Meet Your Mother Birds

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ESTHER-HANNA

Esther-Hanna was born and raised in between two cultures (Dutch and Indonesian) in a small Frisian town in the north of the Netherlands. Her mother and grandmother were the ones who taught her the beautiful love language of food in order to connect people.

She decided to study International Tourism Management because of her curiosity about the world. This decision led her to do part of her studies in Bangkok and Bali, as well as an internship in London. 

After she finished her studies, she moved to Amsterdam in 2012 because she fell in love with the international and intimate character of the city. Somehow she knew Amsterdam was the next step in the pursuit of her dreams. 

“The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was…”

“Forest rat cooked inside bamboo or chicken feet in Indonesia, Yakitori chicken hearts in Japan, black garlic prepared by my boyfriend's Chinese grandmother.”

“My most special food experience while traveling was…”

“Tasting the best sushi I ever tasted in Tokyo nearby the Tsukiji Market at a small place with about 10 seats after having waited in line for 6 hours…”

"What is one of your favorite childhood food memories?"

Walking into the kitchen where my mom would be cooking a lot of different Indonesian dishes and snacks for the upcoming Indonesian event that weekend. I always knew that next to the stove would be the dish or snacks that she just finished making. So very often I was allowed to taste it before it went into the food boxes. 

"Describe your perfect day in Amsterdam.." 

"Having a breakfast with coffee or tea at home together with loved ones. Then cycling through Amsterdam East together along the Weesperzijde towards De Pijp. Then we would have a craft beer on a terrace on the Eerste van der Helstraat, talking about life, while greeting some of the familiar faces walking to and from the Albert Cuyp market.

For lunch we would pick up a picnic basket filled with fresh, honest food at Klaver 4 and the organic farmer's market and eat it together at Vondelpark. In the evening we would go for dinner, Japanese beers and gin & tonics at my favorite Asian street food restaurant in Amsterdam East until we are the last ones to leave.."

"What is the one food you can't live without...?"

Ice cream... And anything with salted caramel... And sushi and ramen... And pasta and pizza... And bahn mi sandwich and pho soup... And soto soup and any homemade soups... Ah I guess I am a hungry bird!

ZOSIA

  • Temporarily not running the tours, but working behind the screen from the other part of the world - Indonesia.

Zosia likes to see herself as a citizen of the world, but if you take a closer look at her roots, you will reach a small village near the city of Poznan in Poland where she grew up surrounded by animals, trees and flowers, and eating her mom's delicious dishes.

Polish flavors didn't satisfy her hunger for adventure, so she spent a year in America in 2005, followed by her studies in Finland and Denmark where she developed her love for nature and the Scandinavian lifestyle.

Zosia has lived in Amsterdam since 2011. She likes the city for its compact size, multicultural diversity, as well as the coziness of the 'biggest village of the world'.

In 2012, she traveled to Vietnam where she discovered her love for street food, which inspired the birth of Hungry Birds. Sushi, spring rolls, banh xeo, pho, freshly-squeezed juices and other deliciousness are some of her favorites from this memorable journey. So if you need to bribe her, you know which currency to use. :)

“If I could eat with anyone in the world, it would be..."

"My grandparents who passed away many years ago. It would be really sweet to have a dinner with them and learn more about their lives, hear more of their stories, get some wise advice and feel their presence. Also, to be able to hold their hands and share a meal, which leads us to the next question..."

"Sharing a meal with someone matters because..."

"You can look into their eyes, share an important story and feel the emotions, to take the time to just be, enjoy the meal and each others' company."

"My favorite food memory is..."

"Sharing my first ever sushi with Lennart (my then-boyfriend, now husband). That was in Krakow, Poland, on New Year's Eve in 2006. I remember eating little wasabi nuts before the sushi arrived and thinking, "Holy moley! This is good and deliciously spicy!". Then the sushi arrived and Lennart said, "You know, people usually either love or hate sushi - it's the kind of food with no middle ground." So I clumsily grabbed my chopsticks and took my first ever bite. The softness, foreign and gentle flavors, its melting sensation on my tongue, the flavors of the rice, wasabi paste and fresh, raw salmon made me soooo happy! It was the moment I fell in love for good - with sushi and the boy who introduced me to this finger-licking good food."

