31 Dutch foods you have to try in Amsterdam (and where to find them) - Amsterdam Wonderland (2024)

Want to try Dutch food whilst you’re in Amsterdam but not sure where to start? Well read on – here’s the “What, Where and How” when it comes to Dutch cuisine…

Whilst The Netherlands doesn’t have a food culture quite as famous as that of Spain, Italy or France it would be a mistake to discount Dutch food altogether. With coastal waters teeming with fish; orchards groaning with fruit; dairy cows famous the world over and even a rich multiculural influence – the food in The Netherlands is unique and pretty fabulous.

Here are 31 amazing things to try next time you’re in town.

Herring

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No list of Dutch food could start without herring. Absolutely central to Dutch culture, herring trucks abound in town and even if you only try one Dutch food in Amsterdam, make certain this is it. Go for a ‘broodtje haring’ (herring on a roll – with pickles and onions) or try it neat, but whatever you do be sure to have one. Herring isn’t served in restaurants, and whilst any herring cart will be a safe bet perhaps the most famous in town is the stand in the Albert Cuyp market. The place where my own lifelong love of the slippery stuff began.

Find out more in our Best Herring in Amsterdam post.

Apple Pie

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Dutch apple pie is another speciality that has found fame the world over. Every cafe will serve its own special version but there’s one spot in Amsterdam famous for what has become known as the world’s best. Unpretentious and served with a swirl of sweet cream, sit out at one of the cramped outdoor tables or grab a spot inside but whatever you do head to Winkel in the Noordermarkt for the best pie in town. If the queue is stretching out the door and down the street, insiders know that the next best thing is to be found nearby at Cafe Papeneiland.

Find out more in our posts about WinkelandCafe Papeneiland.

Chips

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The Dutch refer to french fries as Valaams Frietes or Flemish (ie: Belgium Fries) so its ironic that locals insist the best in the world aren’t found in Belgium at all but in Amsterdam. Vlemincx is really just a hole in the wall but has built a deserved reputation for serving the most authentic and delicious “patatjes” in town. Try them with one of the dozens of sauces on offer – mayonnaise is the most famous but Marc’s fave is the slightly runnier “frietesaus” or go all out for “oorlog” or war which is mayonaise, saté sauce and onions!

Read more about Vlemincx on our post all about The Best Chips in Amsterdam.

Kroketen/Bitterballen

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Krokets, croquettes, crokets, call them what you will but these fried cylinders are a total Dutch institution. Bitterballs are round, krokets long but common to both is a piping hot ragout inside (usually veal or prawns) and a crispy breadcrumbed exterior. There are a few places to taste the ultimate Dutch version, so take your pick of the following depending on your mood and budget. The gourmet gang tend to insist that the very best are from a little store called Patisserie Holtkamp. Suppliers to the Dutch Royal Family you will find this brand on sale in many of the more upmarket cafe’s as well as in their very own shop. For a more working class (but no less lauded) kroket, try Eetsalon Van Dobben. Again, whilst these are sold around the city and beyond, the ultimate Dutch experience can be had by sitting on stools in the original Van Dobben ‘caf’ in Amsterdam and ordering one in a soft white roll with mustard from the old-school dinner ladies behind the counter. Want to avoid human contact altogether? Well Amsterdam’s got you covered with the uniquely bizarre FEBO. These outlets contain hot snacks behind glass doored vending machines from ceiling to floor. Pop your euros in the slot, and pop out a kroket to fill the hunger gap.

For more about Ottolenghi’s favourite patisserie, read our post all about Holtkamp – Amsterdam’s Finest Bakery or click here to read about Eetsalon Van Dobben.

Stroopwafels

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Ahh, we’ve finally made it to the sweet stuff which Dutchies go crazy for. Caramel waffles have become rather ubiquitous thanks to the Starbucks-effect but until you’ve had a proper Dutch one you won’t know what you’ve been missing. Again, the Albert Cuyp market is the place to grab one right off the waffle iron, or head to the tiny Landskroon cafe who make a very traditional version. Finally for something more Instagram-friendly you could always check out the ever popular Van Wonderen.

Read about all three on our legendary and most visited post – Best Stroopwafels in Amsterdam!

Pancakes

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Dutch pancakes…. not as fat as their American cousins nor as thin as French relatives the crepe, Dutch pancakes are chewy, large and quite frankly amazing. Rather like herring its hard to find a bad pancake in Amsterdam and you can do a lot worse than stopping off at The Pancake Bakery, Pancakes Amsterdam or The Happy Pig Pancake Shop however for us nothing whatsoever beats the Pannenkoeken Huis Meerzicht deep in the Amsterdam Bos (Forest). This Hansel and Gretl house with its little farm outside serves killer pancakes to those very much in the know. Savoury or sweet, stroop (syrup) or spek these towers of floury perfection just keep calling us back.

