Must Try Foods in The Netherlands
The Netherlands is a very cosmopolitan country, the Dutch are in general really easy going, tolerant, friendly and most of us speak English very well, as we are used to tourists and love to practice our language skills!
The food is also very internationally orientated and we have many restaurants catering to your American, Chinese, Asian, Mediterranean, or even Indian cravings! But what’s better while traveling then to also sample the local cuisine and really get to know a country’s culture through your taste buds?! If you feel the same, then here are a few Dutch delicacies that should certainly not be missed during your visit to the Netherlands:
Stamppot & Rookworst
Like ’’fish and chips’’ in the United Kingdom, ‘’stamppot’’, literally translated as ‘mash pot’, is the typical Dutch comfort food. It’s mostly eaten in the cold winter months and used to be the perfect dish for Dutch farmers to regain strength after a hard day’s work on the land.
It’s prepared by blending mashed potatoes with cooked vegetables like kale, sauerkraut, or a carrot and union combination, with a lot of gravy, and either meatballs or the typical Dutch smoked sausage called: ‘’rookworst’’!
This delicious Dutch treat cannot be missed and is basically just two thin waffles combined with a layer of sweet syrup in between. They are sold in tin cans in many gift shops, as it makes the perfect Dutch gift, but also as normal cookies in the supermarket. The best, however, are the big ones sold in the market place or in pop-up street stalls in many city centers, as these are made fresh and are sold while still hot and sticky.
Bitterballen & Kroketten
‘’Bitterballen’’ is the ultimate party treat, or appetizer during Dutch happy hour. These deep-fried meatballs with crispy layer are filled with hot ragout, best eaten while dipped in mustard! It’s the perfect snack and served in many pubs and café’s to match your typical Dutch beer. ‘’Kroketten’’ have a similar composition and taste, and are also a popular Dutch snack, the only difference is that these are mostly sold in a cafeteria with a side of fries.
But in most big cities like Amsterdam, you can even buy them from a hole in the wall at fast food chains like ‘’FEBO’’. Certainly no haute cuisine, but perfect to soothe your after-hours cravings. FEBO was the first one to display several snacks like ‘’kroketten’’ and ‘’frikadellen’’ in a wall, accessible 24/7. Just put some coins into the slot and your snack is served!
This raw fish is a seasonal delicacy, and although you can order it throughout the year served on a sandwich in many lunchrooms, the real connoisseurs say it’s best served between June and July when the fish are the fattest and taste the sweetest.
In Dutch coastal towns, there are many fish stalls that sell this popular dish as a snack. But it’s also sold at herring carts on Dutch marketplaces, combined with a side of onions and pickles. Traditionally herring should be eaten raw and fresh, by holding the fish above your head, while biting it from below!
For the less daring there is also a more safe fish alternative which is typical Dutch. ‘’Kibbeling’’ is sold at the same places, but in contrast to raw herring this white fish, usually cod, is battered and deep fried. It certainly has my preference as a fish alternative and is best eaten hot and combined with herb mayonnaise and lemon.
This typical Dutch spread for slices of bread and sandwiches is originally from the Netherlands. Therefore you can not go here without visiting one of our cheese shops, sample the different variations, and take some of these round delicacies home with you as a souvenir.
Especially in Amsterdam, there are many specialized shops spread out over the city and the ‘’9 streets’’ shopping area. But there are several other places, well known for their cheese making heritage, like Gouda, Maasdam and Alkmaar, which should not be missed. Especially if you want to learn more about the production process and history of ‘’kaas’’ (the Dutch word for cheese) the cheese museum in Amsterdam, or any of these other cities, is worth a visit.
As a variation on pancakes the Dutch invented these fluffy clouds of pancake batter, served in market stalls, and pancake houses throughout the Netherlands. Eat them as a snack, or even lunch, with a lot of powdered sugar and a big chunk of butter, and you will be hooked for life!
‘’Drop’’ (the Dutch word for ‘’liquorice’’) is a popular Dutch treat, so much so that the Netherlands actually holds the highest per-capita consumption of this sweet in the world. But beware as this Dutch version is probably not the liquorice as you might know it! It’s a more salty, black version also available in different shapes, flavors and combinations. Such as round, square, kitty shaped, honey flavored, salty or sweet, and with a hard or softcore, but all certainly worth a try!
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