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Tai Wu (Rotterdam, Netherlands): Great Dim Sum That Doesn't Require Reservations

THE STORY

You may be wondering “‘Doesn’t require reservations?’ What dim sum place does?”

The one I tried to go to before going to Tai Wu. That restaurant.

It was my birthday. I had been planning to get dim sum on my birthday for weeks. Generally, the way it works is that you get up and out the door by 10 a.m. on a Saturday in order to beat the rush. First come, first serve.

Tai Wu Dim Sum Chinese Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands Holland asian food travel craving

There have been multiple occasions when I end up hangry by the time I arrive at the dim sum restaurant, only to wait another 30 minutes for a table. It’s just an accepted reality of dim sum: you eat nothing so that you can wait for an unknown amount of time to then stuff your face with dumplings. Regardless of where you are, these rules hold true.

Or so I thought.

We arrived at the dim sum restaurant, and they asked if we had a reservation. At first, I thought “Is he speaking to me in Dutch? Because I don’t think I understood his question.” But he then repeated himself and yes, he was confirming whether I made a reservation.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands dumplings haam sui gau wu gok asian craving travel

After telling him we did not have a reservation, he said that he could not seat us. In my hangry state, I muttered something snide and proceeded to leave.

I had previously marked Tai Wu as another restaurant to try, and so we went, hoping they would let us sit without a reservation. To our delight, they sat us immediately.

Tai Wu has a few dozen tables for various-sized parties, but most are large enough to fit a lazy Susan in the center. And while no one was carting around trolleys of dumplings (which is no longer commonplace in dim sum restaurants), there a luxurious chandelier hanging from the high ceiling.

By this point, I was ravenous.

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

(The Ramen Marauder claims I was creeping on another table’s food in this picture)

When restaurants still pushed dumpling carts around the tables, it was easier to pace myself. I had to wait patiently for the dumplings I wanted. Now, however, I can order all of them at once, which usually leads to a combination of shameful overeating and a waste of food.

Maybe this article will serve as a reminder to my future self not to order so much. But probably not.

Tai Wu Chinese Dim Sum Restaurant Rotterdam Netherlands chicken feet lo baak gou asian craving travel

THE REVIEW

When ordering dim sum from a menu, usually the options are limited. Not at Tai Wu! They had everything I wanted: siu mai, har gao, chicken feet, fried taro, those glutinous rice balls filled with ground meat, baos, turnip cakes…it was a joy.

If you wake up craving dim sum on a Saturday morning, bring your appetite to Tai Wu.


Tai Wu, Mauritsweg 24-26, 3012 JR Rotterdam, Netherlands, +31 (0)10 433 0818

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

Nomo (Rotterdam, Netherlands): A Southern Food Classic and a Hong Kong Delight

THE STORY

My first experience of chicken and waffles was at Roscoe's House of Chicken & Waffles in Los Angeles. My second experience of the dish was at Sylvia's in New York. My experiences following were at various restaurants in Atlanta, and then when I moved to Germany, I made chicken and waffles on my own.

And now here in Rotterdam, I had it at Nomo Rotterdam, but instead of a typical syrup-trap waffle, it was an egg puff waffle.

Nomo Rotterdam Netherlands Chicken and Waffles Egg Puffs

I've noticed that egg puffs are becoming more and more popular for both sweet and savory dishes. We had stopped by Foo Concepts earlier that week and enjoyed their dijon chicken and pulled pork egg waffles. I've also seen them used as waffle cones for ice cream.

My first memory of egg puffs was at the Break Time Cafe in Cupertino. I was told that the egg puff waffles were a street food treat in Hong Kong, and that a family friend fondly remembers stopping by the carts after school for the warm waffle.

My second memory of egg puffs was seeing the carts for myself in New York. I was always on my way to the grocery store or coming from a dim sum date, and never took the time to enjoy one, regrettably.

And so now to see this fusion of egg puff waffles and fried chicken feels...well...it feels really wonderful.

Nomo Rotterdam Netherlands Holland Restaurant Interior Comfort Food Modern Plant Love

Over the past couple years, I've been interested in learning more about U.S. Southern cooking and black food culture. I have read a lot about how first and second generation Asian Americans cook to remember their culture, and after reading recently about the history of soul food, I realized that there is a similar - yet more painful - discussion to be had about Southern favorites.

I started this blog to help connect Asian food enthusiasts with Asian restaurants throughout Europe. I still thoroughly enjoy this, but over time, I've also realized I want to write about how the Asian diaspora has influenced how we experience their cuisines. Even more than that, I want to learn more about how other diasporas have affected food culture around the world.

So while this blog will continue to focus on Asian food, I encourage you to learn about other food cultures, too, and think about how you experience them. I'm sure that, as you continue to learn, you will enrich your experience of consuming such delectable dishes.

Nomo Rotterdam Netherlands Chicken Waffles Egg Puff Southern Comfort Food

THE REVIEW

At first, I was a little taken aback by the sliced green apple that garnished my plate. Why would I want something healthy with my chicken and waffles? But it all worked deliciously. The chicken was seasoned and not overly battered, and the egg puff gracefully sopped up the syrup and clung to the cheese. The best part was that, once I cleaned my plate, I didn't feel like I immediately had to take a nap.

I highly recommend going here for a delicious breakfast, a relaxing cup of coffee, or just simply enjoying a bookshelf of cookbooks surrounded by plants.


Nomo Rotterdam, Noordplein 57, 3035 ED Rotterdam, +31 6 45738999