23 May2006

cuyp1

What market should one see when in Amsterdam??? All fingers pointed to the Albert Cuypmarkt on Albert Cuypstraat in the Pijp area of Amsterdam. About 10 minutes by taxi from our hotel, I figured I couldn’t leave the city without a visit to the biggest market in town. Overall verdict? Lukewarm, at best. cuyp5Okay, perhaps a blustery, wet Monday morning was not the best time to visit the market (it’s closed on Sundays), and perhaps not after Queen’s Day celebrations the previous Saturday which basically shut everything down. Nevertheless, the market failed to meet fairly high expectations. It was nice, but not something I would go out of my way to see again…

Over 100 years in operation and currently boasting upwards of 300 stalls, the several hundred meter long market with stalls on both sides of the street was an odd mix of produce, cheese, spices, chocolates, nuts, cheap textiles, fabric, undergarments, fake bags and animal hides. cuyp6Everything I have read suggests this was much more of a produce market many years ago but it has evolved into many more dry goods or textile stalls as various reasons have driven away the original produce sellers (whether lack of sufficient market, government regulations regarding sale of goods, etc.). It doesn’t help either that at 45 degrees F there probably was a shortfall of locally grown produce (except greenhouse raised) to sell!

We strolled the entire length of the market and worked our way back to the beginning so that we could review what was on offer. Frankly, we cuyp3immediately dismissed at least 50-70% of the vendors for carrying stuff similar to 168 Mall in Divisoria at markedly higher prices. We did, however, find some potential gems in the rough… a wonderful spice stall that led to a much bigger and deeper spice and tea shop in the building directly behind it, there was also a nice herring stall, some produce vendors, a cheese shop with limited but fresh offerings, an interesting hide shop and great dried fruit and chocolate vendors. The spice shop had kitchen utentsils, dozens of types of teas and an impressive selection of spices from all over the world.

We ordered some fresh herring at the herring stall but I still couldn’t get over cuyp2my historical dislike for the stuff. I have several photographs of the produce on offer and the green and white asparagus, artichokes, strawberries and oranges all looked tempting. There was a nice fresh crate of rhubarb which I so rarely see and since I didn’t have a kitchen, couldn’t cook into a strawberry and rhubarb pie or other delicious concoction. The cheese vendor was stocked but to a much less impressive state than the De Kaaskamer Cheese Shop I wrote about a few posts ago. The dried fruit selection was pretty good as were the nuts and broken bricks of chocolate on offer. My daughter bought a small chunk of dark chocolate for Euro 1.50 and she liked it a lot.

We also spent some time at a store for leather hides where acuyp8you could get rabbit pelts, raccoon, mink, cowhides, etc. My daughter again purchased a tiny rabbit’s foot which seemed a reasonable bargain for Euro 3.00 for a lifetime of good luck… I was actually egging her on to purchase a deerskin messenger bag for her school books but she thought I was a bit wacky. The sheepskins were cool too but I recall when I was about her age my parents brought a similar skin home from Australia and by the rainy season it smelled wicked bad…

Overall, I was glad that we took the time to go see the market. cuyp4However, when compared to many other markets I have seen and was about to see during the rest of this trip, this one was a bit disappointing. Perhaps it would be better at the height of the summer months when local produce was plentiful…but in Amsterdam, that is probably only 3 months out of the year! At any rate, if you happen to be nearby and you are a market addict, spend an hour or two strolling up and down the Albert Cuypmarkt in the outskirts of Amsterdam!

cuyp7

 

COMMENTS:

  1. Rampau says:

    300 Stalls! That’s a really big market. I do frequent Farmer’s markets here. Thanks for sharing.

    May 23, 2006 | 5:06 am

     
  2. pam says:

    the store selling animal hides and mink and the lot makes this market VERY bad. tsktsk.

    May 23, 2006 | 3:04 pm

     
  3. Marketman says:

    pam, cow hides are from all the farm raised beef for steaks and the rabbit hides are the same, they eat the meat. deer are culled because there are too many of them. minks are farm raised and I am not sure if the racoons were road kill…heehee. I jest but I get your drift.

    May 23, 2006 | 3:32 pm

     
  4. Apicio says:

    Your sheepskin in the rainy season story reminds me of a cartoon I saw in the New Yorker oh years ago. Showed a picture of two sheeps conversing and the caption says: ” I hate the smell of wet wool.”

    May 24, 2006 | 8:26 am

     
  5. purplegirl says:

    yep, no visit to Amsterdam is complete without passing by Albert Cuypmarkt. did you notice the numerous stalls selling chinese stuff? i thought that was funny. i remember one time they had this stall that sold freshly baked bread. mmmm, that was awesome.

    May 24, 2006 | 11:52 am

     
  6. CecileJ says:

    Mmm, rhubarb! My Ma used to make a yummy rhubarb pie. But I haven’t seen fresh rhubarb in Manila in ages.

    May 25, 2006 | 10:17 am

     
  7. HL says:

    how does the waterlooplien market compare?
    i am going in november…..what sort of business hours do they keep that time of year?
    also can you reccomend the best markets….i’m sorry for all the questions,but i am going over from the states and my wife loves to ramble through flea markets and the like…thanks guys.

    HL

    Jul 21, 2006 | 11:33 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    I am not sure we got a chance to see waterlooplien market. Though I understand there are several flea markets that are worth visiting. Most guidebooks name the top 3 or so flea markets. Food markets were a bit disappointing, frankly. I have several more posts on Amsterdam places in my May and June 2006 archives.

    Jul 21, 2006 | 11:49 am

     
 

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