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Some of the best parts about traveling is trying local food, which goes the same for my lovely city, Amsterdam! If you like bread, cheese, and sweets among other things, you’re in luck ’cause there’s lots of that to go around here. Check out my list of traditional Dutch food to try in Amsterdam, where you can find them, and my personal opinion on whether they’re worth seeking out or not after living here for almost three years.
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Bitterballen is the perfect traditional Dutch food to eat when you’re drinking, or if you don’t drink, simply as a snack. They are often called “meatballs” on menus that have been translated to English, but really, I like to equate them to croquettes.
But if you haven’t had croquettes, that’s an awful reference. Basically, bitterballen is like a thick, potato and meat stew that’s been deep fried.
Where to find them: You can basically find these fried bitterballen at any bar and restaurant. Seriously, I’ve even seen them in the Sides section at Japanese and Italian restaurants, but my preference is to have them at the Foodhallen.
These are definitely worth trying, especially if you’re at the Foodhallen, which is an renovated tram warehouse turned street food style court. While you’re there, stop by the beer stand, which houses many local craft beers from Amsterdam.
My, my– these are addicting. When I first moved here, I literally ate a stroopwafel (or two) every night for three months straight. I have no clue why I gained so much weight since moving to Amsterdam…
Anyways, if you have a sweet tooth, you might say these are some of the best things to eat in Amsterdam. They’re basically two thin pieces of wafel cookies with a very sugary syrup in the middle.
Where to find them: People seeking the best stroopwafels might enjoy the fresh ones at the Albert Cuyp Markt, Netherland’s largest open-air market, but I personally prefer the premade ones at the Albert Heijn grocery store. You can get a whole pack for less than two euros, which make them a great gift to bring back home.
A popular way to eat them is just like you see the photo above; by placing them over a cup of tea so that the heat of the steam makes the stroopwafel all gooey inside. YUM!
Stampot is a very traditional Dutch food. It’s like their comfort food that you’d eat on a cold winter night. It’s essentially a dish with mashed potatoes, some type of sausage, sauerkraut, and anything you might have leftover in your fridge.
Where to find them: I don’t think this dish is worth going out of your way for, but if you want to get the traditional Dutch food experience, head to Moeder’s. I didn’t find the price-quality ratio to be that great here, but that’s probably because my palate doesn’t salivate over Dutch cuisine.
Nonetheless, don’t let my pickiness affect your desire to eat traditional Dutch food at a sit-down restaurant. Make sure to make a reservation, which is one of my must-know local tips for Amsterdam.
Ok so they’re not called Dutch fries here… but I call them Dutch fries because they’re different from regular fries that we’re used to in the US. They’re thick and double fried, which keeps them true to their potato origins but makes them extra crispy.
People normally eat them with mayo, not ketchup, and if you’re feeling adventurous, ask for onions with the mayo. If you’re feeling extra adventurous, you could ask ‘patatje oorlog’, which means your fries will come with peanut satay sauce, mayo and onions.
FYI, you will be charged extra for condiments because apparently free condiments is an American thing and doesn’t happen so often around the world— Who knew?!
Where to find them: As fries go, you can find them anywhere, but my favorite place to get fries is at the Ten Kate Market fry stand. Ten Kate Market is right next to Foodhallen so you can get your bitterballen and fries fix in one trip.
If you’re trying to combine these two foods though, you have to go between 9am to 5pm on Mon. through Sat. because that’s when the Ten Kate Market is open. Otherwise, you can also go to Manneken Pis in city center close to Central Station.
I wasn’t the biggest fan of apple pie until I moved to Amsterdam and tried the apple pie with whip cream at Winkel 43. The apple in the pie is poached and caramelized while the crust is thick, dense, and crumbly.
Apple pie is my husband’s favorite dessert, and he would arguably say that this is the best food to try in Amsterdam. He loves this apple pie that much.
Where to find them: Get the apple pie with whip cream at Winkel 43. If it’s cold out and you find yourself sitting outside, then order a fresh mint tea.
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If you like fish and fried food, then you’ll love kibbeling, which are small pieces of white fish deep fried. They’re usually served with a garlic lemon sauce or mayonnaise and a tiny fork for you to enjoy.
Where to find it: The only time I’ve had kibbeling is at a fish stand at the Ten Kate Market or Albert Cuyp Market. It’s a great street food that costs less than five euros.