For more information about the pancake farm in the woods, read our post all about Boerderij Meerzicht.

Poffertjes

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The Dutch love their pancakes so much they have even created miniature versions known as poffertjes. Whilst also available in many of the pancake restaurants, these are the perfect size to enjoy from a food truck at the market. Usually served in a steaming mound with a buttery melt slipping down the side and a snowfall of icing sugar on top, you can watch them being freshly made in the Albert Cuyp market or at other food markets across town.

There’s more about poffertjes on our Best stroopwafels and poffertjes in Amsterdam post.

Drop (liqorice)

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Let me get this out the way right now. I can’t stand drop. But then I’m in the minority both within my family and the wider Dutch community because liquorice is a near obsession for them all. Salty, sweet, round; shaped like cats, moons, coins and fish, there are hundreds of varieties of sweet, sour and salty ‘black magic’ from which to choose. The best place to start is sweetshop favourite Jamin although supermarkets like Albert Heijn and beloved store HEMA also offer numerous versions. Trust me, for some reason it doesn’t get more Dutch than this!

For everything you want to know about Jamin, read our post about Amsterdam’s Best Sweet Shop.

Cheese

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Many visitors to Amsterdam come expecting to eat and enjoy masses and masses of cheese. However, whilst you’ll find dozens of types of Gouda in the supermarket ranging from young to “very old” it isn’t something that features on many restaurant menus (unless you grab a tosti for lunch!). That said, if you head out for drinks and ‘borrel’ (basically bar snacks) in the evening you should find cubes of cheese on the menu or pick up kaas vlinders (literally cheese butterflies but essentially cheese palmiers) from the supermarket or bakeries like Patisserie Holtkamp. Keento take some some real cheese home? There are lots of horribly touristy, cheesy shops in town but for something a little more authentic try buying from one of the city’s many markets where you can taste before you commit and you can be sure you’ll come away with a cheese that’s left the farm a lot more recently than the ones in the Albert Heijn supermarket.

Read more about Amsterdam’s best markets, or click to find out about Patisserie Hotlkamp – Amsterdam’s best bakery.

Indonesian favourites – Saté and Rijstafel

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As mentioned previously The Netherlands has some fantastic ethnic food due to a rich multicultural heritage. The two dominant cuisines that are “authentically” Dutch are Surinamese and Indonesian. For fabulous Indonesian saté, markets are usually the best place and none better than Charley’s Satébar food truck. Or why not go for a full Indonesian Rijstafel. With dozens of plates of food ranging from mild to spicy this is one of our favourite evenings out. Ron Gastrobar Indonesia Downtown is THE place to head right now or travel just outside the city to the stunning riverside branch in Ouderkerk aan de Amstel. Blauw is another reliable recommendation in town for a high quality modern take on the Indo theme and tends to be better than the slightly run down trad places dotted around town.

Read upon our blog for details of the Best Indonesian and Surinamese food in Amsterdam with lots of background and info on where to find Charley’s Satébar. Or start here if you want to read about the Ron Blauw phenomenon – there’sBlauw and Ron Gastrobar Indonesiaor best of all the brand new and extraordinary Ron Gastrobar Indonesia Downtown.

Breakfast – Hagelslag, Pindakaas and Ontbijtkoek

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Ok, you’re missing the sweet stuff already so let’s get back to The Netherlands’ most famous and ridiculous breakfast – Hagelslag. Basically chocolate sprinkles served on white bread with butter, this is something kids (and often their accompanying adults) just can’t get enough of. Found on the breakfast table in most hotels, don’t let your youngsters leave the country without having tried it. Next up on the breakfast table is Pindakaas (literally peanut cheese but actually peanut butter!) make sure you try the Calvé brand if you’re a fan. If, however, you really want to avoid chocolate and spreads first thing in the morning why not give “ontbijtkoek” a go. Literally ‘breakfast cake’ this dense ginger treat (ok, slathered in butter!) will set you up for a day in the saddle.

