Suriname and the Netherlands go way back. In the 17th century the Dutch were not too content about what their little country had to offer and decided to follow the example set by the French and the English and to investigate their possibilities overseas. During this explorative phase, they did not only stumble upon fascinating places in South Africa and India but also on the Netherlands Antilles and Suriname. Suriname seemed to be the Promised Land; it offered an incredible amount of space and fertile grounds. The first farmers to arrive must have been the happiest ones on the planet. The plantations produced coffee, cocoa, sugar cane and cotton and were run by well faring planters who thought of themselves as the kings and queens of this exotic part of the Earth.
In 1975, Suriname became independent. However, the special bond between Suriname and the Netherlands can still be seen in many aspects of both cultures. Over 60% of the Surinam population speaks Dutch (the official language) as a mother tongue, which makes it the only Dutch speaking country in South America. Some of the biggest cities in Suriname are Nieuw Amsterdam, Wageningen and Groningen… sounds familiar?!
Not only did the Dutch leave their footprints in Suriname, the Surinamese certainly shaped the Netherlands too. Besides bringing us Ruud Gullit and Edgar Davids (for the soccer fans among us), they enriched the Dutch cuisine with their delicious foods and spices. The fact that the Surinam population is composed of a diverse group of people has resulted in a unique cuisine. It is a combination of East Indian, Dutch, Portuguese and African influences. Typical dishes include roti, bakmi, and moksi meti. Furthermore, the Surinamese like to stimulate their taste buds by adding hot peppers or sambal.
Now you might wonder, why this sudden interest in the Surinam cuisine? Quite recently, a new partner was added to ESN Utrecht’s long list of supporters. Roti shop de Dom offers you an alternative to a lovely dinner at Bar Walden or Eazie, and a great excuse for yet another trip to town. So take your friends out for (a discounted) dinner and explore the Surinam foods, just like the Dutch did four centuries ago. And the Surinamese like it hot, so think twice before you order extra sambal with your roti!