bubble tea

Foo Concepts (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Asian Sweets and Savory Delights

THE STORY

I have been posting about a lot of ramen spots lately, so I wanted to write about somewhere else I've been, so that you know that I know that ramen isn't the only Asian food out there. (Though it is oh so delicious...)

Egg puff waffles seem to be very popular these days (see my post about chicken n' waffles at Nomo Rotterdam). Pictures of them used as cones are common across Instagram, though I hadn't seen any tagged near me - that is, until I learned about Foo Concepts.

Foo Concepts Rotterdam Restaurant Netherlands dijon chicken egg puff egg waffle with bubble milk tea latte

Foo Concepts is a small, vibrant spot on Hoogstraat in the Rubroek neighborhood of Rotterdam. The handful of tables they have are low to the ground, with stools and benches for seating. One wall has a huge mural of their logo creature dressed as various beloved anime characters.

To me, this feels like a neighborhood cafe because it's unique. It doesn't look like anywhere else I've been in the city, and it certainly doesn't serve the same menu. Foo Concepts doesn't blend into the monotony of coffee spots scattered throughout the urban landscape. It's a destination, but also still a place to stumble upon.

Foo Concepts Rotterdam Restaurant Netherlands California sushi sandwich onigiri food porn places to eat

THE REVIEW

The fact that this is a cafe should not have you believe that you will eat lightly here (though you could, I guess). The Ramen Marauder and I ordered quite the variety: a matcha latte bubble tea, a taro latte bubble tea, a California sushi sandwich, a dijon chicken egg waffle, and a pulled pork egg waffle. While he prefers sweet and I prefer savory, the dijon chicken and the pulled pork were great compromises for lunch.

As a fan of onigiri and the sushi burrito trend, I loved the California sushi sandwich. It's dense, but the flavors are fresh - the rice, the nori, the cucumber, even the imitation crab. Have you ever described a sandwich as "refreshing"? And it's filling, too.

Foo Concepts Rotterdam Restaurant Netherlands pulled pork egg puff egg waffle with bubble tea latte places to eat

The egg waffle dishes were also quite substantial, though I expected the egg puffs to be less airy and crunchy. It was perfect, however, for the meats and sauces because the egg waffle never became soggy. The Marauder and I agreed that the dijon chicken was our favorite of the two, but we're picky about pulled pork (if you come from the American South, you may think the pork is too dry).

We haven't had a chance to try the sweet egg waffles yet, but hopefully there will be a follow-up post soon, because I can't wait to go back!


Foo Concepts, Hoogstraat 67A, 3011 PH Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 6 83057144

Kuroge Wagyu Beef Restaurant Zao (Rotterdam, the Netherlands): A Perfect Serving

THE STORY

The Asian Craving will be relocating to Rotterdam this summer. As you may have seen on our Instagram, we ate at all the Asian restaurants we could! We were eating as if it was going out of style, but then we remembered that we were going to live there soon, which meant we could eat whatever, whenever. So we tried to slow down.

But who are we kidding - Asian food is our favorite.

The Markthal is a well-known destination by both travelers and locals. Nearly every type of food that's easy to sell from a small market stand is available: juice, spices, cold cuts, sandwiches, breads, beer, sushi, and seafood to name some of the bites available.

This time, our visit was specifically for bubble tea at YoYo (which was delicious at we had it three times). Naturally, however, our spidey senses noticed a ramen stall down the aisle. On this unusually warm day, I was craving sushi instead of noodle soup, but it just smelled and looked so tempting. We checked out the menu, and lo and behold - there was a half size option!

Waygu Beef Restaurant Zao Ramen Noodle Soup Markthal Rotterdam the Netherlands Holland

As we waited for our soup, the young gentleman working told us that he was a student from Japan spending a year in Rotterdam. After this academic year finished, he wanted to spend time traveling before starting his second year studying in Germany.

He said he appreciates the Dutch work-life balance compared to Japan, and may not go back if given the opportunity. He prefers to work to live, rather than live to work - the apparent opposite of Japanese culture.

Our conversation reassured me of two things. First, life will still be good even if we don't speak fluent Dutch. (Or any Dutch for that matter, though we still plan to learn.) Second, life will simply be good (and delicious) in the Netherlands.

Waygu Beef Restaurant Zao Ramen Noodle Soup Markthal Rotterdam the Netherlands Holland 2

THE REVIEW

There were no frills about this ramen - no seaweed, no corn, no egg, no black garlic oil, no nothing. You did get your choice of noodle (thick or thin), with broth, chopped green onion, and marinated wagyu beef.

That's all you needed, really. The broth was creamy, like you may expect a tonkotsu to be, but it lacked the salt that tends to coat the surfaces in your mouth after each slurp. Don't get me wrong - the broth was lightly salted, and may have gotten an additional oomph from the beef. What was unusual about it was that the broth was so rich that it seemed nearly sweet. The richness, however, didn't taste like it came from roasting bones or marrow. It was as if they added cream to it.

Karaage Japanese Fried Chicken Waygu Beef Restaurant Zao Markthal Rotterdam the Netherlands Holland

Because we had half sizes, we were also able to enjoy the karaage (fried chicken). Usually I won't order anything else when I eat ramen because I won't have room for it. Here, however, I ate both the ramen and the perfectly crispy yet moist fried chicken, and I still fit in my pants. Always a win.


Kuroge Wagyu Beef Restaurant Zao, Dominee Jan Scharpstraat 298, Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 20 737 2817

Bubble Tea: Greatest Hits vol. 1

THE STORY

Sometimes the craving is so intense, you're willing to lower your threshold from good to decent: maybe you'll take comfort in a bowl of ramen that uses rice noodles, or a plate of lo mein that comes with a pork schnitzel on top (more on that in a later post). I've taken part in many a bowl of noodle soup that was so oily, I couldn't even begin to reason why.

One thing, however, that can never be comprised is bubble tea. I only have one standard, which is that the boba be tapioca, not that weird popping bubble stuff. Otherwise, we have not come across a bubble tea we did not like.

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Sure, sometimes we get less boba than we wanted, or the tapioca is a little under-cooked. But overall, bubble tea is a wonderful and comforting constant throughout our travels.

Below is a list of the ones we've visited so far, with more to come I'm sure...

Come Buy - Berlin
Rosenthaler Str. 31, 10178 Berlin

96 Zen - Budapest
Budapest, Kálvin tér 5, 1053 Hungary

Wowble - Sevilla
Calle O'Donnell, 5, 41001 Sevilla, Spain

Bubbleology - Pilsen
Center Olympia, Písecká 972/1, 326 00 Plzeň 8-Černice, Czechia

BoBoQ - Munich (CLOSED)

Bubbow - Amsterdam (CLOSED)

Lou Lan Cha - Munich (CLOSED)