Taste the Top 15 Dutch Foods

Taste the Top 15 Dutch Foods, Amsterdam, Netherlands (D)

Dutch cuisine may not be as well-known as French or Chinese food. But that doesn't mean there aren't tasty treats to be found here in Amsterdam. There are many Dutch foods that must be tried at least once when visiting the Netherlands. Here's a list of 15 foods and drinks you should be sure to sample, and places around Amsterdam where you can find them.
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Sights Featured in This Article

Guide Name: Taste the Top 15 Dutch Foods
Guide Location: Netherlands » Amsterdam
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Article (D))
# of Attractions: 15
Author: Shoshannah Hausmann
Author Bio: I love interesting people, good food and drink, and beautiful sights. Walking around a city to explore its nooks and crannies can reveal amazing treasures. Come walk with me!
Author Website: http://www.awesomeamsterdam.com
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Poffertjes
  • Bitterballen
  • Stroopwafels
  • Koffie Verkeerd
  • Hollandse Haring
  • Gouda Cheese
  • Pannenkoeken
  • Tosti
  • Dutch Beer
  • Drop
  • Stamppot
  • Patat
  • Appeltaart
  • Jenever and Dutch Liquours
  • Rijsttafel

1) Poffertjes

Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour. These tasty treats are prepared using a special pan with several shallow indentations in the bottom to hold the batter and make perfectly puffed small pancakes. Poffertjes are typically served at outdoor markets, and are topped with powdered sugar and warm butter. The wind blowing the powdered sugar around covering your face and clothing in white dust is part of the fun!

You can find poffertjes during the fall and winter at stands located at the main squares around the city, including Leidseplein, Rembrandtplein and Museumplein. To eat poffertjes year-round, visit Groot Melkhuis in the middle of the beautiful Vondelpark.

2) Bitterballen

Bitterballen are deep-fried snacks that are ubiquitous in cafes and bars all over the Netherlands. These savory orbs are battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating and filled with a gooey mixture of chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices. They are served with mustard for dipping, and pair perfectly with a cold beer.

Be very careful when you bite into the balls as they are usually burning hot inside!

Order bitterballen at any traditional style bar or café with a small kitchen. Try them at Cafe Luxembourg, voted the best bitterballen in Amsterdam.

3) Stroopwafels

This sweet snack is a waffle cookie made from two thin layers of batter with a sticky syrup filling in the middle called stroop. They can be purchased in packages at nearly every grocery store in Amsterdam, as well as freshly made at street stands at markets and festivals.

In Amsterdam find fresh stroopwafels at the Albert Cuyp street market, which is open during the day from Mon-Sat. Follow your nose to the stand and order a big ooey-gooey cookie from the stand usually located about halfway down the market. However, as this famous stroopwafel stand is not always there, you can also try fresh stroopwafels at Lanskroon bakery on the Singel canal. Lanskroon makes stroopwafels daily and you can even get some packaged up for later.
Koffie Verkeerd

4) Koffie Verkeerd

Visit any cafe or restaurant in the Netherlands and you are sure to notice someone ordering a koffie verkeerd. This is the Dutch version of a caffè latte or café au lait. It is traditionally a hot cup of coffee with a lot of warm milk, but is most commonly served as an espresso with a lot of steamed milk and some froth, as well as a little cookie on the side.

Koffie Verkeerd means "wrong coffee" because of the large amount of milk, as opposed to a regular coffee which would be black or with only a splash of milk. As wrong as it might be, a koffie verkeerd is a delicious way to take a break from sightseeing.

You can order koffie verkeerd in nearly any cafe in Amsterdam, but why not have a great view while you sip your coffee? Cafe de Jaren has large windows for a bright interior and two terraces outside on the canal. They also serve good food.
Hollandse Haring

5) Hollandse Haring

A very traditional food in the Netherlands, Hollandse haring should be tried at least once. The raw herring fish is typically served with chopped onions, and can be eaten with or without bread. Traditionally they are eaten by grabbing the fish by the tail, tipping your head back and dangling the fish into your open mouth to take a bite. If that doesn't seem appealing, haring can also be eaten in small pieces or on a sandwich called broodje haring.

