From mini pancakes to croquettes from a vending machine, Netherlands offers the hungry travellers plenty of unique culinary experiences. Netherlands foods may not be as well-known as French or Chinese cuisines but there are many Dutch delights which must be tried at least once. Don’t go home without trying at least one of these traditional Dutch foods.
The delicious Dutch version of split pea soup is called snert. Other cuisines like the British and the German also have pea soup, but this traditional Holland food is a particularly thick soup. This soup typically contains peas, pork, leeks, celery and smoked sausage. Some people add potatoes, onions and carrots, but those are not part of the original recipe. Snert is usually served with rye bread and bacon. It’s a typical delicious warm winter dish that is ideal to prepare in large quantities for big groups of people or to freeze for later meals.
Traditional Dutch appeltaart is a bit different than the American one and has a sweet cakey dough on the bottom and edges, with a lattice on the top. The apple slices in the filling are flavored with cinnamon, sugar and lemon juice. Common apple varieties called for in appeltaart recipes are Elstar, Gala and Goudreinet as they are crispy and not too sweet. Many Amsterdammers say the tastiest appletaart can be found at Winkel or Papeneiland, both in the Jordaan near the Noorderkerk. Served with a dollop of whipped cream, their pie surely is sweet and tasty. Surely try this famous Dutch food.
Oliebollen are so special that you can only get them for a few short winter months. Traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve, they’re essentially deep fried dough balls dusted with powdered sugar, studded with raisins and currants. Look out for Oliebollen stalls (Oliebollenkramen) and eat as many as you possibly can before they disappear for another year.
It may not have its origins in Holland, but fondue has a very special place in the hearts of all Dutchies. What could be cosier than huddling around a cauldron of hot melty cheese with a bottle of red on a winter’s night? There are plenty of places to get your fondue in Amsterdam, such as ‘t Blaauwhooft, Fondue & Fondue and Café Jaap at the Jaap Eden ice rink.
Suddervlees literally means “braised meat” which translates on the plate to a big hearty beef and ale stew. It makes absolutely no attempt to look attractive, but with its punchy combo of slow cooked meat, beer, onions and seasoning, it’s winter on a plate for many people in the Netherlands. Get it with frites to mop up all that lovely gravy.
Poffertjes are small, fluffy pancakes made with yeast and buckwheat flour. These tasty treats are prepared using a special pan with several shallow indentations in the bottom to hold the batter and make perfectly puffed small pancakes. Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch food typically served topped with powdered sugar and butter on a little paper plate, consumed in fall and winter when stands selling the delicious snack can be found at outdoor markets and on many street corners. They are sometimes eaten with other sweet toppings, such as stroop (syrup), slagroom (whipped cream) or aardbeien (strawberries).
Wrapping your hands around a mug of hot chocolate milk on a winter’s day is one of life’s simple pleasures. You’ll find hot chocolade (usually the Dutch brand Chocomel) on the menus in most cafes and street markets in Amsterdam – ask for yours with a splash of rum if you want to feel a bit naughty.
Pancakes are common around the globe, but the Dutch give pancakes their own twist as pannenkoeken. The Dutch version is a lot larger and flatter than the American pancake, but slightly thicker than a French crêpe. Dutch pancakes are made of flour, eggs and milk. Traditionally they are eaten for dinner and are served often with sugar syrup (stroop), powdered sugar, jam, bacon or cheese. A classic is the combination of bacon and sugar syrup.
In the Netherlands and Belgium there are many specialized pancake restaurants and even pancake boats. These restaurants offer pancakes with a wide variety of both hearty and sweet toppings. In Amsterdam, check out the popular restaurant Pancakes! or take a ride on the Pannenkoekenboot.
Stamppot is a big lovely mess of mashed potato mushed up with other vegetables including sauerkraut, kale, spinach or turnip greens. Sometimes the potato is smashed with carrots and turnips, and then it’s called Hutspot. You’ll normally find it served with a big ol’ smoked sausage or a pork chop at a every single Dutch restaurant.
These savory orbs are battered in a crunchy breadcrumb coating and filled with a gooey mixture of chopped beef, beef broth, flour, butter, herbs and spices. They are typically served with mustard for dipping. You can try bitterballen at almost any bruincafe in Amsterdam, those at Grandcafé Luxembourg are said to be the best. If you are vegetarian, be sure to get the veggie bitterballen at places like Hoftuin or Cafe de Ceuvel. And if you want to sample something really interesting, try the Schipholgans bitterballen at MOES Amsterdam. The place with the widest variety of bitterballen (like chorizo, goat cheese or truffle) is definitely De Ballenbar in De Foodhallen.
Lovely meals, right? Be sure to try all, you certainly won’t regret it!