8 Must-Try Dutch Foods

8 Must-Try Dutch Foods

Before heading to the Netherlands, I knew absolutely nothing about Dutch food. There’s not very much written about it and I actually had never given much thought as to what they’d eat there.

Since leaving the Netherlands, all I want to eat is Dutch food.

I was quite surprised to find that their most of their food was light and healthy– at least when compared to some of the other countries we went to. (Goulash everyday anyone?) It was all about the fresh markets, daily squeezed fruit juices and perfect looking produce.

But they sure knew how to do sweets as well. And we noticed if anything was unhealthy, it generally came in small, bite-sized portions that you could share, which was perfect.

So if you’re heading to the Netherlands and have no idea what to eat, here are 8 must-try Dutch foods:

1. Poffertjes

Amsterdam - June 2014

These treats look like tiny pancakes, but I assure you, they’re amazing. Made from flour and buckwheat, these are softer and fluffier than pancakes anywhere else. You get a stack of them per one order and you can also choose from a variety of toppings. The most common topping is powdered sugar, but they also have syrups, chocolate sauce and even Grand Mariner for those looking for a little extra kick.

2. Hollandse Nieuwe

Amsterdam - June 2014

A type of soused herring, this snack can only be enjoyed in the early summer months (but don’t worry, normal soused herring can be enjoyed all year-round) when the herring is still considered young. This raw fished is typically enjoyed with freshly chopped onions and a pickle. I know it might not sound that appetizing but don’t knock it until you knock one back. The best way to eat this snack is by tilting your head back, and dropping the fish by its tail into your mouth!

3. Stroopwafels

Amsterdam - June 2014

Imagine taking two massively thin, yet crispy, waffles and gluing them together with a warm caramel-y syrup– that’s a stroopwafel. These are sold everywhere, including packaged versions at grocery stores, but they’re best when eaten warm and gooey from a street vendor. They’re so huge they’re perfect to share, as I had a hard time finishing one of my own.

4. Vlaamse Frite 

Amsterdam - June 2014

Forget french fries, and go for ‘Dutch fries’ instead. If there was one snack we saw being sold all across the country that people of all ages couldn’t seem it get enough of, it would be fries. Made fresh in front of you, these fries were perfectly crispy on the outside, yet warm and potato-y on the inside. The most common way to eat them is called patatje oorlog, which entails a drowned mess of peanut sauce, mayo and chopped onions, but if you’re not a big fan, getting them simply with ketchup is just as satisfying.

5. Bitterballen

Amsterdam - June 2014

A savoury snack, this is the Dutch version of croquettes. Filled with a creamy meat-ragout, these deep fried balls of goodness are sold at almost any bar or cafe and paired with a mild mustard sauce for dipping. Despite the name, these balls are not at all bitter, but rather they used to be served with bitters– although nowadays they seem to go just as well with a beer instead.

6. Appeltaart

Amsterdam - June 2014

One of my personal favorites, this treat is especially addicting. I’m not exactly sure what to call this dessert, as it’s somewhere between a cake and a pie, and I’m not a huge fan of either of those things, but this dessert is magical. With really fresh apples and cinnamon, it’s easy to eat a whole slice yourself even though servings are huge. We tried many shops throughout the Netherlands, but our favorite had to be Winkel in Amsterdam.

7. Kip Satay

Amsterdam - June 2014

Due to their previous relations, Indonesian flavor has snuck into many common Dutch dishes. You’ll find plenty of Indonesian restaurants around town, but one of the most popular snacks is a type of satay, which is just sold on the street. Like normal satay, you’ll be given a choice to try many toppings, but the traditional peanut sauce is a must!

8. Cheese!

Amsterdam - June 2014

The Dutch are famous for many types of cheeses like Gouda and Edam, so when in the Netherlands, be sure to get your fix. You’ll find it being sold at any market, but many shops will even offer tastings where you can try unique combinations like pesto cheese or almond cheese. I recommend going for a variety that you’ve never heard of, and you might just be surprised.

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Have you had Dutch food? Would you like to? Tell us in the comments below!

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10 Comments

  1. September 10, 2014 / 9:32 pm

    My sister lives in the Netherlands with her dutch boyfriend. They just came to visit me in Beijing and brought stroopwaffles. I was so excited!

    • Beth Williams
      September 29, 2014 / 10:21 am

      Aww, that’s so nice! We loved the stroopwaffles, and actually found them being sold at a grocery store back here in the US! :D

  2. September 10, 2014 / 2:01 pm

    Definitely I will try all of it, when I find myself in Netherlands. That Appeltaart looks delicious.

    • Beth Williams
      September 29, 2014 / 10:20 am

      The appeltaart was my favorite!! I just cooked one at home last week.

  3. September 10, 2014 / 1:10 am

    This all looks amaaaazing, and I can’t get enough of Dutch cheese, but I’m a little confused how you referenced at the beginning that you were surprised how “light and healthy” most Dutch food is….none of this looks like that, lol (except maybe the fish and pickle ;) That said, any healthy eating deserves to go out the window when you visit the Netherlands!

    • Beth Williams
      September 29, 2014 / 10:20 am

      Haha yeahhhh, I realized half way through that most of the food I ended up listing was NOT healthy. But I swear they do like to do really healthy and bike everywhere.

      I guess this list of more what they splurge on as a reward for eating healthy. ;)

  4. September 9, 2014 / 1:09 am

    Although I live on a tiny Caribbean island (and not even one of the Dutch ones!) I have tried most of these… one of the main bars/restaurants where I live is owned by a family from Amsterdam and they have lots of Dutch food on the menu. Bitterballen is one of my favorites!

    • Beth Williams
      September 29, 2014 / 10:18 am

      That’s awesome! We actually noticed a lot of Dutch food when we were in Central America, weird huh?

  5. September 8, 2014 / 11:58 pm

    When I went to the Netherlands I ate a lot of Dutch food but missed some of the ones on this list! Gives me another reason to go back :D

    • Beth Williams
      September 29, 2014 / 10:17 am

      Since coming home, I’ve been trying to cook some on my own! I need to go back to the Netherlands since it hasn’t been the same :)