"I would wake up any day for..."

"Good Vietnamese pho soup filled with fresh herbs like mint, cilantro and basil. Starting my day with a hot and flavorful soup is what I could do almost every day."

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CHARMAINE

Charmaine is an avid food lover, stemming also from the multi-cultural city-state, of the much sunnier, Singapore. In 2012, a chance encounter sealed her deal in Amsterdam, a place she today, calls home sweet home. It was love at first sight, like nothing she could have ever imagined or expected of Amsterdam. Its mesmerizing canals, quaint lane ways and enchanting neighborhoods, struck a chord within, one that rings soundly, even until today.

Her hobbies include eating, eating and eating. And for the fun of it, she shakes things up with a good drink or two sometimes. There is much to like about people who love to eat, to paraphrase Julia Childs. And Charmaine couldn't agree more.

Traveling to different countries is fortunately another favorite of hers. Constantly seeking to appreciate the diverse food culture the human race has to offer, with none other than her chef partner-in-crime/husband. But true to form, they plan their sightseeing around the must-try food joints, always prioritizing food above all others.

"When did you first discover your love for food?"

"My mother is a great cook. So I grew up eating tons of yummy goodness, every single day. She's awesome at whipping up those 5 minutes chinese styled stir-fry dishes, her mutton stew is to die for and the list just keeps going on."

"You love to cook. What's your favorite ingredient to use and do you have a secret tip to share with us?"
 

"Currently it is pandan, something I sometimes refer to as Asian vanilla. It is just so fragrant and lends so much flavor to a dish/dessert. Even something as simple as pandan water (water boiled with pandan leaves) can be so delightful!

Always cook for family and friends, because that's when it always turns out to be the best!"

"If you could have one fantasy banquet, what are the top 5 dishes you would like to enjoy?"

"At this moment? Chili crab xiao long baos (steamed soup dumplings). Yes. There has to be more than just one of them. They are little explosions of goodness filled with minced meat, boullion (stock) and in this case, a generous amount of chili crab. Anything with noodles. A really good hutspot, which is my favourite Dutch stamppot: pork chops with a carrot and onion mash (my husband makes my favorite one). Meat, and lots of it. Plus cookies from Van Stapele."

Our Part-Time Mother Birds

As the season swells and times get busy, even Mother Birds need a hand. And we are proud to present our part-time Mother Birds!

Audrey

Born in France, near the German border, of a French mother and an Italian father, Audrey studied International Business in France and Ireland, and moved to Amsterdam in 2003. Obviously, she is a strong believer in the European Union :) She fell under the charms of Amsterdam and made it her destination to continue her life, a more international and open-minded life.

She believes it is essential to have accessible dreams and realize them. So in 2007, she left to backpack for 2 years. She came back with a crush on South East Asia, especially on Burma where one day she will build a sustainable hostel respecting Burmese architecture, decorated with local art and offering local food tours.

"I would wake up any day for...

" Sushi! Mozzarella di buffala + olive oil! Old goat cheese with truffle and fresh baguette."

“My most special food experience while traveling was…”

"Ceviche in Lima because the fish was deliciously melting in my mouth, because I ate it in a lost little market where only locals go and because the owner of the hostel took time to take me there and to share a meal with me while telling about his experience and life in Lima at the same time."

"What is one of your favorite childhood food memories?"

"Gnocchi with pork in tomato sauce and chicken risotto from my dear Italian aunt and rabbit in red wine sauce with homemade egg noodles from my French grandmother. I'm so grateful for all the time and love those 2 loving fabulous cooks put into all the meals they prepared for our family. I wish I could share a meal with them again."

"What is the one food you can't live without...?"

"PASTA, spaghetti, farfalle, linguine, rigatoni, tagliatelle, penne, orecchiette, you name it, always AL DENTE, loads of parmesan (except with fish + seafood ). I could eat some every day and adjust the sauce according to my mood. I always have homemade pesto in my fridge, oven grilled vegetables when I have time, frutti di mare for my fish day of the week, bolognese when I'm a carnivore..."

