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WWhen you picture Amsterdam, you might think about scenic canals, tulip-filled gardens, or iconic museums and galleries. But did you know that this capital of the Netherlands also packs a punch when it comes to delicious cuisine? Here we’ve put together ten of our favourite Amsterdam dishes to try during your northern European cruise.
The humble Stroopwafel is so popular that you’ll find this Danish pastry throughout the UK, too – but in our opinion they taste much better in Amsterdam. A stroopwafel is a chewy waffle made from batter, with a layer of gooey caramel sandwiched between. They date back to the late 18th century, when they were made as a way to use up leftover ingredients. These days, they’re the perfect accompaniment to a coffee.
Another popular Dutch snack are kroket – deep-fried rolls packed with hearty ragu. Take your pick from a range of fillings, from veal to vegetarian. Enjoy on their own, or as the Dutch do, on sliced white bread or in a hamburger bun. Crispy on the outside, soft on the inside, they’re delicious and satisfying.
If there’s one ingredient the Dutch are particularly known for, it’s cheese (there’s a reason that the Netherlands is world’s largest exporter of cheese). The most popular varieties in Amsterdam are gouda and edam, which are enjoyed in cubes with mustard or on bread for breakfast. Learn more about the history of Dutch cheese at the cheese musem.
These little treats can be found at plenty of street food vendors throughout Amsterdam. Soft and fluffy and covered with icing sugar, they’re indulgent without being too heavy. Enjoy yours simply with hot salted butter, or with whipped cream and strawberries in the summer.
There’s no better way to end a meal in Amsterdam than with a piece or two of licorice. Choose between sweet and salty (or try both – they're sold everywhere from pharmacies to petrol stations). Dutch licorice is either soft or hard, and comes in a wide range of shapes and sizes. For the most traditional licorice around, head to Het Oud-Hollandsch Snoepwinkeltje, which sits on the canal in the centre of Amsterdam and translates as “The Old Dutch Candy Shop”.
The first dish to sample is perhaps the most famous of all: Hollandse Nieuwe. The name refers to a particular type of herring caught between May and July, typically served with gherkins and finely chopped onions. The herring is usually “soused” – laid in salt for a couple of days – before being served. Take note of how the Dutch eat it: typically by lifting it by the tail and eating upwards.
You might think of thick and fluffy batter when you picture pancakes, but Dutch ones are thinner and bigger (while still being denser than French pancakes). They’re typically eaten for dinner in Amsterdam, and topped with multiple ingredients, such as bacon, cheese or fresh fruit and syrups. The most traditional syrup is called stroop, which is made from apples for a sweet yet tart flavour.
Order some bitterballen to go with your beer when you go out to a bar in Amsterdam. Covered with breadcrumbs and deep-fried, they’re often served with mustard and filled with beef and spices. The perfect salty snack to tide you over until dinner. They were originally created in the early 1900s as a way to use up leftover meat.
Want to order something traditional when you dine out in Amsterdam? Try Stamppot, which is a time-honoured recipe of mashed potatoes, kale, carrots and sauerkraut. It’s a hearty and warming dish that’s mainly enjoyed in the winter, alongside some smoked rookworst sausage.
Satiate those afternoon cravings with a generous helping of patat – thick fries topped with mayonnaise, ketchup or curry sauce. Patat are typically served in cones, and you can get them from street vendors all over the city. A favourite flavour among the Dutch is “War Fries” (also known as “patatje Oorlong”) - which includes mayonnaise, peanut sauce, onions and more. We promise that it tastes better than it looks!
Satisfy your taste-buds with a visit to Amsterdam on one of our Northern Europe cruises.
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