstraat right outside the Markthal and also on the Lijnbaan to capture folk having a night out on the town, is very popular with the young crowd. The menu includes bread rolls filled with curried eggs, pom (an oven dish made with tayer plant and other ingredients), potato and vegetables, salt-cured beef, tja saw (roast pork) and dried, salted fish. Sometimes it’s cod, but some businesses may use less expensive species such as coalfish.
There’s also King Foeng at 232 Nieuwe Binnenweg, which offers bread rolls with black beans and chicken, and Sranang at 211a Nieuwe Binnenweg.
The broodje Suri epicentre, however, is on the West-Kruiskade, due to the fact that this street and the 1e Middellandstraat that it extends into is a melting pot of cultures. Some swear the best broodje Suri comes from Cong’s Place at 30b West-Kruiskade, while others recommend Akko a little further up at 127b on the 1e Middellandstraat.
Another place to try is Kiem Foei at 29a-31a on the Kruiskade, a Javanese-Surinamese-Chinese-Caribbean eatery that has been serving a rich diversity of customers since 1976. Grab a seat, order a broodje Suri and sit back and mingle.