Nov 25

Essential Snack-a-Doodums : What To Eat When In Amsterdam.

Everytime someone informs me they are coming up to my neck of the woods, the inevitable question soon ensues ~ “What do you recommend we eat when we get there?” And everytime I find myself writing the same email over and over again in response. It’s getting a bit old. So I got to thinking … maybe I should simply write about these yummy delicacies and post it on my blog so when the next person asks me the same question I can simply refer him/ her to my website coz quite frankly I’m tired of repeating myself.

First of all let it be known that the Netherlands is not known for its fine cuisine. The “cuisine” here is practical rather than fancy. Potatoes and veggies are consumed in larger quantities compared to meats. They do, however, make lots of delicious fruit tarts and various other yummy morsels.


Appelgebak – Spiced apple tart. Apple tarts here in the Netherlands are typically deep dish types with pastry lining the bottom and sides and a lattice pastry top. These apple tarts can be eaten warm or cold, with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream. Available at most, if not all, cafes, diners, supermarkets and bakeries.


Bitterballen – Many of the smaller snack foods in the Netherlands are breaded and deep fried, and this is another good example. It consists of a gooey meat ragout centre, encircled by a crunchie golden brown crust. I think it’s an acquired taste for I am not a fan of them, whereas R has to have them as part of his lunch every weekend. These balls are typically about the size of ping pongs, served with mustard and can be found on the menus of most Dutch pubs and cafes. Caution : Piping hot filling!



Chocomel – Chocolate milk! It sounds generic but this brand is really yummy. I have it on a pretty regular basis. Sold everywhere in the Netherlands, you can get these in cafés, fast food outlets and convenience stores, or supermarkets in 1 litre cartons or 250 ml bottles.




Frites – Quite literally ‘fries’. The Dutch love their potatoes, and none more so than Frites ~ I mean people literally queue up for these! The humble potato was foreign to Dutch cooking until the 16th century when the Spanish introduced it and it has stuck around since. Before that the Dutch ate mainly fish and bread. Frites are thick cut fries, fried twice and served in abundance as a side dish or on its own (in a paper cone). Typically served with a generous dollop of mayonnaise, but there are other choices of sauce if mayonnaise isn’t quite your thing : BBQ, Aioli, Sweet Chilli, Tartare Sauce, Ketchup, Spicy Ketchup. Personally I still prefer skinny fries but on a good day these do just fine.



HagelslagChocolate sprinkles commonly eaten with a slice of bread in the morning for breakfast. It’s the Dutch version of Fairy Bread and an amazing variety of sprinkles can be found at the supermarket. So convenient when you want to make cupcakes or to decorate cakes with. Varieties come in the form of chocolate rice, hundreds and thousands, sprinkles and chocolate curls.



Kaassouflé – Now these I not just like, but LOVE! But be sure to get one with plain cheese and not one with cumin in it. Despite the inference of its name it is not a delicate fluffy cake baked in a ramekin dish. It is pretty much deep fried cheese sandwiched between breaded pastry. From research I have discovered that this snack was actually Indonesian inspired. Well there you go! I like my cheese soufflé from “the wall”* at the FEBO outlet. At a fast food outlet these come as single serve soufflés; at a cafe however they quite possibly will come as a plate of 6 finger food sized bites.


Veal Kroket & Kaassouffle



Veal Croquet (Kalfsvlees Kroket)


Kroket – An oblong log of crumbed, deep fried filling. These fillings may vary from mince meat to veggie, noodles and rice; all breaded; all deep fried. Very popular among the Dutch, they eat it at anytime of the day. Available in most fast food outlets and cafés.; eaten on its own or wrapped in a bun. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, they are worth a try on your visit.


Kruidnoten – Spiced cookies traditionally sold during the Christmas season. Made out of sugar, flour, eggs, cinnamon, cardamom, anise, ginger, nutmeg and molasses. Tastes very much like gingerbread. More modern versions come coated in chocolate.


Kiebelling – My favourite thing to have when I visit Volendam is chunks of deep fried, very lightly battered cod served with tartare sauce. Firm, flakey fish pieces that aren’t dry. These are sold pretty much all over the Netherlands, at mobile vishandels* in open-air markets or fish shops. Depending on where you are (tourist trap or not) a tray of fish weighing about 500g will cost you about € 3 – € 5. Wonderful treat! You’ll pretty much know where it is being sold by using your nose to smell the air.




Oliebollen – Again, a deep fried ball of dough, much like a doughnut but without the hole in the middle. These are very yummy and I recommend you give these a go. They come plain, topped with powdered sugar, or filled with various fillings like banana custard, vanilla custard, spiced apple jam, chocolate and cream. There is also a fruit version or a chocolate chip one. However, Oliebollen are seasonal and you can only find them during the winter months.




Rhum & Raisin Olliebollen

Olliebollen with spiced apple filling.


Ontbijtkoek – This is literally called a ‘breakfast cake’, made predominantly from rye and fruit. As the name suggests, it is consumed at breakfast with a spread of butter.



