24 incredibly delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam that you must absolutely try!
Amsterdam is not known for its food cuisine but a unique culinary experience awaits any hungry traveller. From croquettes in a vending machine to an unending parade of rijsttafel at a high-end restaurant, Amsterdam’s food culture is simply beyond the humble stroopwafel and liquorice drops. Here are the Best 24 experiences of delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam that you must absolutely try!
Savoury on-the-go food in Amsterdam
1 | Dutch chunky fries!
The Dutch have many versions of fries or ‘patat’ as they call it, but the real “Dutch chunky fries” is no ordinary fries! This carb-heavy classic Dutch fast–food in Amsterdam is created with several unusual combination of ingredients which are not usually regarded as complementary to each other but strangely satisfying on a bed of Dutch Chunky Fries 🙂
Ask for a ‘patatje oorlog‘ for a heart-warming bed of chunky french-fries, topped with raw onions and mayonnaise plus the added “special ingredient” – spicy peanut satay sauce. This mélange might seem unbelievably strange to a non-Amsterdammer but the ingredients work surprisingly well together, piping hot, hearty, salty and spicy – a must-try at least once kind of food in Amsterdam.
If spicy peanut sauce are not to your taste buds, ask for ‘patat speciaale’ for a mix of curry ketchup, mayonnaise and raw onions.
This quick, hearty, classic Dutch dish comes traditionally served in a paper cone, which makes it perfect to fuel a hungry traveller on a day-long discovery of
unmissable things to do in Amsterdam.
Best places to try this incredible feast, delicious chunky fries that are fresh and homemade are:
Grizzl Gelderlandplein, Willem van Weldammelaan, 9A 1082 KT Amsterdam
Frietboutique, Johannes Verhulststraat 107 (Amsterdam-Zuid)
2 | Bitterballen
Bitterballen – the ultimate in Dutch pub food! They are deep-fried, crispy meatballs and traditionally served with mustard for dipping. The ‘bitterbal’ is made-up of a thick ragout, comprising a soft mixture of beef, beef broth, butter, thickening flour and spices. These are then coated in breadcrumbs and deep-fried. These tasty meatballs go very well with a pint or two of Dutch craft beer. You can find these in practically every drinking establishment in Amsterdam.
3 | Kroket
Kroket or croquettes, call them what you will but these are an institution in Dutch food – even available out of a vending machine in Amsterdam. The ‘kroket’ is a meat-filled sausage like roll coated in breadcrumbs and deep fried. The original Dutch kroket is made from beef or veal ragout but there are several versions of it available these days. You can find them as chicken-satay, goulash, shrimps or a vegetarian version. Kroket are an ideal on-the-go snack and often they are served on white bread or hamburger buns along with some mustard.
In Amsterdam, you are never too far away from tasting a kroket – they are readily available from regular snack-bars, cafés, restaurants, or McDonalds. They are regularly on offer in FEBO, a fast-food chain that sells snacks via coin-operated vending machines.
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Dutch Fish | Food in Amsterdam
4 | Raw Herring
Take a day-off sushi and try these heavenly Dutch delicacy instead…well, heavenly for some!
Raw herring is a Dutch delicacy and tastes absolutely divine with raw onions and pickles. The best way to experience it is to eat it like a local – hang onto the herring by its tail, lower it vertically into your mouth and take huge bites of it!
Head to a haringhandels (specialised herring carts) which are dotted around Amsterdam city to try this classic Dutch delicacy, usually costs anything between €3.00 to €5.00. Alternatively, ask for a ‘broodje haring‘ (herring sandwich) and enjoy the fish inside a soft and crispy roll.
Best time to try raw herring is said to be between May and July when the herring is at its sweetest and best.
5 | Kibbeling/Lekkerbekje
Kibbeling and Lekkerbekje are battered deep-fried white fish, most commonly cod or whiting sourced from the North Sea.
Kibbeling comes battered in chunks whereas Lekkerbekje are not. Both are absolutely delicious, served piping hot by the street vendors with mayonnaise herb sauce and lemon.
Dutch Cheese | Food in Amsterdam
Cheese is a big thing in Netherlands – they have been making kaas since 800 B.C. and was the second largest exporter in the world in 2019. Majority of Dutch kaas are semi-hard or hard cheeses with Gouda and Edam being the popular ones.