To be honest, I’m not really a fan of raw herring, but it’s a truly traditional Dutch food that is very Dutch through and through… for a lack of better words.
The best way to eat raw herring is to ask for ‘broodje haring’. You’ll get it served on a roll with pickles and onions.
Where to find it: There are many haringhandels (herring carts) around the city, but if you need to know an exact spot to get them, you can go to the Ten Kate and Albert Cuyp Markets and try them at any fish stand.
While I don’t know if this counts technically as traditional, it is a must-try. It’s essentially the Dutch version of Yoo-Hoo, but it’s better. It’s thicker and made with real milk. It’s chocolate milk, not chocolate drink like Yoo-Hoo.
I first noticed this drink when I saw adults drinking it out of tiny cartons like they were kids. Then I started noticing it on menus at bars where you could order it cold or warm with whipped cream on top. After seeing it so many times, of course I had to try it and was so happy to find a delicious, sugary drink that’s ok for adults to drink on a daily basis.
Where to find it: You’ll find chocomel easily all over the city, but I recommend going to a grocery store to the milk section and getting the fresh kind (marked as ‘Vers’). The ones in the refrigerated section is fresher and straight up chocolate milk whereas the packaged ones in the aisle resemble Yoo-Hoo.
Croquettes from FEBO
I haven’t eaten these myself nor do I really recommend going to FEBO, but because these automatic fast food vending machines are something that we haven’t had in the US since the 1950s, they are definitely a novelty and might be fun to try out.
Make sure to have a euro or two on you so you can pop the coins into the machine and open the door to a warm croquette. I think these are best eaten after a drink or two. ?
Where to find them: FEBOs are like the McDonald’s of the Netherlands so they are everywhere. You can’t miss this bright red and yellow logo.
Dutch cheese is a thing here. You have old cheese or new cheese, and generally that’s how they categorize their cheese. ?
I’m not personally a fan of Dutch cheese as it doesn’t come close to my love for French cheese, but when in
Rome the Netherlands, why not go ham cheese?
Where to find them: You can find cheese everywhere- at Albert Heijn, the markets, and the Cheese Museum in Jordaan. A lot of bars will also serve cheese and bread to munch on.
Oh my yum! These things are heavenly. They’re like little pillows of pancakes that melt in your mouth, so yes, you should try these.
Where to find them: You can get them at the Albert Cuyp Market for about two euros or less, but my favorite place to get them is at Pancakes! Amsterdam. The ones there are sooo fluffy and crispy whereas the market ones are a bit flat. Nonetheless, they’re all super tasty as they come loaded with butter and sugar.
If you go to Pancakes! Amsterdam, make sure to go to the one by the Anne Frank Museum because the one in city center doesn’t have these on the menu. Boo!
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These tasty treats that literally translates into “oil balls” are traditionally eaten on New Year’s Eve to welcome in the New Year! It’s a tradition I love because they’re so tasty.
Olliebollen are essentially deep fried dough the size of your fist topped off with powdered sugar. They’re made with beer batter, which gives them a super flavorful taste.
Where to find them: Right before New Year’s Even, you’ll see olliebollen stands popping up around the city, or you can get back to the Ten Kate Market, which I referenced so often in this post because I used to live right near it and love it, and go to the bakery at the end of the market. Their olliebollens are the best!
I know… this doesn’t sound Dutch. Actually because it says Indonesian in the name of the food, it sounds Indonesian. Well, you got me there.
There’s a strong Indonesian influence on Amsterdam’s food scene so it’s worth trying out this fun Indish-Dutch way of eating. A rijsttafel (rice table) is basically a bunch of small dishes served on your table at once. It’s a great way to try an assortment of dishes from Indonesia.
Where to find them: I personally didn’t love this place, but it has amazing reviews and every other person I know that’s been to it has loved their experienced. Thus, based on 99% of other people, I recommend going to Blauw.
Other Foods Besides Traditional Dutch Food to Try in Amsterdam
If you want to try other foods besides traditional Dutch food, then you might like my post on where to eat in Amsterdam. I list out all the places I’ve liked in the past couple years of living here and even some places I didn’t like.
As for what to do, here’s what I consider the best things to do in Amsterdam. This list is exactly what I follow when my friends and family visit here for the first time.
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Thanks for making it all the way down to the end of the post. I’d love to connect. Come say hi to me my Instagram @sarchetrit, especially if you found any part of this post to be helpful.
Till then, thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!