Sausage – Ossenworst, Filet Americain, Tartare and Rookworst

The Dutch do love their sausage and there are a multitude of ways to enjoy it. Let’s start with my personal favourite Ossenworst – a kind of raw beef sausage, lightly spiced and served alongside other borrelhapjes. Or how about filet americain and tartare – beef-based spreads and toppings, served on rolls. For something smooth and paté-like, filet americain is the one to order, if you prefer a rougher steak tartare, ask for tartare on your roll which often comes topped with with sliced hard boiled egg. And whilst we’re on the sausage theme, how about rookworst, a kind of smoked sausage traditionally served with stampot (a kind of mashed potato with greens). Beloved store HEMA which sells millions of them every year has even adopted rookworst as a kind of icon, selling sausage shaped pool floats in Summer!

Click here to read more about HEMA, or find out more aboutEetsalon Van Dobben, the most authentic Amsterdam working men’s cafe serving tartare and filet americain. For details of borrelhapjes and where to try them have a read of our post all about Dutch snacksBorrel.

Speculaas

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Marc’s very favourite Dutch flavour is probably speculaas. These biscuits flavoured with cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, ginger and cardamom are usually crunchy, caramelised and slightly browned.Often served with tea and coffee there are lots of other ways to enjoy the flavour. The spice mix is a key ingredient in the very best apple pies. In Winter the arrival of Sinterklaas sees tiny versions known as pepernoten and kruidnoten thrown into crowds of children awaiting the arrival of Sint. Or in Summer look for speculaas ice cream, spreads or even desserts. Whatever you do, be sure to try to enjoy this very Dutch flavour one way or another – you’ll be hard pushed to miss it.

Cakes and desserts – Tompouce, Boterkoek, Spekoek and Vla

If you’re heading out for afternoon tea in Amsterdam, be sure you have a typically Dutch dessert on your plate. Favourites include tompouce, a cream-filled mille-feuille topped with a ridiculously bubblegum-pink icing. Or how about boterkoek – butter cake made almost entirely of butter, sugar and flour lightly flavoured with lemon zest and vanilla. Or try something a little more exotic and sample spekkoek – an Indonesian layer cake again richly spiced and generally found on the dessert menu in Indonsian restaurants. Finally a dessert you are (thankfully) unlikely to see in restaurants but a staple of home cooking is Vla – a type of achingly sweet flavoured custard with the consistency of yoghurt which is a total Dutch favourite.

Patisserie Holtkamp do a pretty legendary Tompouce as well as lots of other patisseries – you can find out about them here.

Seasonal food specialities – Chocolate letters, Pepernoten, Cruidnoten, Olliebollen, Applebeignets, Banketstaaf and Gevulde Speculaas

In Winter around Christmastime (actually for the Dutch the season of Sinterklaas) there are lots of seasonal food specialities that appear in markets, shops and on family tables. Look out for amazing chocolate letters for kids as well as bags of tiny speculaas cookies called pepernoten and cruidnoten. Olliebollen a kind of heavy spiced doughnut is sold piping hot from the dozens of pop up olliebollen trucks that appear across the city which also serve apple fritters or Appelbeignets. Perhaps most traditional of all isBanketstaaf, a kind of almond filled butter pastry often again shaped into letters or gevulde speculaas – this time a cake with speculaas spice that has a centre of sweet almond paste and is sold in small slices or squares.

Wow, what a list. You could spend a week eating your way around the city and struggle to fit all these in, let alone all the other International food favourites on offer.

If you’re looking for restaurants that serve typical Dutch cuisine, try Floreyn which serves high end Dutch food and is incredibly highly regarded. For Dutch snacks “borrel” pull up a chair in any brown cafe or one of the city’s larger grand cafe’s such as De Ysbreeker or Wilschutor hang out at the bar of our beloved Loetje and order a seclection.

For a list of all our favourite places to eat in Amsterdam have a read of this post which is packed with 50 must-visit Amsterdam restaurants and cafe’s.

But whatever you do, try to enjoy authentic Dutch food. Give sushi a miss for once (see here for alternatives to touristy haunts) and enjoy what this land rich in dairy, meat and vegetables has to offer. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!

31 Dutch foods you have to try in Amsterdam (and where to find them) - Amsterdam Wonderland (2024)

FAQs

31 Dutch foods you have to try in Amsterdam (and where to find them) - Amsterdam Wonderland? ›

Dutch bitterballen are one of the most popular local street foods and traditional food in Amsterdam, served in many cafes and bars, these meat and ragout meatballs, fried in breadcrumbs are adored by meat-eaters throughout the country.

