Dutch food that you just can’t miss

(Photo credit: indigo_jones)

The Netherlands is not known for the cuisine. Like many Northern European countries, the diet here seems to be based solely on potatoes and sausages. However, when it comes to snacks, nobody beats the Dutch. Check out a food tourof the city, or explore on your own. Here are 10 Dutch snacks that you simply have to try!

Kroket

Febo

All across the city you will find locals munching on this ubiquitous snack. It is a meatyragout covered in breadcrumbs which is subsequently deep fried. If that doesn’t sound appetising to you, consider the fact that over 350 million of them are eaten every year. The local joke is that you never know what meat is inside (horse?). Kroketten come is many varieties: beef, veal and saté, to name a few (not horse).

Last year’s winner of Best Kroket in the Netherlands went to the massive snack-bar chain Febo, which you will find all over the city. Grab a kroket out of the typical Dutch snack vending machines. Get some mustard from the counter and enjoy! (Warning: the inside of fresh kroketten are hotter than the surface of the sun. Eat with caution)

Stroopwafel

Stroopwafel
Stroopwafel (Photo credit: roboppy)

This syrup-filled waffle cookie is, to put it mildly, delicious. Originally made in the small town of Gouda (yes, like the cheese) in the 19thcentury from the leftovers in bakeries, within a century there were around 100 bakeries specialising in this sweet snack.

You can find freshly made stroopwafels at many outdoor markets, or simply head to any supermarket where they are stocked in abundance. To maximise your stroopwafel experience, melt the syrup by heating the cookie up (either by putting it over your coffee cup or in the mircrowave for 2 seconds).

Pannenkoeken

Pannenkoek with bacon and Gouda cheese
Pannenkoek with bacon and Gouda cheese (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Pancakes are pancakes, right? What could possibly be special about the Dutch variety?

The answer is, variety. Dutch pancakehouse (Pannenkoekhuis) menus look more like pizza menus than anything else. Enjoy a big, thin pancake with cheese, ham,  sliced apple, mushrooms or even pineapple! Furthermore, in the Netherlands, pancakes are not breakfast food – they are more commonly eaten for dinner. And they’re filling, too!

Recommendation: try a bacon/cheese pancake covered in syrup. The combination of sweet, savoury and salty makes this a celebration for your mouth.

Check out Amsterdam’s smallest pancake house,Upstairs, or in the Pancake Boat, which not only has an hour of all-you-can-eat pancakes, but also takes you on an hour cruise in which to enjoy them!

Poffertjes

A dish of poffertjes.
A portion of poffertjes. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

These are little puffy pancakes, most often consumed outdoors in markets during the winter. Made in special dimpled copper pans, they have a cooked outside and soft centre.

They are most often served covered in powdered sugar and melted butter in portions of a dozen or so. They are a great snack for on the go, especially when it’s cold.

Pick some up at the Albert Cuyp street market or at the Metropolitan Deli just off Dam Square.

Haring

English: 'Haring met uitjes' is Dutch for a ra...
Fresh herring served with onions (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While most people balk at the first suggestion that they eat what is essentially raw fish, it is an experience not to be missed. Traditionally, herring is only enjoyed between late May and early July. Thankfully, modern freezing techniques mean that this slippery snack can be enjoyed year round!

Nowadays, the brine-soaked herring is usually served sliced into filets on a small paper plate, covered in diced onions or pickles. They are sold in kiosks and fish shops around the city. Check out the van der Rheenen stall on the Albert Cuyp market for great herring. Smooth and delicious: live a little and give it a try!

Paling

English: Smoked Eel, Netherlands Nederlands: G...
Smoked eel (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you thought that raw herring sounded less than appetising, perhaps smoked Eel is not for you. This fatty fish is quite ugly in the wild – fortunately, the preparation process turns it into a normal-looking pink strip. It is commonly served simply inside a soft bun. And it is delicious.

How much do the Dutch love eels? A charming former tradition in Amsterdam involved hanging a live eel on a rope draped across a canal. Locals would stand on wobbly boats and try to pull the slippery snack-to-be off the ropes. Good fun, but when the local government tried to ban the tradition in 1886, it resulted in a riot that killed 26 people. How many other snacks have done that?

Paling is best enjoyed at an old fish seller, like Vishandel Zeedijk or at one of the many street stalls.

Drop

Dutch Candy for Beginners
A selection of Dutch liquorice (Photo credit: BohemianDolls)

While the other snacks on the list are universally enjoyed in the Netherlands, this Dutch liquorice is either loved or hated – and passionately so. This division, however, doesn’t stop the average Dutchman and –woman from consuming 2 kilograms per year (the highest liquorice consumption in the world).

The candy comes in sweet and salty varieties, and dozens of shapes and styles. Supermarkets often have entire sections devoted to this delicious/disgusting treat. So, are you a lover or a hater? Pop one in your mouth and you will quickly find out.

Patat Met

Patatje met
Patat met in the traditional cone (Photo credit: Daniele Muscetta)

Patat Met literally translates into “French fries With”. With what? Mayonnaise of course. While the best French fries are actually from Belgium, they are enjoyed with great gusto in the Netherlands.

There are many different options as far as toppings are concerned, but there is one golden rule: no ketchup. Eating French fries with ketchup is the quickest and easiest way to get labelled a tourist.

Thick crispy fries, or frites, served in a paper cone and generously decorated with delicious mayonnaise… simply the thought of it is enough to get most Dutch mouths watering.

For more exciting options, try the patat oorlog (fries with saté, mayonnaise and diced onions) or patat speciaal (with sweet curry ketchup, mayonnaise and diced onions). Yummy!

Some good places for Patat include the chain Manneken Pis, or the great Vlaamse Friteshuis Vleminckx.

Oliebollen

Oliebollen from Belgium and the Netherlands(ho...
A plate of Oliebollen (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Traditionally served and eaten on New Year’s eve, these deep fried balls of dough, raisins and apple are a sure sign that the holiday season is approaching. Usually served with powdered sugar, they make for a delicious stack for those on the go.

When the holiday season starts, oliebollen (literally, oil balls) can be found at markets and street stands. They are also cooked in houses around the country – if you’re really lucky, perhaps you’ll be invited in to try grandpa’s secret recipe!

Stampot

Hutspot
Hutspot, one of the many varieties of Stampot (Photo credit: Accidental Hedonist)

This is not a snack. Stampot is just about the staple dish of the Netherlands: chopped vegetables mixed in with mashed potatoes, served with a large smoked sausage and covered with a generous helping of gravy. The type of vegetable varies depending on what type of Stampot you're making.

When it’s raining out (which is most of the time) a good stampot will put a smile on many a Dutch face. Heavy, tasty and nutritious, it is so incredibly Dutch that you might just have to buy some wooden clogs to go with it. A good place for Stampot is the Café Sonneveld in the Jordaan area.

 

So there you have it! Whet your appetite with the great treats. So good it'll make you wonder why the Dutch aren't fatter! (my guess, the biking helps).

 

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