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Typical Dutch foods

August 3, 2017/ BY Alina

Sushi, pizza, tikka masala, roti, noodles… Whatever food you like, you can find a restaurant in Amsterdam that serves it. The Netherlands were never exactly famous for their exquisite cooking. Hundreds of years ago we already took our “food-spiration” from foreign cuisines because, well, the traditional food wasn’t that exciting. However, in the course of time, a few typical Dutch dishes were created. Nowadays it’s impossible to imagine the Netherlands without certain foods.

Dutch snacks

There are a few dishes that count as typical Dutch food, but most of the foods are more like snacks. But hey: if you eat enough of it, it counts as a meal, right?

Dutch crispy meatballs called bitterballen


Small hot, fried crispy meatballs you can dip in mustard. You can get these crunchy balls at almost every bar in Amsterdam around 4 or 5 pm. They are often a (bar) snack before dinner – which is served at six in many Dutch households by the way. Another place where you will certainly find these snacks is at any Dutch party that involves watching sports events. “Go bitterballen!”

Dutch stroopwafels


Literally translated these cookies are “syrup waffles”. Sounds delicious right? Well, you’re right, they are! They are basically what you would expect. A stroopwafel is two thin waffles stuck together with a layer of thick syrup. These are best enjoyed while freshly made and still warm. You can get these at many (local) markets. Many tourists find these cookies the best Dutch treat ever. Remember to buy a pack at the supermarket to bring back home.

dutch licorice


From the snack foreigners like the most (stroopwafels), we jump to the one that is probably disliked the most: drop. Drop is licorice, but not the red and sweet sugary version you know. We’re talking about the original one. Traditionally, drop is candy from the Netherlands. Dutch licorice isn’t spirally shaped. Dutch “dropjes” are small ovals, squares, diamonds, cubes, coins, beehives, fishes and car shapes – I kid you not. There are all kinds of drop: sweet & soft, sweet & hard, salty & soft and salty & hard. Salty drop (double salty licorice) is quite an odd taste. It contains ammonium chloride and is therefore often referred to as salmiak. Fun fact: Dutch people love to force their love of drop onto unsuspected friends from abroad, so you’re warned…

Dutch fries in a paper cone

Dutch fries

Move over thin super salty sticks, Dutch fries are here. These thick fries are usually served in a paper cone with many different toppings. Ever thought of eating fries with a mix of curry ketchup, mayonnaise and onions? The Dutch eat this so-called “patatje speciaal” all the time. Once you’ve had Dutch fries, you don’t want to go back to to the skinny salt ones. 

Raw herring with onions

Rauwe haring

Are you fond of fish? Maybe this is something for you. Raw herring is an original Dutch fish. It is served raw with some onions (and sometimes pickles) on it. When you visit Amsterdam, you’ll see the herring carts everywhere. You’ll either love it or hate it, but you definitely need to try it while in the Netherlands. 

fried white cod Dutch dish called kibbeling


Not ready for raw fish? Kibbeling is chunks of fried cod with some spices scattered over it. Try this fish at the local street market or from fish trucks. Freshly made, it’s the best! Many locals eat this as a snack or a light meal with “ravigote” sauce. This sauce is made from mayonnaise, herbs and lemon juice.

Dutch poffertjes with powdered sugar and butter


A real hit with foreigners are poffertjes (pronounced as ‘poh-fuhr-chess’). They’re a small and plural variant of Dutch pancakes – which you should try as well at one of the “pannenkoeken” houses. Poffertjes are sweet and puffy little snacks that are made from a traditional batter of yeast and buckwheat flour. They look and taste a bit like small American Pancakes, but they are way fluffier and have a lighter, spongier texture. Cover them in powdered sugar and are a bit of butter. So delicious!

stamppot with rookworst

Dinner is served

Up to a typical Dutch dinner? During the winter time, you can try “stamppot” in a lot of restaurants. This traditional dish consists of mashed potatoes and some vegetables such as sauerkraut, kale or carrots and a hot juicy sausage. Especially when it’s cold outside, many people in the Netherlands have a stamppot dinner. Another wintery dish is “snert”. This is a thick green stew or soup of split peas, pork, onions and leeks. You can often find a stand that sells snert near local outside ice skating rinks when it’s freezing.

febo fast food vending machine store

Fast food from vending machines

One of the most Dutch things is croquettes from vending machines. Visit one of the many so-called FEBO’s and you’ll see a broad variety of hot snacks behind glass doors. Snacks like hamburgers, “frikandellen” (meat bars) and “kroketten” (croquettes – the larger versions of bitterballen). This is the typical Dutch fast food. To make a meal out of it, you can combine these snacks with Dutch fries.

More about Amsterdam

Are you ready to discover Amsterdam? If the Dutch food isn’t your thing: don’t worry. We’re not famous for our food – although we do have some great Chinese restaurants in Amsterdam. However, we are famous for our shopping streets and our diamonds. Read how Amsterdam became the City of Diamonds or contact our travel department for more tips to make your stay in Amsterdam truly memorable.   

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