This story is first in a series of stories highlighting Filipino entrepreneurs and start-ups in Europe. This installment takes us to a café in The Hague, the political capital of the Netherlands.
Autumn has officially begun in Europe—and the cooler, wet season has Filipinos living in the Netherlands craving a cup of freshly brewed kapeng barako and Spanish bread for meryenda.
Fortunately, a Filipino bakery has just opened on one of the busiest streets in The Hague, ready to serve warm bread and pastries to everyone who walks into the small but gezellig (cozy) Café Nordrick.
The bestseller is the hot pandesal, sold for 60 cents each or €6 for a dozen. Also freshly baked every day are other Pinoy favorites like ensaymada, pan de coco, pan de corned beef, and pan de hotdog.
The owners of the café are the Lacorum family, who moved here five years ago as expats working for an oil company. “We used to participate a lot in culture events where we would proudly showcase Filipino treats to the neighborhood. It was our way to socialize, adapt to the new culture, and get to know other Filipinos living in the Netherlands,” says baker Norma Lacorum.
“A lot of Filipinos tell me they miss pandesal dipped in coffee, especially in the mornings. This is our inspiration to establish this small bakery: to serve our kababayans, and at the same time introduce our traditional pastries to the international community,” she adds.
On a busy afternoon, tables are filled with customers, Dutch and Filipino, who leave sated and carrying familiar brown takeaway bags filled with warm bread.
Aside from the traditional pastries, the bakery also sells Filipino sweets such as bibingka, turon and maruya. “It’s an interesting flavor. My favorite would probably be the turon,” a Dutch customer says.
Filipino tourist Kenneth Dimalibot takes in the familiar flavors and aroma. “The bread tastes like home, and the coffee smells like home too,” he says. — BM, GMA News