In Amsterdam, there is a kaas shop in every street, every corner and a few doors of each other. So, don’t go home without tasting some Edam, Gouda, Geitenkaas and Maasdammer.
Walk into a Henri Willig that is dotted around Amsterdam for a quick taste and guide to their wide selection of cheeses – from natural to smoked, herbs and garlic as well as chilli cheeses!
Next, visit the Reypenaer Tasting Room in Old Amsterdam for a professionally guided cheese tasting activity in a century-old warehouse.
Visit also Kaaskamer in Negen Straatjes (9 Streets) for cheeses from around Netherlands and the world.
If you want to learn more about the Dutch cheese, you could always venture out of Amsterdam a little and visit any of the top five cheese markets – Alkmaar, Edam, Hoorn, Gouda and Woerden. Here, you can witness how cheese merchants had conducted their business for the last six-hundred years.
The Dutch breakfast!
6 | Ontbijtkoek
‘Ontbijtkoek’ literally translates to ‘breakfast cake’ though delicious at any time of the day with a scrumptious layer of butter. This Dutch and Flemish spiced cake, comes in loaves with the main ingredients consisting of rye and spiced with cinnamon, cloves, ginger and nutmeg.
Available in most hotels as breakfast item and you could buy them off a supermarket shelf.
7 | Hagelslag
Hagelslag is basically chocolate sprinkles on white bread with butter for breakfast – loved by both young and old! Found on breakfast tables in most hotels in Amsterdam.
8 | Pindakaas
Literally ‘peanut cheese’ but this is just peanut butter. The delicious creamy texture of pindakaas makes it more than just a spread. It is an essential breakfast item found on most breakfast tables in Amsterdam.
Desserts and sweet treats | Food in Amsterdam
9 | Dutch liquorice
The Dutch love their liquorice! Eating liquorice is sort of a national past-time here. Although the Dutch liquorice share many traits to similar sweets from around the world, the Dutch ‘drop’ is unlike the liquorice in other western countries. The ‘drop’ has a unique ingredient called salmiak that gives the ‘drop’ its distinctive salty taste. This unusual flavour gives the drop a subtle kick, balancing out the sweetness normally found in candies, giving ‘drop’ a moreish blend of flavours. The ‘drop’ comes in fun sizes, often in shapes of cut-up cylinders, smiley faces or cars. You can find them in every corner-shop, supermarkets, markets, candy-stores and gas stations.
10 | Stroopwafel
Famous world-over as a popular pastry from the Netherlands as a sweet treat, but nothing beats the freshly baked off a market stall in Amsterdam! Stroopwafel, originated in Gouda, a little town south of Amsterdam in the late 18th or early 19th century is a popular cookie eaten best with a freshly brewed cup of coffee. Discovered by a baker using leftovers and breadcrumbs back in the day, the stroopwafel is made of stiff batter comprising of flour, eggs, yeast, butter, milk and brown sugar. Two thin layers of the waffles are stuck together with a layer of syrup.
The best stroopwafels can be found at Albert Cuypmarkt (from “the Guy in Cuyp” Melly’s and Dappermarkt. You could also visit a tearoom, Lanskroon, located at Singel 385 (near ‘het Spui’), Amsterdam.
11 | Dutch Apple Pie
The apple pie or appeltaart in Dutch is an impressive deep-dish apple-pie that is sold in every bakery and features in every cafe menu in Amsterdam. The apple-pie looks almost like a cake, infused with cinnamon, dotted with raisins and served with a generous scoop of whipped cream. Sometimes, the apple-pies are topped with chopped almonds. Apple pies are a popular comforting dessert in the Netherlands and the best in Amsterdam is said to be at Winkel 43, Jordaan neighbourhood.
12 | Bossche bol
The bossche bol is similar to the cream-filled, chocolate-glazed profiteroles but these are more circular in form, almost the size of a tennis ball, and completely covered in dark chocolate. The dessert originated in the city of Den Bosch in the early 20th century and had since, become a favourite national staple. You can find bossche bol in local cafes and eateries as a dessert option.
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13 | Pannenkoeken
Pannenkoeken is popular around the world and the Dutch version is rather large! Though large, they are thinner than the American pancake but thicker than the Frence crêpe. Dutch pancakes are made of flour, milk and eggs. They are available throughout the day and the
Old Dutch Pancake House in Amsterdam Centrum does it light and crispy. You could have any toppings, from crispy bacon to fruits or simple syrup.
