Five foods of Amsterdam
Thanks to its art, its beer and its eventful history, visitors won’t have a hard time keeping themselves busy in Amsterdam. The Dutch capital is rich with activities, which is why it’s become a buzzing magnet for travellers looking for a European city with a difference.
The sheer wealth of offerings may push checking out the city’s culinary prowess lower down the to-do list, but trying its native delicacies – from the local comfort food to the national dishes - are a must.
With Eurostar’s high speed train service expanding to Amsterdam next year, making it more accessible than ever, here are the Flexicover team's five dishes visitors can’t leave without trying at least once…or twice...
One of the best Dutch exports – aside from excellent cheese and a smart cost-sharing system – is their delicious stroopwafels. They’re formed of two thin pancakey-waffles stuck together by chewy caramel, forming an unusual though moreish cookie. They originate from nearby Gouda, but Amsterdam is teeming with places famous for these sweet treats. For a choice of caramel flavours like honey, coffee and fig, head to Lanskroon, a bakery and tearoom famous for their stroopwafels. Or to try it as street food, the stall at Albert Cuyp Market is the place to go.
French fries with mayonnaise is a standard on-the-go snack in Belgium, France, Sweden and well, a lot of other countries. But no one does it with as much class as Amsterdam, where patatje oorlog - fittingly translated as ‘war chips’ - are a cut above the rest. These are served with a large dollop of mayonnaise, onions and Indonesian satay sauce, which top the crispy, comforting portion of fries. The satay sauce twist is a legacy from the Netherland’s days as a key spice-trading country, and its exotic, nutty heat is a treat for the tastebuds. You’ll find them in most snack bars and street vendors across town.
You don’t have to be a linguist to guess that kroket translates to ‘croquette’ in English, but what might not be obvious is the reverence that Amsterdamites have for the dish – 350 million kroketten are eaten every year in the Netherlands. Traditionally they’re cylindrical in shape and the fried, breadcrumbed shell gives it a crunchy crispiness while the inside is traditionally filled with soft meat, usually beef. You can buy them in vending machines which are everywhere in Amsterdam, or for the best grade of kroketten, visit either Van Dobben or Kwekkeboom, which have been serving an array of varieties since the 1940s.
Unfortunately for fussy eaters, raw herring is the Netherlands’ signature dish and should be at least nibbled reticently to say you’ve tried it. For those who are willing to give it a fair go, you can start off by eating it in a sandwich – again, Albert Cuyp Market is the place to go for this Dutch delicacy but vishandels (stalls selling herring and other seafood) are found around the city. It’s served in a soft roll and garnished with onions and pickles, and with its salty, creamy texture, it makes for an interesting lunch. Try it – it might surprise you.
Despite the strong presence of comfort food on this list, most Dutch meals are actually healthy: there’s plenty of fresh fish on offer and salads are inventive and popular. So there’s room for one more treat, and that comes in the form of poffertjes. These little, puffy pancakes, served hot with a dusting of icing sugar and melting butter on top, are often found during special occasions, like birthdays, New Year’s and Christmas. You’ll find them in restaurants too, but there’s no need to go fancy – street vendors and stalls are the go-to places to buy them, especially as they’re a comforting warm food on a chilly day.
So wherever you plan to head on your travels it’s good to know that Flexicover Travel Insurance is committed to providing you with the highest level of cover to ensure you are safe and secure 24 hours a day when away.