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7 Foods to try in the Netherlands

In no particular order, here are some of the amazing foods we tried for the first time in the Netherlands!

Oliebol

These Dutch doughnuts reminded me somewhat of funnel cake, but quite moist and fluffy! You can get them plain, with raisins (or possibly other flavors). Powdered sugar is optional, but it’s the bit of sweetness an oliebol needs, IMO.

Stroopwafel

These are basically a crisp waffle that is sliced in half and filled with a magical cinnamon caramel filling that is what liquid Cinnabon tastes like. Fresh ones may induce speechlessness and/or tears of joy, but all will melt deliciousness into your mouth.

Suriname food

I won’t pretend to know much about this at all. But I do know that Suriname is the only country outside of Europe where Dutch is a national language. The food is a blend of Carribbean, Asian, and more than I know. We had Suriname food three times in Rotterdam and it was delicious each time. It helped that our apartment was on a street full of Suriname food. Our favorite thing hands down was this seasoned fried dough thing that was sliced open and filled with curry chicken. Still don’t know what it is called, only that it has a key to my heart.

Left: Unassuming top view. Right: Be still, my heart.
Left: Trio of sauces. Right: Dinner meal of chicken curry with potatoes and this flat bread that is reminiscent of fresh flour tortillas (like from San Diego or Paco’s!).
Tjaufan with fried chicken, barbecue pork, sausage, and other pork. The meat was very familiar; Chinese influences travel far and wide!

Herring

Netherlands are full of waterways, and unsurprisingly, fish is a staple. Herring is sold at stands as a snack with pickles/onions, as well as in sandwich form. I got it in sandwich form and was impressed. It’s fishy, but again, moist. I read it’s not actually raw, but salted 😉

Top: Pickles are necessary acidity and crunch. Bottom Left: The Dutch love their mayo-based salads. Herring is visible in upper left corner. Bottom Right: Snack stand on a canal bridge.

Dutch Pancake

Like crepe, but thicker, meaning more bite and chew in a good way. Dinner plate-sized and served with powdered sugar usually, and additional toppings by choice. Classic strawberries and cream for us!

Cheese

Cheese is ubiquitous here and there are many, many stores dedicated to this dairy treasure. Gouda is a city in the Netherlands, and it may have spawned the most popular edible souvenir (rivaling the stroopwafel of course). I’ve seen it in creative flavors like lavender or pesto or red pepper. But don’t limit yourself to the Gouda. One I was pleasantly surprised by was Frisian clove cheese, Nagelkaas, an aged cheese speckled with cloves! It’s strong the way aged Parmesan is and has a bit of spice/bite with the addition of whole cloves.

Cheese spokesperson in traditional garb + Jon among rows of cheese!
One of the many cheese shops in Amsterdam that also has an exhibit on how it’s made. This is the cheese tub. Ingredients are on top and it gets mixed with the metal thing inside to help cut up and rearrange the whey.
Cheese stalls in Rotterdam’s Saturday market.

Febo Fast Food from Vending Machines

This was easy to find in the nightlife and tourist mecca of Amsterdam. Awesome concept and tasty too. They’ve got vending machines with ready-to-eat food kept warm for the moment when you finally decide which you want and find enough change to open the door. Options include burgers, croquettes, meatballs, and more. Perfect for the late-night munchies, particularly when you’re over interacting with people. 

Bitterballen

Ok if you’ve been keeping count, you’ll know that this is food #8. That’s because I added this after a visit to Bruges, Belgium, where I tried bitterballen for the first time. I didn’t wait this long on purpose, it was an accident, I swear. We were just too busy stuffing our faces with the many other delectable Dutch delicacies! The point is, have some bitterballen as soon as you can. The name is misleading; though it is a ball, it is not bitter in the least. It’s a very savory and flavorful snack made from deep fried breadcrumb-coated balls of meat, roux, and spices—a Dutch croquette. It’s called a “bitterballen” because it’s the perfect snack to go with “bitter,” the word for Dutch herb-flavored alcohol. Finally, a great pub food!

3 Comments

  1. Ivette Herrador Ivette Herrador

    OMG this was the perfect post for me. hahaha I’m gonna make sure to eat ALL of this! And now, I MUST visit the cheese shops though. I mean…..c’mon! I’ll be in cheese paradise!!!!!

    • Yes! I am so excited for you for everything! Def try to find fresh stroopwafel if you can. I didn’t see it until Rotterdam.

  2. eve eve

    Everything looks delis. I must go to Solvang and try more of the food.

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