Cencalli restaurant in The Hague

Cencalli restaurant in The Hague

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Cencalli is an authentic Mexican restaurant in The Hague. We stumbled across it while taking a shortcut from The Hague City Hall & Central Library to Korte Poten.

The corn dough is freshly made every day. As you enter the restaurant, you see the quesadillas being made on a clay stove. There are a variety of fillings to choose from. We tried the potatoes & sausage with cheese quesadillas and the pulled chicken with chile chipotle tetelas. Three types of home made salsas are given for you to eat with your food.

My daughter tried their Agua de Horchata drink of which the main ingredients are rice, almonds and cinnamon and she loved it. The guacamole is out of this world. I don’t know what ingredients are added to it but it is The best guacamole I have ever had!

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It has a different dinner menu. For example, they have a fried fish in batter taco served with coriander, lime, onion & salsa which is absolutely delicious. Cencalli is not cheap as you are paying for authentic Mexican food that is freshly made but it is well worth a visit. I really enjoyed the experience of eating Mexican food there.

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MingleMush in The Hague

MingleMush in The Hague

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Have you been to MingleMush which is a couple of minutes walk from Den Haag Central Station? I wasn’t quite sure what to expect of the food in the Food Hall but I really enjoyed it. I have been there several times and I haven’t been disappointed.

My favourite is the Pad Thai at the Lime Leaf & Red Pepper stall. I love that it is authentic and the portion size is generous. I struggled to finish the Pad Thai on my own. My daughter’s favourite stall is Bohica that serves Lebanese Street Food. She loved the falafel which Bohica serves in a Lebanese flatbread. She has tried many falafels in the Hague and she claims that this stall has the best falafel. We tried the Special Beef Burito at another stall and that was good too.

Minglemush has such a good variety of food that I don’t think anyone would have difficulty finding a stall that they would like. It has a Poke Bar, a stall that sells burgers & fries, pizza, etc.

In terms of desserts, you have to try Don’s creme brulee doughnuts. It’s novel, sinful and good. The middle of the doughnut is filled with a creme brûlée filling, sprinkled with sugar and then blow-torched. An alternative dessert which is also good is the pisang goreng (“banana fritters”) at the Roaming Panda stall.

Another reason why I like Minglemush is the fact that it is open seven days a week from 12:00 for lunch and dinner. During the week, Lime Leaf & Red Pepper stall gets really busy during lunch time despite the chef’s speed of cooking several orders simultaneously. It’s quite a skill to watch.

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LOVE FLOWERS? WHERE TO INDULGE AROUND THE HAGUE

LOVE FLOWERS? WHERE TO INDULGE AROUND THE HAGUE

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If you love flowers, then the Netherlands is the country for you as it is the world’s largest flower and bulb exporter. Just to give you an indication, the Netherlands produced 2 billion tulips in 2017. Royal FloraHolland in Aalsmeer (“Aalsmeer flower auction”) is the biggest flower auction in the world where around 20 million flowers and plants are traded daily.

Hence, as an expat living here, you simply have to make a trip to the Aalsmeer flower auction as the sheer volume of flowers and plants sold here every day is mind-blowing. It’s a visit that requires an early morning start as the Aalsmeer flower auction is open from 7am every weekday. It costs €7.50 to enter and a leisurely walk on the walkway above the main flower market hall will take around one and a half hours. Parking is free and there is plenty of parking for visitors on the roof top of the building. I would urge you to arrive at 7am as by 9am the activity level starts to slow down. Before you go, I recommend that you download the IZI Travel App onto your phone so that as you walk along the walkway, you can listen to the audio guide.

All flowers and plants are sold by auction and this takes place in the auction room where the buyers (both local and those buying on behalf of exporters) wear head phones so that they can hear the auctioneer. The price of each flower starts from high to low and the buyer who presses the button first makes the purchase.

What really impressed me was how organised the distribution system was after the buyers made their purchase. Everything looked so easy and seamless due to the sophisticated organisational structure behind it.  The distributors attach trolleys of flowers to their towing vehicle and transport them to the designated area. Distribution staff wear different coloured vests to demarcate which flowers they can handle.

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There is even a shuttle which is actually an elevator that transports flowers to the customers’ packaging areas which are on the other side of the road. The shuttle is incredibly fast as it only takes 10 minutes to travel 18 kilometres. This ensures minimum time is wasted in getting the flowers to customers in perfect condition.

Although we can’t buy flowers and plants at the Aalsmeer flower auction, here are my recommendations on where you can go to buy flowers.

