When in Amsterdam’s Chinatown …
Have lunch at one of the most well known Chinese restaurant in Amsterdam, Nam Kee at Zeedijk 111 – 113.
Nam Kee or Friend of Nam when translated, is a family run restaurant first established by Nam Chan in 1981 right here at Zeedijk, opposite the Fo Guang Shan He Hua Temple. Now, they have 2 other restaurants in Amsterdam city area located at Geldersekade 117 and Marie Heinekenplein 4. Two generations of the Chan family operate the restaurant and serve-up authentic Cantonese dishes daily.
Nam Kee restaurant became a household name outside Amsterdam when a novel entitled “De Oesters van Nam Kee” (translation: The Oysters at Nam Kee) by Kees van Beijnum was launched in 2000. Nam Kee gained further national fame in 2002 when the movie adaptation of the novel was released. In case you are wondering, the movie is a Dutch drama film about the love story between 18-year old school dropout Berry (Egbert-Jan Weeber) and the older nightclub dancer and femme-fatale Thera (Katja Schuurman). Their romance blossomed over the signature dish, steamed oysters in black bean sauce, at Nam Kee.
Nam Kee is seen as an Amsterdam city icon by The New York Times (2009), Lonely Planet guide and also reportedly by local food enthusiasts. Nam Kee was even voted as the Best Chinese Restaurant 2013 in the Netherlands.
I am not going to read the novel, watch the movie or review the oysters. But I can tell you that I have had several good lunches at this establishment. The interior is bland, staffs are a little reserved, food portions are generous and waiting time is minimal. You could get a delicious bowl of noodle soup for around €11.00 or a plate of Soya Sauce Chicken with rice for €12.50. A pot of Chinese tea becomes complimentary if your food order is over €9.00 per person.
Supposedly, Nam Kee sells the tastiest Peking Duck in Amsterdam. Next time!