A widespread colonial empire? A forward-thinking government? A relaxed stance on marijuana? The Dutch may be known for many things but good food isn’t usually one of them.
Although not as well-known as some other European cuisines, Dutch food is surprisingly good in it’s own kind of way. It’s not exactly light or healthy, but always just seems to have the right amount of awesome. In other words, it’s the definition of a guilty pleasure.
So what must you try if ever you’re in Amsterdam? If you’re willing to skip the usual tourist haunts, push past your recommended daily intakes and eat something just a little different, try these traditional and indulgent Dutch bites.
What’s so special about fries, you ask? Dutch frites are hand cut and double fried – but that’s just the beginning. You can choose whatever sauces and toppings you want, but the most popular are:
- Frites Oorlog – mayonnaise, satay sauce and diced onions.
- Frites Indo – garlic mayonnaise, satay sauce and fried onions.
- Frites Speciaal – mayonnaise, curry ketchup and diced onions.
These combinations of sauces and toppings take the humble fry and turn it into something magnificent.
A sort of skinless minced-meat sausage, the frinkadel can be found at most traditional snack bars. Although basic, the method of frying ensures a slightly crispy outter while the “speciaal” has enough creamy mayonnaise, curry ketchup and diced onions to leave you nodding your head with a pleased smile on your face. I’ve heard rumours that some may contain horse meat, but don’t let that stop you.
These bite-size chunks of battered and fried fish are sold all over Amsterdam. About €3-4 will get you a decent sized serving with an equally decent dollop of tartare sauce. Your instinct may be to pair with frites, to which I say: why the hell not?
Dutch krokettes, or croquettes as most of us know them, are one of the more popular fast food items in Amsterdam. They come in a variety of fillings and flavours but no matter the choice, always manage to satisfy.
The outter shell is golden crunchy while the inside remains perfectly moist. They’re not exactly renowned for their quality ingredients but after that first bite you won’t even care.
There are fancy versions out there but the best krokettes come from the old small snack bars on neighbourhood street corners or the coin operated pay-and-take shelves of dodgy looking Febo restaurants.
Ok before I lose you just hear me out. There may not be anything immediately tantalising about the thought of raw fish, diced onions and sliced pickles, but this Dutch snack is definitely worth a try.
The meat is very soft and delicate and if fresh, only has a very subtle taste of fish. The bread and butter pickles add a bit of a tangy sweetness, while the onions add a little touch of spice. They say the fish is better in June/July when the meat is at it’s sweetest.
The Dutch produce some unbelievably tasty cheeses. The best way to experience them in all their glorious colours, textures and flavours is to visit one of the many Amsterdam Cheese Co. shops in town. Samples are offered throughout the store and have the potential to have you either shuffled out by security or lifted out by crane. Try the mustard and pepper for a bit of spice and kick, or the 14 month Dutch Gold if you like ’em bold.
Chewy caramel sandwhiched between two thin biscuit-like waffles. Have I got your attention? Stroopwafels are as good as they sound and even better when dipped in white, dark or dairy milk chocolate. If you keep your eyes peeled you’ll find them in XL, because that’s the only size you’ll want.
Which Dutch eats leave you wanting more? Comment below.