Lunch hour at Amsterdam’s Foodhallen

I arrived in Amsterdam's new food court, Foodhallen, a few minutes before the lunch crowd, enjoying the quiet-before- the-storm, watching the food purveyors prepare the mid-day fare. Skewering meat and vegetables destined for an open fire grill. Arranging Petit gateau in an irresistible rainbow of colors. Stuffing rustic country bread with what appears to be a kilo of shredded cheese per sandwich, soon to be flattened into a molten goo in the Tosti press.

As the lunch crowd began to drift in, Jabugo, which calls itself a bar Iberico, assumed the lead as the popular favorite. A long queue was forming. Was it the gorgeous cured hams and sausages, freshly sliced and artfully arranged on wooden boards with cheeses, olives and slices of bread drizzled with vivid green olive oil? Or was it the convenient location Jabugo enjoys by the main entrance?

The second longest queue was forming at Caulils Kaas. Tostis (aka grilled cheese) may not have been invented by the Dutch, but they have been embraced with fervor, as much a part now of the “Dutch” cuisine as Babi Ketjap, the Dutch-Indo pork dish braised in a thick, sweet soy sauce from Indonesia.

International fare, including Shirkhan’s Indian street food, Korean Fried Chicken (and donuts!), Viet View and Mediterranean delicacies from Maza, were all attracting queues of hungry patrons.

My friends arrived, stuffed to the gills with the late breakfast they had enjoyed at Bakers & Roasters.

A central bar offered beverages to complement any of the meals: coffee, tea, fresh juice, mixed drinks, and beer. We shared a flight of three draught beers: a Weissbier, a blonde beer, and a Pilsner.