14 | Tompouce
Tompouce is a heavy dessert! It is a popular food in Amsterdam and is essentially a cream sandwich where the cream is infused between two slabs of pastries, topped with bubblegum pink icing. The pink icing on top of the rectangular shaped cream-filled puff pastry is replaced with orange icing during the occasion of King’s Day, to honour the House of Orange-Nassau, the Dutch royal family. It is available in all good bakeries across Amsterdam but you could try Patisserie Holtkamp.
15 | Poffertjes
Poffertjes are a traditional Dutch treat. They are made of batter comprising of buckwheat flour and yeast, they look like mini pancakes but fluffier. They are typically served with a lump of butter and powdered sugar, readily available at restaurants and pancake house across Amsterdam. For best experience of fresh, hot buttery poffertjes, try them from a street market vendor during winter.
16 | Speculaas
If you are visiting Amsterdam in December, buy some freshly baked speculaas which are exceptionally popular among the Dutch during the festive period of Sinterklaasavond, the main gift-giving celebration in Netherlands. Speculaas are delicious, containing the aromatic festive spices of cinnamon, cloves and nutmeg, mixed with butter, flour and sugar into speculaas batter, then baked for their distinctive texture.
17 | Oliebollen
Oliebollen literally means ‘oil balls’ and is a traditional Dutch treat. They are deep fried sweet dumplings, sometimes containing fruit pieces, and dusted in powdered sugar, with taste similar to donuts. These small dumplings of wonder are usually served on New Year’s Eve. It is also a popular treat for Dutch families and are made at home during the winter months. You can buy them from the dozens of pop-up mobile vendors at the markets in Amsterdam during the holiday season.
The dough is made from flour, yeast, some salt, eggs, milk and baking powder.
18 | Boterkoek
The Boterkoek/butter cake is an all-time favourite of the Dutch. It is dense, buttery and sweet. Contains hardly anything else except for butter, sugar and flour. Vanilla and lemon zest is added for light flavour. Available in all good patisseries across Amsterdam – Patisserie Holtkamp in Amsterdam is a great place to try.
19 | Spekkoek
Spekkoek is the delicious legacy of the former Dutch East Indies. A layered spiced cake, originated from Indonesia is a harmonious blend of Eastern and Western traditions that has found a top spot in Dutch cuisines. The firm textured cake is painstakingly layered, baked and brushed. Spekkoek is incredibly rich, made with flour, plenty of butter, yolk and spiced with cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and star-anise.
In Indonesia, Spekkoek is served as a holiday treat or as gifts during local festivities. In the Netherlands, you will find Spekkoek is a dessert served in rijsttafel.
Soups and Dishes
20 | Erwtensoep/Snert
Erwtensoep or Snert is the Dutch version of pea soup. Rich, thick green stew of split peas, pork, celery, onions and leeks is heartwarmingly delicious and a favourite during the winter months.
Snert is traditionally eaten with slices of ‘rookworst‘ (smoked sausages) and rye bread. A good bowl of snert is best eaten the next day when flavours are all well-blended and the soup itself is so thick that a soup-spoon will stand vertical when placed in it!
Widely consumed across Netherlands, you will find street vendors in Amsterdam serving this delicious soup to ice-skaters on the frozen canals.
21 | Stamppot
Stamppot is an old-style traditional dish and the ultimate in Dutch comfort food. The dish is similar to bubble-and-squeak in England and traditionally consists of mashed potatoes, kale, onions, carrots and sauerkraut.
Stamppot is a winter-dish and enjoyed best with rookworst. Many restaurants in Amsterdam have this dish on their menu throughout the year.
22 | Rookworst
Rookworst is a popular Dutch smoked sausage and mostly eaten with ‘stamppot’ and an ingredient in ‘snert’. It is comparable to a hotdog and best eaten in a roll with onions and mustard. Widely available in supermarkets and hotdog street vendors.
23 | Surinamese Roti
The one thing that you must absolutely try in a Surinamese dish is the ‘roti’. Roti is a flatbread and is the main part of a Surinamese dish, accompanied by several other components such as spicy curry, potatoes, beans and boiled eggs.
Surinamese restaurants as well as take-out joints in Amsterdam serve ‘roti’ accompanied by ‘sambal’, a super spicy condiment made from crushed chillies with a touch of salt.
