The Netherlands has a long tradition of seafaring, travelling and emigration. They have been able to export many things, the reality is that few people know typical foods from Netherlands. If you are going to travel to the capital of the country with the highest average altitude in the world and are wondering what to eat in Amsterdam, read on, because we are recommend list of the most traditional dishes in the country.
Bitterballen are a smaller, rounder version of croquettes, which usually come in an elongated shape. Usually containing meat ragout, these fried delicacies are often served as a snack in Dutch bars and cafés or can also be part of a selection of fried snacks, called bittergarnituur. If you’re looking for something to fill your stomach during a quick stop, bitterballen are an ideal choice to eat in Amsterdam.
The Dutch troopwafel or syrup waffle, is a biscuit that is typical of the Netherlands and has been eaten in the country for centuries. The history of this delicacy dates back to 1784, when a baker in the town of Gouda baked a waffle with old crumbs and spices and filled it with syrup.
Because it was made from leftovers, the stroopwafel was, at that time, a popular pastry among the poor and only known in Gouda. Today, every bakery in Gouda has its own recipe for these delicious sweet waffles. But don’t worry, you can also find them in Amsterdam without much trouble.
Dutch fries are not thin like American fries, but wide, strong and a bit thick. They are not served in a small, awkward container, but in an ingenious cone-shaped cardboard contraption, sometimes adorned with the jewel in the crown: sauce holders.
These fries have two characteristics that make them different from all the others: firstly, the fact that they are never frozen (the potatoes are peeled and cut the same day they are served), and secondly, the type of cooking: they are not fried once, but twice, once on a low heat and once on a high heat so that they are crispy on the outside and tender on the inside.
Unlike the thick and fluffy American variety, Dutch pancakes have a thinner, crepe-like consistency, with more surface area to add toppings of your choice.
If you’re looking for something to eat in Amsterdam, this may be a perfect option for when you’re in the mood for something sweet.
Okay, we know, jenever is not a food, but we put it on the list of typical Dutch foods because this precursor of gin is really important in Dutch gastronomy.
This liqueur distilled from juniper berries has a malty flavour similar to whisky and was traditionally used for medicinal purposes, before becoming one of the country’s signature drinks. Served in a tulip-shaped glass, it is often served with a beer, a combination known as kopstootje, meaning “head”.
Yeah, like you need a reason to try a slice of apple pie, right?
The Dutch version of this delicious and traditional tart is infused with cinnamon, sprinkled with sultanas and blended into a whipped cream. Although it tops the dessert menu in most restaurants and cafés, Winkel 43 in the Jordaan neighbourhood is said to serve one of the best.
The Dutch love their herring, which they call Hollandse Nieuwe. The way to eat it is raw on a roll or as a snack with some chopped onions and pickles – it’s not only very tasty but also incredibly healthy!
If you are thinking of adding it to your list of typical Dutch foods to eat in Amsterdam, you should know that the herring season starts annually in June, with the famous Vlaggetjesdag or ‘flag day’.
If you don’t feel brave enough to try raw herring, you can still get your fish fix with kibbeling: small morsels of white fish, usually cod, battered and fried. They’re as delicious as they look, and are usually served with a sauce of herbs, mayonnaise and lemon.
Try it hot and fresh at a street market or food truck for the ultimate kibbeling experience.
If you Google “What to eat in Amsterdam”, 100% of the pages will name FEBO, and no wonder. Not only does this fast food chain offer traditional Dutch dishes at ridiculously low prices, but some of them are really good!
FEBO is a well-known chain whose origins date back to the 1940s and which today has more than 20 locations in the city and 60 throughout the Netherlands. The febo croquettes (krokets in Dutch) that take the cake: not only are they the most sought-after item in the place, but they are the cornerstone on which FEBO built its vending machine empire.
If their delicious croquettes aren’t enough of an excuse to visit FEBO, the experience of buying food that you pull yourself out from behind the little transparent door is something you should definitely experience in Amsterdam.
The name literally means “oil balls”, but don’t let that put you off.
Oliebollen are a typical Dutch dish that are essentially fried sweet dumplings (sometimes containing pieces of fruit) and sprinkled with icing sugar. They are so delicious that they only come out around New Year’s Eve, just before people start the post holiday diet.
Want to know what to eat in Amsterdam? Cheese. Eat cheese.
Cheese making in the Netherlands dates back to 400 AD. Cheese markets in the Netherlands have been operating for hundreds of years, catering to national and international buyers interested, above all, in Gouda and Edam cheeses.
Farmers bring their cheese to the markets where it is weighed, priced, tasted and sold. Today, some of the traditional cheese markets have become tourist attractions, while the markets in Woerden and Gouda (the city) still function as commercial markets.
The most traditional and well-known Dutch cheeses are Gouda, Edam, Maasdam, Boerenkaas and Leyden, among others.
Think of poffertjes as mini pancakes, but puffier! They are made with yeast and buckwheat flour and are usually served topped with icing sugar and butter. But don’t let that stop you: whipped cream, syrup and strawberries are just as good.
These little cloud-shaped, glory-flavoured morsels are usually bought from street vendors, especially in winter. Poffertjes are typically served in mini cardboard boxes and eaten with mini plastic forks. As you can see, the important thing here is to appreciate the little things in life.
This delicious gingerbread cake comes in loaves and is heavy enough to ensure that one slice will probably be enough. The name literally translates as ‘breakfast cake’, although you can scarf down a slice at any time of the day because you’re an adult who’s eager to know what to eat in Amsterdam and no one is going to stop you.
If you want a little extra flavour, spread some butter on your ontbijtkoek.
Stamppot literally translates as stamping or banging the pot and is one of the most traditional Dutch meals. It is more of a winter food because originally the vegetables used were grown in winter (winter carrots and kale, for example).
The dish basically consists of a pot in which potatoes and vegetables (of any kind) are mashed and mixed. It doesn’t matter which vegetables you choose: if you mash them with some potatoes, the Dutch call it stamppot.
It is traditionally served with gravy, bacon, smoked sausage or chicken breast. And if you’re really looking for the most traditional dish possible to eat in Amsterdam, you should cut a hole in the middle of your stamppot and pour the gravy into the hole.
Eating liquorice in the Netherlands is something of a national pastime; in fact, the country has the highest per capita consumption of the sweet in the world. However, if someone in the Netherlands offers you liquorice (and they will), BEWARE! This is not the liquorice you know, but a black, salty version. Approach with caution and don’t say we didn’t warn you.
Another one of those dishes that you have to eat in Amsterdam if you want to enjoy a real Dutch meal. Snert is something like the Dutch version of pea soup. It’s a thick, green stew of peas, pork, celery, onions and leeks. Succulent and absolutely delicious.
Snert, which is widely consumed throughout the Netherlands, is a typical winter food traditionally served to ice skaters on the icy canals by street vendors.
The last dish on our list of what to eat in Amsterdam is tompouce, a traditional Dutch cake consisting of a thin puff pastry that is filled with cream and covered with a layer of soft, pink icing.
The dessert is believed to be named after a dwarf who had the stage name Tom Pouce. Tompouce is often served with afternoon tea or coffee, especially at festive events such as birthdays.
As you may have noticed, there are many typical foods of Netherlands to eat in Amsterdam. Whether you’re looking for sweet or savoury, Dutch gastronomy is waiting to surprise you with dishes full of flavour. Are you going to miss them?
We hope you enjoyed this article and that it will help you prepare your menu for your next trip to Amsterdam. If so, be sure to share it with us! And if you’ve already been to the Netherlands, tell us about your experience. We want to know what you ate, if you liked it, if you would recommend it… everything!