Sunday 10 February 2013

When is a vending machine not a vending machine?

Febo (many other brands are available) is the best thing about food in the Netherlands.

The concept is simple, and something we desperately need in our lives in the UK. Essentially a shop of vending machines, which are called ‘automats’. Except they aren't vending machines, they are just little windows behind which you'll find a snack. You put your €1.50 in the slot, open a door and take out some food. Your window is opened the other end and replaced fresh. Freshly cooked food, generally deep-fried, and delicious.

What will you find behind these doors? Burgers and frinkanellen hot dogs, which are good but not great. But the croquettes are brilliant and delicious; shrimp, pork and beef. And little spicy rice balls in breadcrumbs, equally delicious. On Thursday I had a croquette on the way from a meeting back to my hotel (picture above), and the next morning I had three for breakfast on the way to the airport.

These places are everywhere (22 Febo automats in Amsterdam alone) and are simply the coolest thing about snacking in Amsterdam, and something we need in London. As fast food goes, possibly a close second to Taco Bell. Yes, its that good!

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