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There is a peony farm called Horsthoek Pioenrozen just outside Voorschoten that sells to the public. This farm has the freshest peonies at such good value. You pay €6 for a bunch of 10 peonies! It has many peony varieties, single, double and a variety of colours. The farm also sell peony plants. The farm is 30 years old and it used to only supply peonies to the flower auction but now it sells to the public. Depending on the weather, the farm opens for several weeks each year. This year, it opened for business on the 22nd May.

As it isn’t easy to find the farm, here are the directions. As you leave Voorschoten on the N447 towards Leidschendam, you pass an Esso petrol station on your left, continue along the road and you will see the farm on the right hand side before the bridge. It is opposite a building called B. Hoogwerff Kroon.

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My favourite garden centre is De Bosrand in Wassenaar. The quality of the plants and flowers are excellent and they have a good range of plants. Their fresh flower bouquets are unique and beautifully arranged with a good variety of flowers. In fact, De Bosrand isn’t just a garden centre. It sells quite an extensive range of goods such as fish, rabbits, pet toys, clothing, home décor, furniture and Christmas decorations.  On a rainy miserable day, I enjoy going to De Bosrand and spending a few hours there.

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Peony farm is open on 12 May, the day before Mother’s Day!

Peony farm is open on 12 May, the day before Mother’s Day!

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Peonies are one of my favourite flowers! The peony farm in Voorschoten (Click here for my previous blog for its location) is open for business for just one day on the 12th May for its first harvest and thereafter, it hopes to be open every day from the 21st May.

This farm has the freshest peonies and its prices are competitive. I can’t wait to go there on Saturday to buy myself bunches of peonies. What a Mother’s Day treat!

De Horsten’s lilac trees and rhododendrons are in full bloom now!

De Horsten’s lilac trees and rhododendrons are in full bloom now!

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I went for a walk in De Horsten a couple of days ago and it was absolutely beautiful because the purple lilacs below Seringenberg (“the Lookout tower”) and the rhododendrons were in full bloom. As I missed not seeing them last year, I was delighted to catch them this year.

The climb up to Seringenberg was well worth it as the view was spectacular and I love the sweet fragrance smell of the lilac blooms. If you are a plant lover like me, I highly recommend going to De Horsten within the next week as the blooms tend to only last for one or two weeks.

Click here for my previous blog on De Horsten.

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Taiwanese cafe in The Hague

Taiwanese cafe in The Hague

img_4281-1I discovered a great authentic Taiwanese cafe, T&C Haus one day walking towards Den Haag Central station. Two brothers opened it over a year ago and it’s a family run business. I love the fact that T&C Haus offers a different cuisine in the Hague. I tried their Taiwanese beef noodle soup, large fried chicken and kimchi pork potstickers and loved them. T&C Haus also serves excellent bubble tea with really chewy tapioca pearls.

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One of the brothers is a patissier and oh my God, he does amazing desserts! I tried the black sesame strawberry shortcake which is only available at weekends and it was SO delicious. The black sesame sponge was light and the combination with strawberries and a light whipped cream was perfect. I could have had a slice all to myself as it wasn’t a heavy dessert.

Apart from Mondays, T&C is open everyday for lunch and dinner from 12:00 onwards.

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Llaollao frozen yoghurt is now in The Hague

Llaollao frozen yoghurt is now in The Hague

img_3952.jpgWe went to Spain last April and discovered an amazing frozen yoghurt place called Llaollao. It’s a natural frozen yoghurt that is delicious and healthy as it’s made from skimmed milk. Llaollao’s frozen yoghurt is made on the premises and you have a choice of 3 tub sizes: small, medium and large. A serving comes with a choice of toppings depending on the tub size you choose.

There are 3 categories of toppings: fruit, crunchy and sauces. My personal favourite toppings are the mango, strawberry and crunchy almond. Llaollao is incredibly good value for money as it isn’t sold by weight so you don’t need to worry about choosing “heavy” toppings!

We were so hooked on Llaollao in Spain that we bought half a litre of takeaway frozen yoghurt to eat for breakfast the next day. The takeaway container was so cute as it was in the shape of a green apple. It had a separate compartment for the 3 toppings that came with it and was well insulated to keep the yoghurt cold. You save €1 if you return with your green apple container for another takeaway!

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When the holiday ended, we were lamenting over how we would miss Llaollao.  I decided to google if Llaollao was in Holland and couldn’t believe it when I discovered that it was in Holland and had opened its first shop in the Palace Promenade in Scheveningen last November!

Llaollao is located inside the Palace Promenade and its menu is comparable to what we had in Spain. It has a smaller menu but it still has the main items such as the smoothies, sanums and sensations. And best of all, Llaollao even has the apple takeaway containers here.

Llaollao is open 7 days a week from 12:00-20:00 but it closes earlier if it’s a quiet day. The next time you are in the beach at Scheveningen, you must try Llaollao.

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