The Ultimate Guide to Dutch Food
I think a key component of traveling is enjoying the local food. Food can tell so much about culture, history, and tastes. Different countries – even different regions or cities within a country! – can have distinctly different foods and flavor profiles that reflect that local environment.
I don’t think the Netherlands is particularly famous for their food which is a shame – I found it so comforting and delicious. Most of these dishes listed are quick, cheap, & easy … which means many of them make for great street food, too!
If you’re wondering what the Netherlands are known for, look no further than this Dutch food guide. No trip to the Netherlands – and especially Amsterdam! – is complete without sampling these tasty dishes.
Most Famous Dutch Food: Stroopwafel
Yes, the very same that United re-introduced on domestic flights to much fanfare. There’s a reason why passengers LOVE stroopwafels: they are delicious. A thin, crispy waffle with caramel sandwiched in between. Delicious.
This tasty little cookie originated in Gouda so you’re more likely to find fresh stroopwafel stands here. They are harder to come by in Amsterdam so be sure to buy a fresh one if you can find them.
Dutch tradition is to place the cookie on the rim of your coffee cup. The warmth from the coffee will warm up the cookie and make the caramel even more melty and delicious.
My Favorite Dutch Food: Bitterballen
My Expat friend who lived in Amsterdam for a few years introduced these to me. He lovingly described them as “deep-fried meat gravy balls that you dip in spicy mustard.” I couldn’t decide if that sounded delicious or repulsive, so he insisted on getting an order.
Fact: they are delicious. I’m not a fan of Dutch beer so I often enjoyed it with Belgian cherry beer. Sweet beer combined with the salty tangy deliciousness of bitterballen …. take me back, please.
Tasty Dutch Street Food: Poffertjes
You’re likely to find plenty of street vendors selling poffertjes if you spend much time in Amsterdam. What are poffertjes? Tiny, mega fluffy baby pancakes often served with powdered sugar. They can also be served with Nutella, strawberries, and whipped cream. Delicious!
A Surprisingly Savory Treat: Pannenkoeken
The Dutch love their pancakes! There are two types of Dutch pancakes: poffertjes (above) and the much larger pannenkoeken. Typically when people talk about Dutch pancakes, these are what they mean. They are basically plate-sized crepes, but much thicker. They can be served sweet or savory but the Dutch often prefer eating them at dinner time with meats & cheeses. I have a sweet tooth so I lean towards that kind of pannenkoeken – look at this delicious pancake!
Easy Dutch Street Food: Patat
Also known as french fries! Dutch fries are similar to Belgian fries in that they are often a bit thicker than the fries you may find at a fast-food restaurant. Thicker than fast food, thinner than steak fries: that’s the patat.
Street vendors will sell these in easy-to-carry paper cones with the sauce on top. Mayo, ketchup, or curry sauce are popular toppings.
Famous Dutch Cheese: Gouda
Yes, gouda originated in the Netherlands, specifically in Gouda. Pro tip: NEVER say “goo-dah” when talking about either the city or the town. Clear your throat while you say “how” and round it off with a “da”. Say it wrong once and you’ll be swiftly corrected.
There are cheese stores all over the Netherlands but of course, they are extra plentiful in the town of Gouda. If you love cheese, it’s definitely worth a day trip.
Enjoy the gouda wedges and consider rounding off the experience with gouda beer soup. DELICIOUS.
Note the cherry beer in the background … it is my favorite beer in the world.
The BEST Dessert in Amsterdam: Appeltaart
AKA Dutch Apple Pie!
The Dutch know what’s up when it comes to apple pie. But you know who knows how to school even the Dutch on the perfect Appeltaart? Winkel 43 in Amsterdam.
Check out TripAdvisor. Everyone agrees – their apple pie is the best. There will be a crowd when you go unless you visit in the morning. Blasphemy, you say – I can’t have apple pie for breakfast! Nonsense. It has fruit. Go have that apple pie for breakfast.
And yes, get the whipped cream.
All the Food You Need to Try in Amsterdam
When people think of Amsterdam, most imagine tulips, canals, the Red Light District, windmills, and Anne Frank. The Netherlands doesn’t have nearly the same food reputation of other countries like Italy, France, and Spain, but that doesn’t mean that they don’t have delicious offerings.
If you’re headed to Amsterdam, you absolutely must try these tasty Dutch dishes and street foods. So much of travel is savoring the local food culture. With this Dutch food guide, you can savor some of the most-loved foods in the Netherlands.
Are you traveling to Amsterdam? Be sure to check out my post on everything to check out in Amsterdam!