This Dutch style herring is marinated in a salted vinegar solution for a few days, leaving the flesh soft and the flavor mild. This cold-water fish is still quite fishy in taste, which some love and others do not. Try it and see what you think!

Look for haring stands and shops all around Amsterdam, usually identified by their Dutch flags and images of fish or fishermen. Stubbe's Haring stand is easy to find, located on a bridge at the beginning of Haarlemmerstraat, close to central station.
Gouda Cheese

6) Gouda Cheese

If you like cheese, you must try the many varieties of Dutch gouda. Goudse Kaas, as gouda cheese is known in the Netherlands, is a traditional cow's milk cheese that is eaten at all stages of ripeness, from Jong (young) to Oud (old). The flavor depends on the age, with young cheese being softer and much milder and aged cheeses having a salty tang and a firmer texture.

The Dutch also sometimes incorporate spices like cumin, black pepper, and coriander into gouda cheese. Gouda style cheese can also be made of other types of milk like goat or sheep. De Kaaskamer van Amsterdam has a terrific selection of many kinds of gouda cheese and is located in the charming "9 streets" Jordaan neighborhood.

7) Pannenkoeken

Pancakes are common around the globe, but the Dutch give pancakes their own spin as pannenkoeken. The Dutch version is a lot larger and flatter than the American pancake, but slightly thicker than a French crêpe. Traditionally they are eaten for dinner. The pancakes sometimes incorporate bacon, cheese, vegetables or fruits and are served with a dark sugar syrup (stroop), powdered sugar, or jam. The most classic pannenkoek is bacon topped with stroop.

Most Dutch folks eat their pancakes by topping them with syrup or sugar and then rolling the pannenkoek up into a tube shape. They then eat by slicing pieces off of the rolled up tube with a knife and fork. Try it!

Pannenkoeken are served at several dedicated pancake restaurants around Amsterdam. The most unique is the Pannenkoekboot, a boat that cruises the IJ while you dine on all-you-can-eat pancakes. Yum!
Image Courtesy of FotoosvanRobin.

8) Tosti

Delicious for lunch or as a snack, a tosti is a quick and easy sandwich that can be found at most cafes in Amsterdam. The simplest version of the tosti is a toasted cheese sandwich that often includes ham or salami as well. It can be ordered on white or brown bread. Try a basic tosti at most cafes around Amsterdam along with your koffie verkeerd or a beer for the perfect pick-me up while sightseeing.

While a plain tosti with simple Dutch cheese is delicious, the gourmet versions are yummy too. These are usually made with thicker breads and include more vegetables and perhaps aged cheeses or goat cheese for a filling lunch.

The tosti from Café De Kat in de Wijngaert won an award for the best in the city, so it's a great place to sample one.
Dutch Beer

9) Dutch Beer

Nearly everyone has heard of the famous Heineken Dutch beer. But you don't really know Dutch beer until you've sampled more from the variety of beers brewed in the Netherlands.

There are more than 50 breweries in the Netherlands. Amsterdam even has a few local breweries. Some of the beers are similar to the Belgian Trappist beers like blondes or dubbels, but there are a wide range of styles and flavors including pilsners, stouts, ales and lagers.

The best place to try a range of these delicious brews in Amsterdam is at Proeflokaal Arendsnest, a lovely bar specializing in Dutch beers. They have 30 beers on top and more than 100 in bottle.

10) Drop

The Dutch truly love their licorice or "drop" as it is known in the Netherlands. You can find it in many shops around Amsterdam. There is a flavor or type of drop for every taste from sweet to salty, hard to soft. Drop comes in many shapes and sizes from small Groente Erwten (green peas) to large Muntdrop chewy coins.