Poffetjes – Mini pancake medallions typically served with butter, dusted with powdered sugar and/or served with Grand Marnier. Fancier versions come with whipped cream, syrup and fruit compote.






Pannenkoeken – Dutch pancakes similar to the French crêpes. These can be served as a sweet or savoury dish. Sweet pancakes can be served either plain with butter and syrup, or filled with berries, whipped cream and fruit compote. Savoury versions come with a variety of filling choices including bacon, spec, cheese, mushrooms and salami. These are large (but thin) pancakes, up to a meter in diameter and a very filling meal. A MUST TRY when you come to the Netherlands.




Rookworst – Smoked sausage. Commonly eaten together with a veggie and potato mash called stamppot (see below). Readily available from all supermarkets and butchers or at HEMA outlets. Traditionally prepared rookworst are smoked over wood chips, but the modern versions simply have smoked flavourings added to the meat and spice mix. These are sold already cooked.




Slavinken – I like to think of these babies as mini meatloaves. Mince pork or half-n-half (50% beef, 50% pork) is shaped into oblongs and wrapped with a layer of spec or bacon. These are then fried (duuuh…) for a few minutes on each side. Not very healthy on the arteries. If you must have these, use a George Forman grill.



Slibtong – Grilled sole. There isn’t very much to these specimens but when done right they are absolutely delish! R had the good fortune of trying this dish by accident on a rather gloomy day at a pub right next to a fishing wharf. Two fish came grilled to perfection with the skin on and served with lemon wedges. He hasn’t been able to find slibtong done that way since, much to his utter frustration.



Stamppot – Traditional Dutch dish made from mashing one or more veggies with potatoes. Most common veggies used is sauerkraut, kale, carrots and endive. Sometimes bacon bits and onions are used. Stamppot is commonly eaten as a winter meal together with rookworst. Obviously one can make this at home but you can also buy pre-made tubs from the local supermarket.




Stroopwaffle – Caramel waffles; these are a classic Dutch sweet treat and are very popular with the tourists as well. They are 2 thin waffle-like wafers filled with a butterscotchy caramel filling. The word ‘stroop’ refers to this sticky caramel filling. Very sweet, very buttery and very addictive. You can get these pretty much ANYWHERE, from your local A.H supermarket to Schipol Airport.  They come in various sizes : mini, regular and large. Most commercially packed ones cost more, usually in the region of €2 – €3 a packet. In open markets these waffles are made fresh and are cheaper. Lovely eaten as is or as an accompaniment with vanilla ice cream.




Tompoes – Tompoezen (plural) literally translates to Tom Thumbs. It’s the equivalent to the French mille-feuille and the Australian vanilla slice. It is basically two layers of sweet puff pastry filled with a thick layer of pastry cream in between. In the Netherlands it is customary to have it rectangular in shape with pink frosting. However, on Queen’s day the frosting changes to a brilliant orange.



Vla / Vlaflip – CUSTARD!! Yummay! Custard in the Netherlands come in a variety of flavours and forms. Vanilla, chocolate, caramel, chocolate chip, banana or a mix of 2 flavours. Vlaflip is custard, yoghurt and fruit syrup. Some custards can be bought with a layer of jelly at the bottom. These desserts are served cold with or without whipped cream. During national events such as Queen’s Day or a European Championship, vla comes in bright orange.









Zoute Haring – Pickled herring. This is a delicacy in this part of the globe, popular in Scandinavia, Germany, the Netherlands, Denmark and Iceland. The fish is prepared by first salting it heavily to remove excess fluid. Then it is soaked in a vinegar solution for flavour. The traditional method of eating this is to hold the fish by the tail and drop the whole thing into your mouth. Herring in a bun topped with onions is also commonly sold.




  • *The Wall refers to the automated food dispensing machine found in many fast food joints in the Netherlands, Smullers and FEBO being the most popular. The food is cooked on the other side of “the wall” and placed into individual pigeon holes of “the wall”. You put change into the coin slot ~ this allows you access to the food behind the glass doors and you help yourself to whatever you want without the hassle of queuing up at the counter.


  • Vishandel” is a fish monger. At Dutch markets there are usually two kinds ~ one that sells fresh raw  fish and seafood, the other sells the cooked stuff, i.e : fried fish fillets, smoked eel, grilled prawns, chilled boiled prawns, smoked trout, pickled herring, marinated octopus … etc



So there you go, the things I recommend you try the next time you find yourself in the Netherlands.



~ ENJOY!! ~






Permanent link to this article: http://foodflurries.com/savoury/essential-snack-a-doodums-what-to-eat-when-in-amsterdam-2


1 ping

  1. its still me!! (do i still need to keep writing in my name?)

    CHOCOMEL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *bangs head on table…. i wannnnttttttttttttttttt

    1. bubviv

      Isn’t it the best? I think everyone who visits the Netherlands should wake up to a bottle instead of a cup of coffee at breakfast.

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