As an expat you are bound to have at some point the cravings. The cravings? Yes, you know suddenly you miss a certain type of food from home.
Sometimes it is simply some food you were used to, but it can’t be found here. Or it is a food you used to hate eating back home, but suddenly you miss that taste like it is the greatest thing on earth. Our minds play funny games with us that a particular taste can be emotionally charging and brings comfort, memories and happiness all with one bite. This powerful feeling can send us out into the Dutch weather looking high and low for ingredients or a restaurant with a particular menu. Everyone could probably relate that at some point they had to admit Albert Heijn failed them and had to go into full hunter mode just to look for a certain ingredient to make a recipe from the homeland. Or they traveled great distances to Amsterdam just to try the newest bistro with their desired cuisine. So we got you covered with a guide of where to look in Haarlem so you can cook or experience some food that isn’t cheese, potatoes or appelflap!
Going into the small Moroccan delicatessen and store of Slagerij Mabrouk on the Botermarkt is like walking into a treasure chest. Spoiler alert, your hunt for special ingredients can end. Look no further, as Mabrouk offers every type of flour imaginable (corn, rice, coconut, tapioca etc.) and baking products galore (essences, baking powder and soda). For those who need to cheat, they have American baking mixes for pancakes and cakes. This can be found next to the Canadian maple syrup (yes the real kind!). Need some type of honey from a particular tree in Bali that was in your healthy Pinterest recipe? Probably can find it here. However, it is the collection of spices and oils that will send you into bliss. Mabrouk also has a halal butchers and a collection of take away tapas. Saturdays are insanely busy, with locals flocking to the store with their printed recipes and questions of unheard spices. So you need to enter the shop with your shopping basket and a good plan. The gentlemen who run the store are always happy to help you find something. Prices are quite reasonable considering almost all of the items are imported and very unique.
Head along the Zijlweg to Smaczek Polski Shop. This rather large supermarket, which offers Polish baked goods (bread and donuts!), meats and frozen perogies. The shop goes beyond Poland as you will notice they have a lot of dairy products, cereals, products in general which can be found in the rest of Europe. They have a large fridge and frozen section. Most labels are in Polish, but chances are high you will recognize right away what you want. The shop is open 7 days a week and most evenings until 9pm. Prices are not too bad compared to other places. You most definitely need to check this place out as you will be amazed at the size and variety for a specialty store.
Obviously A Taste of Home on the Gedempte Oude Gracht is an expat local. Here you find a collection of British/American cereals, cookies, baking mixes and frozen food. Even some foreign medicines if that is your dinner appetite. There is no need to head to Amsterdam to some of the American/British food stores as all these items can be found here in Haarlem. Prices are up for your own interpretation, but again everything is imported and your stomach happiness is priceless.
Toko Nina on the koningstraat is an Indonesian store and take away with a big collection of Asian ingredients that will have you cooking in no time.
Whilst we may not have many Scottish readers. Anyone who has lived in Scotland knows the importance of whiskey and surviving dark winters. Therefore, Liquid Gold Speciaalslijterij gets an honorable mention as it is a magical store that has got you covered with hundreds of choices. So stock up!
Let’s be honest, sometimes you just want to leave the cooking apron on the wall. Instead, you want to opt to go somewhere to fulfill your cravings. The Wolfhound Irish bar & kitchen off the Grote Markt hits the spot for full English breakfasts and pub grub for later in the day.
Whilst Bij Babette on the Kruisstraat gets an honorable mention for British high tea.
For Mexican, do not consider any place other than Cantina023 on the Kleine Houtstraat. Here you will get a full plate of great authentic Tex-Mex food plus a tequila menu to make any Friday vibrant.
The Louisiana Lobster Shack is fairly new to the scene, but making waves. With American food from the south and the best cocktails around, they offer special menus for American holidays.
There are options so don’t panic if a craving from the homeland hits you. Of course, you may not find everything (I am still looking for that dark German bread and I don’t even eat bread!). However these options should get you started.
Do you know a secret place to fulfill our expat cravings? Let us know below as maybe we will have round nummer twee!