Looking for typical food and the best restaurants in Amsterdam? Take a look at my list of what you have to try!
However, do not expect a typical lunch dishes – this is not Italy or Spain! The Dutch tend to specialize in so-called street food: snacks served at street stalls and stands. It is the quintessential Dutch cuisine!
But what is the Dutch cuisine?
Dutch cuisine depends on the geographical conditions of the country, so fishing and agriculture. Because of that typical Dutch dishes were quite simple and heavy, which was an advantage for farmers and physical workers and their energy needs.
And then the Golden Age of colonialism came and with it all the spices and slaves with their culinary traditions. Dutch cuisine began to change – for better, because it was tastier, lighter and healthier!
Today the Dutch cuisine is primarily global, and the Dutch are not afraid to combine different flavors. If you like culinary experiments – you should visit the Netherlands just for food!
Amsterdam food – traditional snacks
1. Pickled herring
In a country that has built its power on shipping, snack number one is, of course, fish. Let’s be precise – pickled herring (Hollandse Nieuwe, haring) served with chopped onions and pickles. Sometimes in the form of sandwiches, but more often on the plate, and you have to eat it by holding the tail above your head and lower it to your mouth to bite. Classics!
Recommended: Stubbe’s Haring, Singel Haarlingersluis 1013 (not far from Amsterdam Centraal)
2. French fries with mayonnaise
We all remember the scene from Pulp Fiction when Jules and Vincent wonder how Europeans can eat french fries with mayonnaise instead of ketchup. I’ll add more – this mayonnaise in the Netherlands is not an ordinary mayonnaise. It mayonnaise with the addition of chopped onion and a sauce of peanuts, it’s called Patatje Oorlog. It doesn’t look the best, but once you taste it you will be in the Dutch culinary paradise. Well, it is a subjective opinion but it’s definitely worth tasting such a make your own!
Recommended: Vlaams Friteshuis Vlemminckx, Voetboogstraat 33 (not far from the Spui)
3. Cheese, my love!
Be in the Netherlands and not eat the cheese is like to be on the Oktoberfest and not drink beer. Cheese shops wait for us around almost every corner in Amsterdam, and the amount and variety of products can make one dizzy. Ask vendors for help if you have any doubts. And, the cheese is often served with… mustard. Omnomnom!
Recommended: cheese shop De Kaaskamer van Amsterdam, Runstraat 7
Personally, I strongly recommend cheese tasting in the Reypenaer Warehouse. We’ll find out a little bit about cheese making, learn to evaluate the taste, smell and age of the cheese, as well as the wine it should be served with. The workshops are in the cellar under the shop, conducted in a very professional manner, in a pleasant atmosphere, we can take notes, and finally get a certificate. 😉 And with this certificate we have a lifetime discount on the purchase of cheese in Reypenaer. Honestly, I fell in love with the goat cheese there, I still eat it at home, and when I am in Amsterdam next time I will take the certificate with me and buy more of this delicious cheese, ha ha ha! 😀
Recommended: Reypenaer, Singel 182
I hope everyone knows how croquet looks like, so I will not explain. I will only add that in Amsterdam Kroket can be served separately, as well as in sandwich or in burger. They can be stuffed with meat, chicken, shrimp or vegetarian… Something delicious for everyone!
5. Peas soup
So-called Erwtensoep is so thick that it a spoon can stand straight in it. Should it be full with vegetables, for example celery, leeks, carrots, as well as smoked sausage, and it should be served with bread or sliced ham. Theoretically, this soup is usually consumed in the Netherlands in winter, but you can get it at any time of the year.
Recommended: De Blauwe Hollander, Leidsekruistraat 28
6. Something sweet: Stroopwafels!
Round wafers glued together with caramel, located on cups of tea … A steam of the tea heats and melts caramel wafers … Mmmmm… But stroopwafels are delicious when they’re cold, too. The best Stroopwafels are in bakeries, although they’re quite expensive there. Those from the supermarket Albert Heijn are fine, too, and fairly reasonably priced!
Recommended: Landskroon bakery, Singel 385
7. Exotic and ecological
Cast the in Chinatown and seek the pubs there with cuisine from all over the world: Indonesian, Far Eastern, African, South American… In the end, it’s part of the Dutch culture!
And if you like interesting combination of flavors, look for sites with organic food. Currently, this kind of food is very trendy and relatively inexpensive in the Netherlands!
Recommended: Le Pain Quotidien, Spuistraat 266
Amsterdam drinks – alcohol drinks
8. Beer, of course
But forget about Heineken, because the Netherlands has a lot more interesting breweries! The best known are still Grolsch, Amstel and Bavaria. But seek further. In the shops you can get beer from small local breweries, for example La Trappe, Jopen, Budels, Dommelsch or Gulpener. In the Netherlands, there are also very popular so-called seasonal beers, which are brewed only at specific times of the year (almost every brewery brews its seasonal beer).
Recommended: Arendsnest Proeflokaal, Herengracht 90, a pub that is specialized in Dutch beers
9. Gin: jenever
Jenever (also geniѐvre, genever) is a thick gin produced from molasses and juniper. In the Netherlands it is consumed since the late Middle Ages. You can buy it in many stores, drink in pubs or taste during gin tastings in many places (like one recommended below).
Recommended: Wynand Fockink, Pijlsteeg 31, a shop with gins and liquers with option of tasting
Have you ever tried Dutch snacks? What do you think about them? Or do you have any other suggestions what to eat in Amsterdam? Share your opinion in the comments below!