“My guilty food pleasure is..."

"Nachos in the oven with Mexican meat sauce served with sour cream, guacamole and jalapenos, loads of jalapenos."

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ESTHER

"Diamonds are a girl's best friend." But not Esther's. Her best friend is FOOD. Esther believes that good food can solve many problems. Having a fight with your partner? Talk it out over a good meal. Had a bad day at work? Forget about it over a good dinner. Not sure how to please your in-laws? Learn how to cook their favourite food!

Esther was born and raised in Singapore, hence explaining her obsession with food. Singapore's good food is the one thing that Singaporeans are proud of and generally have no complaints about. She came to Amsterdam for love; her fiance had found a job here. She in turn fell in love with the multi-cultural and progressive city that embraced diversity and all things cool. 

Through her tours, Esther hopes to be able to share her motto with everyone, "Eat with love and meaning, and whatever you eat will not only fill your stomach, but also your soul."

“The weirdest thing I have ever eaten was…”

A piece of lizard poop. I was 6 years old and my brother was 4. One day my family was coming home, and we saw that a lizard had left its droppings all over our living room wall. My brother pointed at it and exclaimed "chocolate!" We ran towards it excitedly, truly believing that it was chocolate and we started eating it. With much regret. You're probably curious about what it tasted like. I can barely remember it, plus my mum made us spit it out within 1 millisecond. If I remember right, it was kinda salty and bitter at the same time.

“My biggest food related dream is..."

I hope to one day help my mum start her own online Singaporean confectionary and snacks business. She makes really delicious and pretty looking things. But making it for public consumption is something else. I hope that one day I can get smarter (beyond my lizard poop eating days) and think of some good and effective business plan and encourage her to start.

“My favorite thing to cook is..."

Chinese stir-fry! Because it is so easy to cook and yet so tasty and wholesome at the same time!! I also enjoy making curry, vegetable soup with LOTS of different types of vegetables and chilli, anything with tofu... Okay I think I'm missing the point of the question. It's my favourite thing and not thingS. As you can tell, I tend to talk too much. I'll leave my talking to the tours. See y'all soon!

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HIZELL

Hizell might look Dutch but is a Latina by hart. Born and raised in Caracas (Venezuela), of an Aruban mother that showed her many Caribbean and Dutch dishes. She moved to the Netherlands in 2003 to a small town but secretly always loved Amsterdam. It was not only for its beautiful sceneries, she was deeply interested in its cultural diversity and the spirit of acceptance for one and another. In 2010 she strived and move to this wonderful city that now she calls “home”.

For Hizell, food is more than a tasty experience, it is the result of a story behind and a beautiful piece of art. The more we explore and are open to new tastes the richer our experiences and understanding will be. 

“My guilty food pleasure is..."

"Since I remember eating food, I had a particular craving for fried pork skin! I always asked for it on my birthday parties when I was a kid. Now I have mastered this craving by combining it with fresh guacamole! I learned this during a trip to Mexico."

“My favorite food memories are..."

“Sundays equaled to 'parrilla!' (barbecue) day, where all friends and family gathered in the garden. My dad would work on the garden, then light the grill and bring the food of the day to sizzle. We cooked mainly meat but also fish, seafood, veggies, cheese, pineapples, it was always a surprise. For me, nothing beats the tender and juicy meat with just a bit of salt sprinkled on top and matching it with boiled cassava with ‘mojo’ (a sort of chimichurri sauce) on the side! When the ingredients are rich the rest is just an orchestra of flavours and textures."

“Drinks I enjoy are..."

“Having tap water available on the streets of Amsterdam is for sure a luxury I do not take for granted. My sweet temptation is a chocolate milkshake. I love to combine my meals with a rich glass of red wine. Lately, I am pretty much into Italian wines from Sicily and Puglia. Enjoying a good cup of cappuccino sets me instantly in meditation mode. There are many places in Amsterdam with great coffee, so I love to discover them!"

 

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