Dozens of festivals landed in Amsterdam this summer and as the summer festival season slowly comes to an end I knew that one of my favorite outdoor events was about to kick-off in our capital city. As most festivals have a dance, music or food theme, I consider this one as the mother of all festivals. Imagine a large green playground, in the heart of Amsterdam, filled up with artists, music, food, alcohol (naturally) and loads of (family friendly) to-do’s. Doesn’t that sound exciting? De Parade celebrates 25 years of her existence this year with over 100 theater, dance, mime, and musical shows. What’s special about this festival? It’s a travelling theater festival that starts in June and travels through The Hague, Rotterdam, Utrecht and finally Amsterdam. Talented artists tour around the country with massive containers, trucks and tents to settle down in all four cities and showcase their art.
As I had the pleasure of visiting De Parade in both Rotterdam and The Hague this summer, I was already a big fan of the incredible food offerings at this festival. After a quick search online I was stunned to find out how little coverage there was on this specific topic. As most my readers know, I’ve been quite verbal about the endless amount of food festivals repeating the exact same concept every year, featuring the same dishes with little variation. De Parade, however, offers such versatility in both food and concepts that I knew I had to hop by the final leg of their tour in Amsterdam, to discover, eat, photograph and write. Keep reading, as we’re really diving into the very heart of foodtabulous cuisine at De Parade Amsterdam.
Ok, so whether you’ve been an avid Parade visitor for years or a total newbie to this festival, continue reading! Why? Because we’re going to help you pick the very best stalls to eat at! The very best? Well, to be honest there’s so much fantastic food at this festival, you really just have to take a stroll and discover all the incredible food offerings yourself. Nevertheless, I’d be a pretty crappy blogger if I didn’t share some of my top picks, right? 😉 Here’s a breakdown of the 5 Dishtales Food Favorites at Theater Festival De Parade, Amsterdam:
1. Wild van Wild – The best burger EVER!
Did I just say the best burger ever? Yes I did! Their concept is utterly simple as they only serve 3 dishes: (1) a burger, (2) merguez sausage and (3) their signature croquettes. I tasted the merguez sausage and yes, it was delicious. The true spectacle, however, was the very first bite of that EPIC burger. The simplicity of adding onion compote, cheddar cheese, arugula, truffle mayonnaise and a wild boar burger (that is shaped on the spot!) on a brioche bun isn´t really mind-blowing of course. However it’s the homemade freshness of their products and simplicity of ingredient combination that makes this burger so great. On top of that, considering that these boys (literally!) hunt themselves for wild boar…amazing. I tipped some friends and fellow bloggers to taste it and one by one they were sending ‘OMG’ texts with crying happy face smilies. 🙂 Definitely stopping by again to taste the croquettes. These food concepts are the very reason why I love food festivals!
2. HotMamaHot – A delicious fusion of Middle-Eastern cuisine
Their pop-up kitchen construction is so big that it’s impossible to miss them when entering the festival. Oh and the line-up for their signature burger and falafel is pretty extraordinary as well! Now although the burger and falafel plates seem to be their popular dishes, the phenomenal Mezze platters are definitely our pick at HotMamaHot. Somewhere between the fusion of grilled wings and a fresh tabouleh I fell in love with their eggplant dish, drizzled with a creamy yogurt sauce and fresh pomegranate. Nothing beats finger-food at a festival and when it’s served by a crew of super friendly people with love…that’s just fabulous!
3. Soul Food – A vegan signature dish from the heart of India: Pakora
I’m usually drawn to smaller vendors at food festivals, as they tend to win the originality vote. Well, these ladies certainly did! Although Soul Food has a collection of stands with various dishes (from Mexican cuisine to Indian streetfood), their smallest stand immediately caught my eyes…and nose! Two lovely ladies, one big wok with hot oil and a doughy substance that was tossed into that oil. What comes out is not only delicious but smells overwhelmingly fantastic. Pakora is an Indian snack made of the following ingredients: eggplant, cauliflower, red onion, potatoes, spinach, green peppers and spring onion. These vegetables are mixed with coriander seeds, fennel seeds, fenegriek, garam massala and chickpea flower. All this is served with a fresh salsa. Great news for vegan foodies…well, it’s vegan! 🙂
4. La Cantine – Where festival food meets Haute Cuisine
It amazes me how food festival culture has changed over the years. While we used to think that bio fries and vegan burgers were revolutionary at these events, now we can sit at a table and enjoy exquisite cuisine. For the past 16(!) years entrepreneur and chef Merijn van Berlo has been sharing his love for food at De Parade. With La Cantine he presents a gastronomic variety that’s a true feast for both your eyes and taste buds. Oh, make sure to checkout the massive rotary grill at their pop-up kitchen. Fantastic to see them grill up dozens of chickens and sirloin steak! Le Cantine brings the experience of high standard dining to an outdoor festival, which is unique and fantastic!
5. Artistic Crepe – Custom-made crepe!
This is just something you have to do for the sake of fun, smiles, sugar cravings, hashtags and selfies. 🙂 A young crew of fun guys create amazing crepes, which you can of course eat after, yet need to take a dozen pictures of as they look so cool! I particularly like this stand because their food concept is so cleverly related to the entertainment theme of this festival. While the crepe is being created, loads of actors pass by to promote their shows and that’s when you realize you’re standing in a colorful stall with a (very hip) Disney feel to it. Magical and delicious at the same time.
Wanna visit Theater Festival De Parade Amsterdam? Here’s some info!
For more information on the featured food trucks/food vendors click here