14 Dutch foods that you must try
A good way to experience a country and culture is by eating its local food. The Netherlands has several typical dishes or snacks. And what could be more fun than trying Dutch food during your trip to the Netherlands? In this article I will introduce you to various Dutch food items.
Do you accept this challenge? Try as much as possible Dutch food from this checklist:
- Beef croquette or Bitterbal
- Liquorice (drop)
- Pea soup
- Indonesian food
- Dutch cheese
- Sprinkles on your sandwich
Share in a comment the Dutch foods you have tried and which you liked the most.
Dutch snacks and candies
A stroopwafel is a cookie that consists of two thin round waffles with syrup in between. It is eaten by Dutch people as a cookie with coffee or with tea or it is eaten as a snack. Stroopwafels are available in every supermarket and sometimes you will find a stall with fresh stroopwafels on the market. Stroopwafels are the best when they are (still) hot. A freshly made stroopwafel from the market is therefore irresistible, but a trick is to warm up your stroopwafel by placing it on top of your cup with hot coffee or tea.
The Netherlands has the ‘snack bar’ phenomenon, which is a low-budget frying restaurant. Here you can order fries with mayonnaise, but that is originally Belgian or French. However what is typically Dutch are the meat snacks. The best known are the beef croquette, the bitterbal (beef croquette in the shape of a ball, that you eat with mustard), the frikandel (sausage with spiced meat) and my personal favourite the cheese soufflé (dough with cheese filling). In addition, the FEBO snackbar is an attraction in itself; the warm snacks are sold in a vending machine in a wall.
Liquorice is a typical Dutch candy that you can hardly find anywhere else in the world except in the Netherlands and Scandinavia. To be honest this candy is really something that you love or hate. It is made from liquorice root extract and used to be given as a medicine against coughing, anyway health benefits have never been proven. There are countless different types of liquorice, both salt and sweet. And you can find liquorice probably in almost all food stores. So why not give it a try?
The translation of gingerbread cookies is ‘spiced nuts’, but don’t be fooled, it’s nothing like a nut, but in fact they are small gingerbread cookies. Kruidnoten are part of a national cultural holiday ‘Sinterklaas’, which is celebrated on December 5th. In the months before Sinterklaas, from the end of August to 5 December, kruidnoten are for sale. These spicy cookies have been given many varieties in recent years: covered with chocolate in all kinds of flavours. When you are in the Netherlands in the fall, you cannot leave them without trying. They are for sale in the supermarket, or in special pepernoten shops.
A delicacy that is traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve is Oliebollen (literal translation: oil balls). It resembles donuts in terms of dough, but has the shape and size of a tennis ball. The oliebollen often contains raisins and the best way to eat it is warm with powdered sugar on top of it. The oliebollen are available throughout the month of December in mobile stalls and sometimes you can also find them in other seasons (for example at fairs). Just before New Year’s Eve, you can buy oliebollen in all supermarkets and bakeries.
Do you want to surprise your family and friends with New Year’s Eve? You can also easily make oliebollen yourself with this recipe
Don’t you think this is the cutest dutch word: Poffertjes? Poffertjes are Dutch thick mini pancakes. They are delicious with a lump of butter and powdered sugar. Unlike pancakes, poffertjes are more like a snack. You can find them on the menu in pancake restaurants or in mobile stalls.
You have to like it: letting a raw herring with onions slide into your mouth by the tail. For the sake of clarity I do not, but for many Dutch people this is really a delicacy. A salty herring is often eaten as a snack on the market but you can also buy herring in a fish shop. According to tradition, you hold it by its tail above your face and eat it that way.
Stew (stamppot) is a dish that is mainly eaten in the Netherlands, Belgium and Germany. This dish consists of potatoes and vegetables that are cooked together and then mashed. People eat stew in combination with smoked sausage, bacon and gravy. The most traditional stews are with kale and sauerkraut, but more combinations are possible, for example with carrot and onion or with endive. The ingredients of stew are cheap and therefore it is traditionally eaten a lot by the working class. In the restaurant you will rarely see it on the menu, but if you google you will find a number of restaurants where it is served.
Pancakes are part of a cultural heritage in the Netherlands. There are many special pancake restaurants and I definitely recommend eating there when you visit the Netherlands. They are usually eaten as a meal for lunch or dinner. The Dutch pancakes are the size of a large plate and are traditionally eaten with sugar and syrup. However, there are also many varieties such as apple, cheese and bacon. Definitely a must-try Dutch food!
Erwtensoep (pea soup)
Erwtensoep, also known as ‘snert’, is made from split peas. The soup is a traditional dish in the Netherlands that is eaten in the winter, often in combination with ice skating. Rookworst (smoked sausage) is certainly an important ingredient of the soup. Pea soup can be eaten as a meal, as well as lunch or as dinner. And as mentioned earlier, it is a seasonal dish, so you can only eat it in the winter.
I can see you frowning: what is dutch about Indonesian food? I’ll explain it to you. Indonesia and the Netherlands are strongly linked as countries, because Indonesia has been a colony of the Netherlands. Many Dutch people lived on the Indonesian islands and a melting pot of European and traditional Indonesian culture emerged. This also applied to the food, and many new or adapted dishes were created. After the Second World War, Chinese-Indonesian restaurants arose everywhere in the Netherlands. In this way all Dutch people became familiar with the Indonesian food. Typical dishes are for example nasi goreng (fried rice), sate (pork on a stick) and babi pangang (roasted pork). If you are open to trying something different, consider eating at a Chinese Indonesian restaurant.
The Netherlands is a country where bread meals are often eaten for breakfast and lunch. Slices of bread are then topped with butter and sweet or savoury spreads. Sprinkles are classic among sandwich toppings. It is available in different flavours: fruit, anise, but the most popular is chocolate. Sprinkles can be bought in supermarkets and perhaps it is part of your continental breakfast buffet.
Inseparably linked to the Netherlands, and perhaps the most famous export product is Dutch cheese. For instance, all over the world you can find cheese with the names Gouda, Beemster or Edam. Did you know that these are Dutch regions where they make the cheese? Cheese is mainly eaten by the Dutch in slices on sandwiches. In total, the Dutch eat around 20 kilos of cheese per year! Dutch cheese is available in supermarkets, in cheese shops and also at the market.
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