8 Essential Eats To Try During a Trip to Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an animated destination known for being one of the most visited cities in Europe, its liberal views towards recreational drugs and sex, cycling, canals, and their floating flower market. A visit to the city guarantees a vacation packed with experiences that entertain, stimulate, and for a gourmand, results in some rather exciting discoveries.
The streets of Amsterdam are brimming with restaurants that serve a variety of worldwide cuisines, promising real flavors and an opportunity to indulge in fabulous feasts. However, it is the Dutch delights, often overlooked, that truly stand out for their simplicity and mouth-watering tastes. Here are eight essential eats to experiment with, during your Amsterdam adventure.
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There are a couple of theories behind the name patatje oorlog, which translates to "war fries," but the most widespread is based on the war-like appearance of the plate once you are done eating it. Thick cut, twice fried, soft from the middle and crunchy from the outside, they are similar to Belgian fries in composition. Patatje oorlog's uniqueness however is in the sauces that accompany them. The original way to eat these fries is with peanut sauce, a reminder of the connection that the Netherlands shares with Indonesia.
While there are several places to find patatje oorlog in Amsterdam, Manneken Pis and Vlaams Friteshuis Vleminckx come highly recommended. The latter has been selling fries since 1957 and is known as the "sauce master" for offering 28 different varieties of sauces to accompany the chips.
There is an incredibly cheeky pleasure in eating bite-sized pancakes served with a dollop of butter and topped with powdered sugar. Dutch pancakes, made with yeast and buckwheat flour, are fluffy and soft, but most importantly tasty and a treat for those with a sweet tooth. For a more vibrant version, you can also have them with fruits, such as strawberries and cream.
Poffertjes, cooked in a special pan with small circular grooves, is a joy to watch in preparation as the chefs go about making them quickly, with machine like precision. Most permanent road-side food stalls carry poffertjes on their menu and the dish is especially loved during the holiday season. De Vier Pilaren is a charming little eatery in Oud-West, Amsterdam that serves arguably the best poffertjes in the city.
Raw herring preserved in vinegar might not be the prettiest of quick bites you will come across, but it rates high in flavor profile. Available as a street-snack, and immensely popular with the locals, the head of the pickled herring is cut before serving, while raw onions and a few slices of pickles find their way over the degutted body to give it a much-needed crunch.
The dish is frequently sliced for ease of consumption, but the more enjoyable way is to eat it whole by holding its tail, lifting it over your mouth, and taking as big a bite as possible.
Another fish-based snack on the go, kibbling is characteristically deep-fried cod cheek. Although, these days various fish parts are used, and cod might even be replaced by haddock in some cases.
Kibbeling, served with either garlic mayonnaise or tartar sauce, goes well with a dash of lemon on top that gives it a tangy taste, making it such a delectable comfort eat.
Dutch meatballs are the ideal go-to snack for a night out with friends. Beef or veal are the meats commonly used for cooking bitterballen, along with seasoning, a beef stock that keeps the inside from going dry, butter and flour to thicken it up a little. The dish originated as a way to utilize leftover meat but is now made commercially with fresh ingredients. Most pubs will have some rendition of bitterballen on the menu, and mustard is a favorite condiment to have with the dish.
Rijsttafel is not just a specialty, but a wholesome culinary affair that is a must-try when in Amsterdam. With its origins in Indonesia, translating to "rice table", it's a collection of various delicacies from Indonesia's region of Padang served with a side of rice. The small portions often include sate, beef rendang, and pisang goreng, among other things, and is a perfect glimpse into the many delicious offerings of Indonesian cuisine.
Quite a few Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam serve rijsttafel with the family-run Sari Citra being amongst the most popular. They've been operational since 1996 and guarantee an authentic experience.
A traditional Dutch eat, oliebollen are also called dutchies, similar to the conventional doughnuts in terms of the ingredients used, but are a little denser and aren't filled with anything. Classically, the dough contains a few extra elements such as sultanas to enhance its texture, before being deep-fried in oil, and finally served with a powdered sugar topping.
While these delicious sweet treats are mainly eaten around the New Year period, you'll also find them at times during farmer's markets and fairs.
Quite possibly the most famous food export, after cheese, of the Netherlands, you are likely to find tin cans of stroopwafels at most tourist and airport shops. The thin biscuit like circular waffle is perfect for those sweet cravings, especially with the caramel sauce in-between that gives it a delightfully gooey quality. While tinned stroopwafels are great to take home, eating a freshly made hot one is a different ball game altogether, perfect with a cup of tea or coffee.
Whether it's those "special" cookies you'll find in Amsterdam's coffee shops or cheese, an obvious eat anywhere in The Netherlands; there's a whole lot more to Dutch cuisine than one might expect. High on the comfort food scale, and even accessible through unique vending machines, Dutch food is a plate full of interesting tastes, sure to impress the most ardent of food-loving travelers.