Although the Dutch adore black licorice, some people do not enjoy the taste, especially the salty varieties. Sample from the wide variety of flavors to see if there is one that you love!

When in Amsterdam, shop for drop at the charming Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje in the Jordaan, an old-fashioned store with glass jars of candies lining the walls. A visit to this shop is like a step back in time.

11) Stamppot

Traditionally served during wintertime, stamppot may be the epitome of Dutch cuisine. Hearty, and tasty but definitely not fancy, this filling dish consists of mashed potatoes mixed with vegetables like kale or carrots. It is usually served with rookworst, a smoked sausage, and sometimes bacon or meatballs.

The best stamppot is of course homemade. But if you can't get an invite into a Dutch home, there are many places in Amsterdam to sample this food. A fun concept is Stamppotje, which is an ice cream shop in the summer and stamppot cafe in the winter. Look for it if you are visiting Amsterdam in the winter months. Year-round you can taste stamppot at Moeders, a cozy restaurant serving traditional Dutch meals.
Image Courtesy of M.M.Minderhoud.

12) Patat

Patat are thick and crispy chips or fries that are said to have been invented in the northern part of Belgium, and are thus often called Vlaamse friet.

The Dutch enjoy their patat with mayonnaise and also with a combination of unique toppings. Try patatje oorlog, a conglomeration of peanut saté sauce, mayo and onions that might give your stomach a lesson about the meaning of the name (oorlog means war). Or try the patat speciaal which includes curry ketchup, mayonnaise and onion.

Manneken Pis on Damrak was voted the best fries in Holland, but we think the fries at Vleminckx Sausmeesters are the tastiest in town. Stop by this small hole-in-the-wall shop for fresh and crispy fries.
Image Courtesy of Takeaway.

13) Appeltaart

Appeltaart is the ultimate Dutch dessert. It's served in nearly every cafe and restaurant in the Netherlands. This apple treat is something like a combination of American apple pie and a cake. It's typically served warm with a dollop of whipped cream (slagroom) on the side. Appeltaart goes really well with another item on our list, koffie verkeerd.

While you can sample Dutch appeltaart at cafes all over Amsterdam, many agree that the best appeltaart is served at Winkel in the Jordaan. This cafe is very popular on Saturday during the organic farmers market located on their doorstep in front of the Noorderkerk. For the most relaxing experience, try to visit Winkel on another day of the week, but the appeltaart will taste delicious no matter what day it is.
Jenever and Dutch Liquours

14) Jenever and Dutch Liquours

Jenever is a distilled liquor flavored with juniper, from which gin evolved. It's stocked in nearly every bar in Amsterdam, many times in the traditional-looking red clay bottles. You'll see two types of jenever, oud (old) and jonge (young). This refers not to the age of the liquor, but rather the old or new style of distilling.

Sample jenever at many bruincafes or traditional bars around town, or visit a special tasting room like Wynand Fockink. This historic distillery and tasting room has been here since 1679 and serves tasty liquours and jenevers from their distillery. Wynand Fockink also offers tours so you can learn more about how the drinks are made.

15) Rijsttafel

Although rijsttafel is made up of Indonesian dishes, this meal style is said to be a Dutch invention. The delicious Indonesian cuisine has been embraced in the Netherlands since Indonesia was a colony of the Netherlands beginning in the 1800s. The Dutch arrived in Indonesia in the 16th century in search of spices, and the wonderful foods from that area of the world have become a part of Dutch cuisine.

Rijsttafel consists of rice with many small dishes of spiced vegetables and meats. These dishes are shared among a group of two or more diners, allowing everyone to try a range of items.

Rijsttafel is commonly seen on the menu of Indonesian restaurants all over Amsterdam and is usually priced between €20-30 per person. A popular restaurant located near the Spui that serves rijsttafel is Kantjil & de Tijger. Reservations are recommended when dining with a large group or on the weekend.

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