Yesterday, Marco, Roger and I made okonomiyaki, a savory Japanese pancake. The recipe came from a cookbook called “Tokyo stories” which I gave to Marco for Christmas this year. It was a nice find at the local American Book Center, or ABC for short. The joke in the blog title was that Marco couldn’t pronounce it right away after visiting Japan (oh-co-nome-e-ah-key) so he took to calling it onomatopoeia, which is ironically just as difficult to say. But these days we all just call it by its true name.
This variant was the Hiroshima style, which differs from the Osaka style Marco and Roger ate in Tokyo last year. 1) It uses 3 to 4 times the amount of cabbage as the Osaka style variant, with the cook (in this case Roger) pushing it down to flatten it as it cooks. 2) It is built in layers, including one careful flip halfway through. Roger was a flipping master last night.
For the most part, you can add whatever toppings you want. The original recipe called for squid but we were not adventurous enough for that, so we used pork instead. There is bacon in the recipe – you add it to the top of the pile and then you immediately flip the pancake so that the bacon is on the bottom and crisps up. It also usually has noodles (we used yakisoba noodles, which are stir-fried). There’s also a special okonomiyaki sauce, and we used a wasabi mayo as well on top.
We also used Roger’s gourmetten set, which has a dual use plate depending on how it was flipped: a grill for gourmetten or a flat grill for occasions like this. For the most part we cooked everything on the stove in pans and then transferred the mixture to the grill plate at the end to keep everything warm (traditionally you should cut off a piece and put it on your plate and get more later).
As a drink, Marco and Roger had calpis, which is a Japanese uncarbonated soft drink. But personally I like carbonation so I don’t drink that often. I had an Asahi “super dry” beer. Ironically enough it does taste pretty dry. It is also my beer of choice if we go to Wagamama in Amsterdam.
The Netherlands has survived its night of fireworks. We did see one drunk guy (still holding his bottle of alcohol) walk up to a police car waiting at a stop light and talk to police agent for a few minutes. Maybe he was simply wishing them a happy New Year, who knows. By the time we crossed the street the police car was on the move again.
There is also a YouTube video available from user VerdierMedia PuntNL where he/she uses a drone to capture the fireworks over The Hague last night. Check it out!
I’m a big fan of public transportation and love reading everything about HTM trams, so I just had to share the photo I made about the check-in/check-out machine in one of the local trams:
For years these machines display gibberish about 50% of the time. The machine should read IN/UIT- CHECKEN at this moment, which it… mostly… does. But about 15 seconds prior ‘CHECKEN’ was actually ‘SLURKEN’. I’m not sure why exactly, but one letter randomly changes here and there and random symbols appear on the sides.
Maybe it’s all just a big puzzle we are supposed to figure out.
Okay, I’ll admit – I don’t have a bike in the Netherlands so I am a bit biased with this post. However I was thrilled to hear that the shopping street on the Grote Markt would be closed to bikes this weekend+Monday and next weekend+Monday (article in Dutch). On a normal day it is dangerous trying to cross the street to get to the shops, but during Christmas…? Forget about it.
I’ll be honest – tourists and those not from The Hague have no clue where they should walk, which just angers cyclists even more. And I don’t think most cyclists know that there’s no official bike path on that street and that they should be adjusting their biking based on the movements of the pedestrian, and not vice versa.
If you’re interested, you can watch a time lapse of them re-doing Grote Marktstraat back in 2015. I will admit the street is much more beautiful now than it was, but the old street made it much more obvious that you were crossing a bike path.
Oh, and it’s still extremely busy in the city centre even without the cyclists!
It’s become a tradition – take a picture of the Christmas lights at Bijenkorf (a high-end department store – the name means beehive).
Here is 2019:
This year you have the addition of a digital advertisement board — which caused a bit of controversy when they were installed because of the noise and light pollution they caused. Things seemed to have died down since then, though.
Bijenkorf’s window displays are always a hit with the shopping crowd – each different than the last.