Meet Your Main Mother Birds

ZOSIA

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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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!

RACHAEL

Rachael is a Dutch transplant from street food mecca, Singapore. That explains her fierce love for food and a perpetual fear of humidity.

17 years ago, Rachael's love affair with Amsterdam began after her history teacher shared a story about his travels (Thanks, Mr Anith). Through a series of happy accidents and a stroke of good luck, her dream was realized in 2013.

Her favorite things about Amsterdam are the freedom to be who you want to be, its laid-back nature, drinking culture, timelessness in its cobbler stone charm, as well as the wondrous changing of seasons which she never got to experience growing up in the blistering tropics. 

Rachael hopes to be able to meet her idol ANTHONY BOURDAIN so that she can bring him to Van Dobben where they will enjoy an abundance of meats and wash it down with a glass of milk like locals do (Then they will gallop off to a bar to cleanse their palates and converse into the night).

“My guilty food pleasure is..."

"Calve peanut butter (chunky) eaten straight from the jar at 3am. Or anything with pork, really."

“My favorite food memories are..."

“I can't name just one, but top three include savoring truffle for the first time when I was in my late 20's (Late bloomer, I know), tasting the most sublime banana coconut cream pie with chocolate-coated crust from Tartine with my friend Christina at Dolores Park in San Francisco, and sharing a meal with my family high up in the Austrian Alps (I had chicken schnitzel) as that was my parents' first and only trip outside of Asia together. It was a very special time..."

“My favorite thing to cook is..."

“Aglio olio with copious amounts of garlic and chili. There's just something comforting about a pungent bowl of starch that burns so good, especially when topped with an unholy trinity of black pepper, chopped parsley and lots and lots and lots of Parmesan... Better still, with some black truffle pecorino! I also enjoy making a mean dish of roasted pork belly. Nothing better than watching the skin sizzle and dripping sauce... Until the moment I sink my molars into it for the first time. Yum!"

“Drinks I enjoy are..."

“Plentiful.  I enjoy a good (few) glass(es) of red vino, porter or bock bier on a cold day ('Miki is Catevella' from local bar, Beer Temple, is a revelation),  a Zatte Tripel from Brewerij Het IJ or Code Blonde from Brewerij De Prael on warm days are ideal. A flat white from Scandinavian Embassy (the cafe) when I need a caffeine boost. Of course, since I am but human, sparkling water or Coke Light to keep my body going."

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!

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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."

 

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Sabrina

Sabrina’s native Switzerland, with its views of mountain peaks and the lake breeze, instilled her with an irrevocable love for Swiss chocolate, cheese fondue and an innate sense of punctuality; however, she likes to describe her parents’ home as «Zurich’s Little Italy», where the music of Celentano, the films of Fellini and the smell of a fresh tomato Sugo dominated the migrant family’s sensory environment. 

The constant limbo between the two sets of roots gave her a serious case of travelitis, which eventually led her to beautiful Amsterdam, where she studies and conducts research in Cultural Analysis. As a Hungry Bird, she is perpetually amazed by the intersections of Amsterdam’s history with its rich and vast food culture.

"Describe your favorite food memory so far“

"During a backpacking trip through Mexico, my two friends and I found ourselves in the wonderful town of Mérida, where we decided to treat ourselves to a thorough shower, a hint of lipstick and a fancy meal in a restaurant on a lively square. After weeks of sweat and carnitas, we were happy to be pampered by attentive waiters and the elaborate plating of contemporary Mexican cuisine. We ended the meal with crushed dried grasshoppers chased by a glass of smoky Mezcal - the traditional way!"

"What is your favorite Dutch dish and where it is it from?“

"I love that goat cheese is such a big deal here - a goat milk ice cream at the Geitenborderij in Amsterdamse Bos is my ideal treat!"

"If you could have dinner with anyone in this world, who would you dine with and where?’

"My grandmother, the chef of Noma and I on a Sicilian vineyard. I think that would be a memorable foodie day…"