Surinamese cuisine is part of Amsterdam’s heritage due to the Dutch colonialism and it is well worth exploring by a visit to a Surinamese restaurant or by being part of food tour in Amsterdam.
Read: 10 Best Typical Surinamese Cuisine in Amsterdam
24 | Enjoy a rijsttafel
Amsterdam has a strong Indonesian influence and the food scene is ever so present throughout the city. No culinary experience in Amsterdam is ever complete without a visit to an Indonesian restaurant.
Rijsttafel (rice table) is an authentic Indish-Dutch experience where a large meal is served in an Indonesian restaurant. The meal features a medley of small dishes like egg rolls, satay, pickles, vegetables alongside a variety of rice dishes from all over the Indonesian islands. Rijsttafel was developed during the colonial era, giving the colonials a taste of Indonesian food from across the islands.
Practical tips when visiting Amsterdam
1 | Travelling to Amsterdam/Schiphol Airport by Air?
Europe, use a budget airline for cheap fares and you reach Amsterdam direct and in comfort. Look-up
Jet2 fares who are pretty good in this respect. Their offers on
flight + hotels comes with great value for money choices along with assurances for peace of mind.
2 | Travelling from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam City Centre
You could get to Amsterdam city centre by either public transport, airport taxi or private door-to-door transfer. As for public transport, you have two choices – by rail and by bus. Read the
Complete Guide to Public Transportation from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam city and pre-book your tickets.
3 | Travelling by Train from/within Europe to Amsterdam Centraal Station
Travel touch-free and download your digital ticket immediately – If you are travelling by train to Amsterdam Centraal Station, buy your train ticket from Eurail that has an extensive partnership with European providers of rail services. Their offer on train tickets are competitive and one of the best for European travel. Click on the link below and do a search for your travels.
As well, you may want to look up
Trainline who are also competitive in their train ticket pricing.
Upon arrival at Amsterdam Centraal Station, you could take a taxi or a tram to your neighbourhood/hotel. Read about the
choices you have on public transport options.
4 | Places to Stay in Amsterdam
Amsterdam is a popular city visited throughout the year and there is no end to the remarkable choices that unfolds once you start searching places to stay. Read the recommended
Beautiful places to stay in Amsterdam and book your stay to secure a favourable price.
5 | Things to do
Amsterdam offers a multitude of things to do, from off-the-beaten path adventures, nightlife and incredible cruises along with fascinating food tours – there is not a moment to be bored in this
city of freedom. Read about ideas for a
48-hour visit and the
Unmissable 28 best things to do in Amsterdam.
You may also want to explore the outskirts of Amsterdam that has picturesque villages that you would absolutely love or visit Amsterdamse Bos, for a day of fun and relaxation.
6 | A road-trip in Netherlands while visiting Amsterdam?
You don’t really need a set of wheels if you are visiting Amsterdam as the city is compact, therefore easily walkable, public transport is good and the trains are excellent. However, if you are planning to explore Netherlands, then hiring a car is a great option. You could easily pick-up your car from Schiphol Airport or at Amsterdam Centraal. Travel Supermarket is best as it checks thousands of providers and brings you live availability. Click on the image below and secure your price.
7 | Travel Insurance
Finally…never leave home without travel insurance. World Nomads is highly recommended – their comprehensive cover, competitive pricing and their excellent customer response is second to none.
On a final note…
All though Netherlands is not well-known for its cuisine, nonetheless there is a rich heritage associated with the exciting, flavourful and “full of history” cuisines that reflect the people of this country. Visiting Amsterdam and trying any one of the 24 Dutch culture food mentioned in this article is an experience not to be missed.
Sincerely hope that this guide has been valuable in your search for incredibly delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam to try when you visit Amsterdam. If so, use the links embedded in this article to book your travels, place to stay or activities you intend to do. TTS earns a commission from qualified bookings/purchases at no cost to you. As always your support is highly appreciated to keep this blog going. Do get in touch if you have any questions about our trusted partners.
Have a great time in Amsterdam!
Quick facts on Amsterdam, Netherlands
City: Capital of Netherlands
Mayor: Femke Halsema (since 2018)
Elevation: -2m (-7ft) – Dam Square
Nearest Airport: Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
Train Station: Amsterdam Centraal Station
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24 Incredibly delicious Dutch culture food in Amsterdam first published at timelesstravelsteps.com