Amsterdam is one of those cities that always ceases to amaze. From its endless canals that circle in a ring through the city center, to the social and friendly “coffee shops” of the Red Light District; it is quite easy to get lost in the city’s many strange and curious characteristics. Spend too much time in the city center, though, and you’ll think Dutch food is simply greasy frites and hot dogs. It is overwhelming, the amount of junk food and cheap snacks you will find on the city streets, but in reality: Dutch food is so much more interesting. From uitsmijter, a hearty breakfast dish consisting of 3 fried eggs on bread to poffertjes, miniature fluffy Dutch pancakes, skip the junk food you will find on the Amsterdam streets, and opt for a classier meal.
Uitsmijter: For those that love breakfast food – including eggs, bread, some ham, and possibly cheese, then this Dutch breakfast dish is calling your name! An uitsmijter is a hearty breakfast consisting of three fried eggs on sliced white or brown bread, usually topped with ham, cheese or both (bacon and tomatoes are sometimes options, too). It’s a quick and hearty meal found in many traditional and modern Dutch cafes. In Amsterdam, breakfast is often served throughout the morning and early afternoon, so you’ll find this dish available for both breakfast and lunch.
Poffertjes: These are essentially miniature fluffy Dutch pancakes — a sweet and tasty dessert that I’d personally eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner! A true poffertjes dish is made using yeast and buckwheat flour, a habit leftover from when wheat was in short supply during the French Revolution. These delicious sweet treats can be found at many local food markets throughout the city, but my favorite come from Cafe de Prins located along picturesque Prinsengracht Canal.
Herring: It’s no surprise that fish is a popular delicacy in Amsterdam, considering the Dutch tradition of sea-trading. Herring has two popular ways to be eaten in Amsterdam though: the “Amsterdam way” where the fish is sliced into small chunks, topped with raw onion and eaten with a toothpick (donned with the Dutch flag on top!), and the “Rotterdam way” which involves tipping your head back and lowering the entire fish into your mouth. Whichever way you decide to try herring, it’s most common and easily found each year from mid-May until June. Each year, thousands of local Amsterdammers are eager to taste the first catch of the herring season. In the Jordaan neighborhood, Vis Plaza serves some of the best herring in town, run by a fish-monger from the famous Dutch fishing town of Urk.
Rookworst: Smoke sausage is the literal translation for this mouthful of flavor that originates in the Gelderland province. Rookworst is a tasty pork sausage and there are many ways in which you can eat it. Go to a local butcher, and chances are they’ll have a few rookworst kept warm, ready to be popped into a broodje (sandwich). Or try it alongside stamppot: potatoes mashed with everything from kale to bacon to sauerkraut, making Rookworst a perfect dish in the wintertime. Definitely something for the carnivores!
Stroopwafels: These have become relatively trendy, and are now found all over the world in grocery stores and sweets shops, but there’s nothing like the authenticity of the original. A freshly pressed stroopwafel from one of Amsterdam’s many local markets, when it’s still oozing with that caramel goodness—there’s nothing like it! Visit the Albert Cuyp Market in De Pijp where one of the most famous stroopfwafel stands is located each market day. Pro tip: this is the foodie souvenir you were looking for! Easily transported back home and you can buy them at small shops and even at the airport on the way out.