What food is Amsterdam best known for? ›

Here are the best Amsterdam foods everyone should try.
  • Dutch pancakes. ...
  • Raw herring. ...
  • Cheese. Enjoy classic Dutch delicacies. ...
  • Poffertjes. Enjoy small fluffy pancakes. ...
  • Snert. Try a traditional pea soup. ...
  • Tompouce. Enjoy a cream-filled pastry. ...
  • Dutch apple pie. Taste a deep dish pie. ...
  • Stamppot. Try Amsterdam's winter comfort food.

What is the most iconic Dutch food? ›

What are the most popular Dutch foods?
  • Stamppot. Stamppot is a quintessential Dutch dish that embodies the simplicity and heartiness of the Netherlands' culinary traditions. ...
  • Bitterballen. ...
  • Haring. ...
  • Poffertjes. ...
  • Erwtensoep. ...
  • Rookworst. ...
  • Kroket. ...
  • Patat.
Mar 13, 2024

What is Amsterdam's traditional dish? ›

Dutch bitterballen are one of the most popular local street foods and traditional food in Amsterdam, served in many cafes and bars, these meat and ragout meatballs, fried in breadcrumbs are adored by meat-eaters throughout the country.

What do Amsterdam people eat for breakfast? ›

For breakfast the Dutch also like to eat yogurt or milk with muesli or oatmeal or Brinta. Oatmeal or Brinta combined with milk is a more traditional Dutch breakfast, which for a long time was unpopular as a breakfast, but gained popularity due to the health benefits. It's combined with fruits and/or nuts.

What drink is Amsterdam known for? ›

Jenever - the alcoholic beverage flavoured with juniper berries - is a traditional drink from the Netherlands. Jenever (also commonly spelled as genever) has a long history in the Netherlands.

What is Dutch main dish? ›

Dutch Main Dishes

Stampot is a stew made from mashed potatoes and a variety of vegetables such as carrot, kale, spinach, onion or endive and commonly served with bacon or sausage.

What is a traditional Dutch breakfast? ›

A typical Dutch breakfast consists of bread, whether or not toasted, with cheesemeat butter and sweet toppingslike chocolate spread, sprinkles and flakes. In addition to a sandwich, Dutch people also often eat rusks, gingerbread, currant bread or a plate of porridge.

What do Dutch people say before eating? ›

Dining etiquette

If you want to say "Enjoy your meal" say "Eat smakelijk" and if you want to make a toast say "proost".

What do Dutch eat for lunch? ›

The Dutch lunch is traditionally any combination of bread, cheese, cold cut meats, and various spreads (including chocolate sprinkles). Lunch is not a warm meal, which usually throws off foreigners.

What kind of bread do the Dutch eat? ›

Rye bread is one of the few dense breads of the Netherlands. White bread used to be the luxury bread, often made with milk as well as water. A typical Dutch white bread is tiger bread. Ontbijtkoek may be eaten as a substitute for a full breakfast, or simply as a snack.

Do you tip in Amsterdam? ›

This one is pretty simple to answer – the Dutch do not have a tipping culture as strongly-ingrained as much of the English-speaking world. In a bar, restaurant, or private boat tour in Amsterdam, provided the service was good, a tip of around 10% is appreciated but not automatically expected.

Why are the Dutch so healthy? ›

Dutch people are eating more plant products, like fruit and vegetables, unsalted nuts and legumes. They are eating less red and processed meat. They are also drinking fewer sugary drinks. Both children and adults are eating and drinking more healthily.

What is a delicacy in Netherlands? ›

1. Poffertjes. Probably one of the most famous Dutch dishes, Poffertjes are small pancakes, baked in an iron skillet, and traditionally served with melted butter and dusted with icing sugar. You can enjoy these all year round, but Christmas and New Year are typically the best times to have them.

What is the Netherlands' national dish? ›

So I had no idea what to expect from the country's national dish, stamppot. I cannot say that the name itself sounded exactly appetizing, and I also don't think my impression of the dish evolved when I learned what it was: mashed potatoes mixed with kale and served alongside smoked sausages.

What is the name of the edible made famous in Amsterdam? ›

Edibles in Amsterdam: Frequently asked questions

One of Amsterdam's best space cakes (in my opinion) is the Red Velvet Cake from Coffeeshop Sloterdijk. If you're craving a brownie instead, I recommend you check out any Boerenjongens stores.

Is Amsterdam a foodie city? ›

Amsterdam is a gastronomic melting pot, bursting with everything from Indonesian dishes to a New Zealand-style brunch – as well as all the local delicacies you'd expect.

What is the most famous thing about Amsterdam? ›

Perhaps most famous for its art galleries and museums, from the Van Gogh Museum to the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam stands proudly as one of the most culturally significant cities in Europe (and it's got a poppin' nightlife scene too).

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