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The Dutch Chinese takeaway menu explained

Over the weekend, I had a long conversation with a friend about the typical menu of a Chinese takeaway in the Netherland. Being exposed to Asia for a long time, we both know that the typical menu from a Chinese takeaway counter in the Netherland is not exactly Chinese. 

Growing up in Indonesia, the typical menu of a Dutch Chinese takeaway is a clear giveaway that it's an Indo-Chinese variation of the Chinese cuisine, Dutchified. Oddly enough, most of the Dutchies know how to pronounce this dishes name almost as they are their national dishes. These are some examples of those adapted dishes:

  • Babi pangang

In Indonesian, the spelling would be 'babi panggang' which translate to grilled pork. How do you know this is a Chinese-Indo dish? Well, the majority population in Indonesia is predominantly Muslim. This narrows down the other populations who consume pork to the Balinese or the Chinese. Judging by the tomato-based sauce and seasoning, this babi pangan version leans more to the Indo-Chinese inspired as the Balinese's famous pork dish, babi guling (suckling pig) is quite a far fetch from this. If you ever get a chance to visit Indonesia or China, it would be quite hard to find this dish in either countries. 

  • Sate ajam 

This is definitely an adaptation of one of Indonesia's national dish. You can definitely order this dish in Indonesia, it is spelt differently - sate ayam. Sate is the type of the dish, ayam means chicken. You can get a different type of sate such as kambing (goat), sapi (beef), babi (pork), etc. Another major difference of this Dutch version of chicken satay with the original Indonesian dish is the way it's cooked. In Indonesia, chicken satay is grilled into perfection, like a BBQ style with a bit of peanut sauce to compliment it. While the Dutch takeaway version is commonly boiled and drowned in peanut sauce. 

  • Nasi goreng

Having tried several versions of Dutch Chinese takeaway nasi goreng. I would say that the nasi goreng that people is familiar with here is an Indo-Chinese adaptation. Nasi means rice, goreng translates to fried. The Indonesian version contains a lot more spices than the Chinese version which is more pale-looking. 

  • Bami goreng 

This is similar to nasi goreng, it's also an adaptation of the Indo-Chinese version. Bami translates into noodles, in Indonesia it spelt Bakmi, and goreng is fried. Indonesia itself has a numerous version of fried noodles, which differ from one city locale to another. 

  • Foo yong hai 

You can find more explanation of this on wikipedia here. A dish typically find in most western Chinese takeaway, egg omelette with sweet and sour tomato sauce. 

  • Tjap Tjoi

According to Wikipedia, the original of this dish name comes from two Cantonese words which mean 'mixed' and 'vegetables'. It's a stir-fried vegetable with a thickened savoury gravy. This dish is commonly found in "Chinese" restaurants in Indonesia under a slightly different name 'Cap Cai"

So if you ever wonder why the Chinese takeaway here in the Netherlands is very different than what you previously have known as a typical Chinese takeaway. The above explanations should help you to navigate through the menu. The Dutch-Indo connections went way back before the early migrations from the Chinese community from the mainland in early 1911s. This explained that what the majority of Dutch accustomed to when it comes to Chinese food is the Indo-Chinese version. 

If you are up for a new of Dutch Chinese takeaway experience in Weert, check out


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