One of my students took my advice to try a Dutch pancake restaurant in Osaka, and showed me the pictures of the pancake he tried. Just seeing it sparked a desire in me to go that restaurant as soon as possible. So we did. We’ve been to Oude Kaas (Dutch for old cheese, which is the main ingredient of the house specialty) before, in 2004. Back then it was located in a basement in Yodoyabashi, but since then it has moved up to the second floor of a building on the Dojima river. It’s the only officially recognized pancake restaurant outside of the Netherlands.
We came here to a eat a pancake, but once I saw the menu, in Dutch (!) and Japanese I discovered too many tasty treats. It was impossibly hard to chose and we ended up ordering way more than a pancake. First, we had bitterballen. They looked a bit pale compared to the ones we get at home and the mustard was totally different, but they tasted very good and very Dutch. Next, friet speciaal! Which are fries with mayonnaise, chopped raw onions and the secret ingredient: curry (slightly spicy ketchup) imported from the Netherlands. They even served it with those small plastic forks we always get at the Dutch snack-bars. This tasted so authentic we ordered a second plate.
Of course, we also ordered a pancake. One with cheese and bacon, and I’m happy to say they looked and tasted nothing like American pancakes. And last but certainly not least we had cooked mussels! I absolutely love mussels, and was really surprised to find this on the menu, as you hardly see mussels in Japan and if you do they’re really expensive, as was this little pot of cooked mussels. But they tasted really good, but I did miss a nice garlicky sauce to dip the little mussels in.
The meal wasn't cheap but worth it and very Dutch. The Japanese chef lived in the Netherlands for about 14 years and is pretty good at recreating the Dutch taste. There were many more interesting things on the menu, like sweet pancakes (apple is my favorite), sausages and stamppotten, but these’ll have to wait till next time.