Sunday, November 14, 2010

Burger King Centraal

Before going to Amsterdam, I had looked at the websites for some of the American fast food chains, curious to see what they had at their Dutch and Belgian outlets. I remembered a family trip years ago to Hong Kong where we found a "Shogun burger" at McDonalds that was actually pretty good, and a more recent trip to Shanghai where A and I indulged after a trip to the zoo in taro pies and spicy chicken sandwiches that they don't have here. We also took a trip to Hong Kong about 5 years ago where I had a kids meal with a side of corn instead of fries, which I thought was an awesome and much more healthy idea. (Maybe someday we'll do flashback posts... assuming we ever finish talking about this trip.) Although the chains might not be "authentic" to the area, they sometimes have different menu items and since I'm fascinated by fast food restaurants, it's no surprise I would be fascinated by that too.

I didn't really pay much attention to chains other than McDonalds this time (although I did look at more "local" chains like FEBO and Quick Burger, which we'll write about later), and found some interesting things like the McKroket. I figured we probably wouldn't try them but I was still curious.

Upon arrival at Schiphol, we saw a Burger King in the food court. We didn't try it (since we were, after all, devouring awesome fries) but I was fascinated by the different menu:

First, there was an entire lineup of "California" options. I'm not sure what made them "California" other than guacamole. There were also chili cheese nuggets (which sounded good) and curly fries (sorry, "Twister fries"). Why are our curly fries only at Arby's and the almost-extinct Roy Rogers? (Side note: I just checked the current BK menu and it looks like instead of the California specials the new thing is the "nacho" burger with crispy (krokante) nacho chips, jalapenos and "Mexican sauce.")

I noted that they also had pancake bites, probably a nod to the Dutch pancake tradition (I can't wait to write about the awesome Pancakes! Amsterdam).

Unlike McDonalds, for which we saw multiple outlets but very little advertising in Amsterdam, Burger King advertised everywhere. The tram stations especially carried a lot of advertising, like this one at the Koningsplein station.

We found ourselves at Amsterdam Centraal Station on day 4 of our trip, getting ready to go to Den Haag (The Hague). We were later than planned and it was almost lunchtime, so we were kind of hungry. The roll of strawberry Fruitella candies (mmm) that I got wasn't going to cut it. The only "real" food place we saw was Burger King so we checked it out.

It was only intended to be a snack but due to a misunderstanding (we don't speak Dutch), we ended up with an extra hamburger so it became lunch instead of a snack. We ended up getting the California whopper meal, curly fries (with the meal), chili cheese nuggets and the extra hamburger mistake. With all this food, we sadly didn't end up eating anything in Den Haag. Oh well.

(As an aside, can I just say how happy I am when I see curly fries? They're the bestest.)

Here is a closer look at the California whopper sign, which explains that it's basically a whopper with guacamole and chipotle ranch sauce. It actually looks pretty good in the picture.

And this is what it really looked like:

A hamburger with sauce. It was OK, but it was really just a whopper with sauce. Nothing special. And as far as the burger... well it's Burger King. We're not talking Shake Shack quality here.

Now, for the thing I really wanted to try - chili cheese nuggets.

I don't know what I expected. Maybe somehow chili (like the chili at Wendy's) plus cheese made into a fried nugget snack. I don't know how they would do that but that's what my mind was tasting and what I wanted. But that wasn't what I got:

I forgot that chili also refers to chili, like a pepper, and is not always chili, like a bean-filled stew. Oops. It was like a jalapeno popper. It was fine, but I would have rather gotten onion rings or something.

They had some other desserts which were interesting but which we didn't get:

And also kids meal toys (I dunno, I found Kitty Galore funny in Dutch):

I wasn't really sure what things they had at Burger King at home (other than onion rings and chicken tenders and chicken fries and whoppers) since we really don't go anymore (despite my occasional craving for the onion rings). I thought maybe they had curly fries here and I had just missed any advertising for it (wouldn't be surprising). But I looked up the menu when we got back and they didn't have them. Why would Americans not go for curly fries from Burger King? Don't people love curly fries? I do.

Anyway, the unplanned Burger King excursion was the only American fast food chain trip we made in the Netherlands. We did check out the menu at McDonalds (not with any intention of going in) and saw the royal-o-fish and what looked like fried shrimp (neither of which I see on the web menu). But with so much other good food to have, we didn't want to spend our time at Burger King or McDonalds if there were other options. We didn't really have many options at the train station (other than getting stuff to go from the HEMA grocery store but nothing really stood out) unlike at the airport. But we hope this helps you decide if you ever want to go to the Dutch Burger King!

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