Say hello to Holland! More than 8.8 million people visited Amsterdam in 2019, making it one of the most popular cities in the world amongst tourists.
If you want to dive into Dutch culture, you should head to Amsterdam. But don’t start packing your bags just yet. You need to know what to eat in Amsterdam.
What are the most popular foods in the city? What are good choices for breakfast, snacks, and dessert? How can you modify what the locals eat in Amsterdam?
Answer these questions and you can make the most out of your Amsterdam meals. Here is your quick guide.
Ask a local about foods to eat in Amsterdam, and they’ll talk to you about Dutch herring. It’s a small white fish similar to sardines that many residents like to eat with raw onions and pickles. When you’re in a hurry, you can stop by a convenience store and pick up a few herrings for lunch.
You can eat your herrings plain. Amsterdam residents like to grab their herrings by the tail and lower them vertically into their mouths.
If you want more of a meal, you can order a broodje haring. This is a herring sandwich that comes with diced onions, sliced gherkins, and other ingredients. You can order a sandwich at market stalls throughout the Netherlands.
Dutch cheese is one of the most popular local foods in Amsterdam. You can find a few different kinds of cheese, though the most popular is Gouda cheese. It has a high milk fat level, which makes Gouda creamy.
Edam cheese has very little fat, making it softer and easier to spread. Young Edam cheese has a mild flavor, and you can pair it with fruit slices and crackers. Older Edam is nuttier and saltier, making it a good choice for sandwiches.
Rijsttafel is a product of the Dutch colonization of Indonesia. You and your party can sample a variety of Indonesian dishes, each with its own flavor and texture.
It’s not unusual for a party to order forty or more side dishes as part of a rijsttafel. You can sample egg rolls, chicken satay, pickles, and fried rice. If you don’t eat meat, you can order a vegetarian rijsttafel.
Famous Indonesian restaurants in Amsterdam include Makan Makan Indonesian Kitchen. You can order a rijstaffel with fixed dishes, or you can make your own by ordering dishes off of the main menu.
No list of popular dishes in Amsterdam is complete without french fries. Dutch-style french fries are thicker than American-style french fries, making them good for dipping into sauces.
Many locals dip their fries into mayonnaise or fry sauce, which is a mixture of mayonnaise and ketchup with other ingredients. But you can try out other toppings as well.
Patatje oorlog combines french fries with mayonnaise, raw onions, and peanut satay sauce. The sauce adds spicy and rich notes to the mayonnaise and raw onions, creating a filling dish.
You can also order fries with frikandel speciaal, which is a sausage that comes with curry ketchup, raw onions, and mayonnaise. You can chop the sausage up and mix them with your fries, combining the flavors together.
Croquettes are deep-fried dumplings with various fillings. They are one of many popular dishes in Madrid, and they are just as popular in Amsterdam. In Amsterdam, they are called krokets, but you can find a wide variety of them throughout the city.
Beef krokets contain brisket, beef ragout, and ground beef. Bitterbal is a small croquette filled with beef or veal, and you can order one or more from many bars. You can even sample croquettes filled with chicken satay and goulash, especially from Indonesian restaurants.
You can eat croquettes by themselves, or you can eat them with a beer. Many microbreweries are located in Amsterdam, each serving its own lagers and commodity beers. You can also try genever, a juniper-flavored liquor similar to gin.
Dutch pancakes are called pannekoeken, and they are very different than their American counterparts. They are flat and savory, with many Netherlanders eating them with cured meats like smoked salmon.
But you can have pancakes with chopped fruits and chocolate spread. Stroop is a syrup similar to maple syrup, though you can find apple and caramel stroop as well. You can put powdered sugar on your pancakes once you’ve put the sauce on top.
Poffertjes are tiny pancakes that you can order from stands around Amsterdam. They come with powdered sugar, butter, and Nutella. Many pancakes have buckwheat flour, which makes them thicker and more filling than pannekoeken.
Appeltaart is a Dutch-style apple pie, which contains a crunchy crust and chunky apples. Many bakers combine the apple slices with cardamom, cinnamon sugar, and nutmeg. The thickness of the pie and the spices mean that appeltaart is more similar to a cake than a pie.
You can find appeltaart on the menu of nearly every bakery and cafe in Amsterdam. Winkel 43 is the most famous cafe for appeltaart in Amsterdam, offering thick slices of pie with whipped cream.
What to Eat in Amsterdam
Figuring out what to eat in Amsterdam means learning about many things. When you want a meal, you should try Dutch herring and cheese as well as Indonesian dishes.
French fries and croquettes are very popular side dishes, and you can experiment with different versions of each. For dessert, you can tuck into pancakes or apple pie at cafes throughout the city.
The Netherlands should be just one stop on your European journey. What To Eat In lets you learn about the world’s greatest foods. Read our guide on Finnish cuisine today.